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Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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An open letter to Dad

Dear Dad

It’s been 23 days, 5hrs and 25mins since you took your last breath and became a resident of heaven.  I have cried more in the last 3 and a bit weeks than I have in my entire 40.5yrs, but don’t you worry, not all of those tears have been sad ones.  I am beyond overjoyed that you are free of your broken body, released from your tortured existence and now smiling in the presence of our Lord & Saviour !!

Now, to survive the grief….

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you taught me, as I’m having to draw on all of it at the moment.  The biggest thing you taught me was to LOVE JESUS WITH ALL MY HEART, to TRUST in Him at all times, and to not lean on my own understanding.  Check !! (the last bit can be tricky sometimes)

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Next thing was to TITHE… I couldn’t possibly count the amount of times you said to me “Give that first 10% back to the Lord and the remaining 90% will go so much further than the 100% ever would have. ” Now, that was a harder one to fully take on board and I’m gonna be honest, I’ve only be doing it properly for about 6yrs now.. but guess what… you’re right (surprise surprise), I have not struggled financially in all that time.

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

For me personally, for my emotional health, the stand-out thing you taught me was to BELIEVE IN MYSELF.  You constantly told me that I could do anything as long as I tried my best.  I struggled at school big-time, with my eyesight, with bullies & teasers, with insensitive and uncaring teachers… but you were always my strongest advocate.  Whenever I worried about my marks not being as good as I would have liked or what I imagined you would have liked, you were so quick to tell me that as long as I’d tried my best, than you were more than happy with that.

Psalm 18:32-34 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.17976343_10158439924405580_371374466_o (1)

You also taught me about STRENGTH !!  You displayed the utmost integrity and grace during hardships that most would have broken under.   Not everyone knows all the things you struggled with, but we, your family and those closest to you, knew.. and we can only marvel at how you stayed strong right to the very last days.

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You gave my children the best Poppy they could ever have asked for… and an awesome handshake that I’m sure they’ll never forget.   You may not have been able to run around with them, but you displayed such loving traits to them that will set them in good stead for the lives ahead of them.

Hebrews 12:1  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,17571693_10155181394664540_27435386_o

You gave my husband an amazing example of what a loving, devoted husband should be, as well as showing him how a Christian stays strong amongst life’s struggles… and still smiles while going through it.

You taught me how to be a Godly parent !!  (However it’s something I have to constantly work on.. funny that.)

You taught me that much wisdom can be gleamed from Daffy Duck.. and that humour is needed for nearly EVERY facet of life !! 😜

You taught me that Hymns are AWESOME, rich and full of goodness !! They are greatly helping me get through this tough time.   My children now know all the words to most old hymns. ❤️

You taught me about PERSEVERANCE !!  Life isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t mean you throw the towel in, or have a hissy fit about it.

Colossians 1:11-12  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

You taught me about being PATIENT !! I watched you wait extremely patiently to be taken Home to The Lord.  Some of the things you had to endure in your 67yrs are too heartbreaking to even think on, let alone write down, but you continued to trust in The Lord and His plan for your life.

Isaiah 40:31  But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.17571351_10155181342204540_1798257886_o

You also taught me that it’s ok to not always be ok !! The amount of times I had to see you in tears, my heart breaking for you and the quality of life you were having to endure, were torturous.  But, you always pulled yourself out of it, dried your eyes with one of your many many hankies, and curve your lips up into a huge smile.  You KNEW your finest days were yet to come !!

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.


You taught me about the importance of FAMILY !!!  I was beyond blessed to have been given you as my Dad for 40.5yrs and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better Dad.  You showed me that it’s not worth letting little squabbles get in the way of the love of family members.

You taught me about TOLERANCE !!  You were treated badly by some, but you never displayed bitterness or resentment.

Ephesians 4:2  With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

You taught me about honesty, loyalty, fairness, responsibility, compassion and accountability !!!

I honestly could go on and on about all you modelled to me in your time here, but in the interest of saving paper (that was a big thing when we first had a printer… ink was super expensive, remember?), I’ll wrap it up by saying that I hope you will take it as the biggest compliment that giving you back to The Lord was the HARDEST thing I ever had to do.  I don’t say that lightly… it seriously was the most gut wrenching, agonising thing I have ever had to do.

I have prayed for years that you would be taken Home to Glory and be spared from all your hardships, but when I really did it seriously in the last 2months of your time with us, I always had to follow the request up with “but please give me the strength to survive it when you’ve taken him.”

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When that stethoscope was placed over your heart and it was confirmed you had gone, 6 of your girls collapsed to the ground and wailed…  really wailed.  Now THAT is love right there Dad…  deep, abiding, rip my heart out love that will never be forgotten !!

You left a lasting legacy Dad, and a deep handprint on our hearts.  You loved us so much, so unconditionally.. and you know, that’s what will get us through this.  You loved us enough to get us through the time we’ll need to be without you.   I also know that you smiled, turned around and went with those angels because you knew you’d left us with a firm foundation in which to base our lives on.. the Word of God.  We can know that we’ll get through anything life throws at us if we only rely on God and His Word !!  The biggest reason we can do that with absolute FAITH and not a hint of doubt, is because YOU MODELLED IT TO US !!

I love you more than words can say 💚

See you soon Daddio !!!

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Let the heart break..

Yes, it’s been quite some time since blogging.  :0(  So much has been going on.. we have started back at school, moved house, started soccer season etc etc.. and been busier than we’ve probably ever been.   The stress levels have been high and it’s not too fun right now.  (that’s putting it super mildly).

My awesome Dad, who I’ve mentioned before as being in end stage Parkinson’s disease, went into permanent care on January 6.  The reason for him going into permanent care was actually more about my Mum, his primary caregiver, than it was about him.  My Mum basically had a breakdown after the stress of years and years of struggle got on top of her.  We simply had to put Dad into, what began as, 2wks respite.  My dear ole Dad was happy to go into respite that day, going in very accepting of the situation, knowing that Mum needed a well earned rest.  He liked it so much that within a few days, he voiced himself that he would stay on permanently there.

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This in itself was a HUGE answer to prayer as none of us EVER wanted to ‘put him in a home’ against his will… or even with him begrudgingly going in. For him to make the decision himself, and be in good, sound mind when making it, was AWESOME !!!

Regular visits to Dad began, trips out in the leafy streets in his wheelchair, a trip back to our place for a family dinner….  Mum was steadily improving with the full nights of sleep she was able to now get with Dad being cared for elsewhere…. Things seemed to be going along swimmingly…  until things, well, weren’t ….  we got that first call that Dad had had a fall and was going in an ambulance to hospital…  a few hours of waiting and getting him discharged and back to the home.  This happened the following week too and once again, a lot of stress for poor Dad before returning to the home and being tucked up securely in bed.  During this time Dad had also started having bad hallucinations which were very upsetting for him.. and us as well.

From that point on, Dad seemed to go downhill fast.  To the point now where he spends most of his time in a fall-out chair, can no longer weight bear, speak legibly, take in liquid or food without choking, or get to the toilet himself.  Even as I type this, I’m once again blown away by how life has changed for Dad and for us in these 3 months.  It’s very hard to even grasp that it has been ONLY 3 months.  Dad often doesn’t recognise us, or have the energy to show any emotion.  To say that this time has been and is hard, is an absolute understatement.    What has been beyond torturous is when Dad is sad, and sometimes inconsolably upset.   He’s over it.. and you can’t blame him.  It really is the most heartbreaking though at these points as there is little we can do but pray over him, hold his hand and basically beg  The Lord to take him home.

Dad has battled with this disease for more than 25yrs… we’ve watched him go from an active, skilled man who was our absolute first port of call for advise on nearly anything, to a shadow of his former self.  He has lost so much weight in these 3mths that I can’t even bear to look under his shirt.  Many visits are spent in tears and anguish.  The fun times are still there though.. we talk about fond family memories and get a smile or a laugh out of him.

Dad still remains to be an amazing testimony to those around him.  He isn’t able to read his bible anymore, so we do that for him, as well as play his favourite hymns and worship songs.  The nurses who care for Dad are simply amazing, with hearts of gold.  God sure knew what He was doing when he lead us to this particular home.  You hear so many awful stories, and we did in fact have one bad experience with an agency nurse, but that one time has been our only complaint.   They all love Dad to pieces and he  is comfortable with them.  Who knows what a witness he’s being to others in the home, both staff and residents.. and maybe even residents visitors too.

I cannot even explain how much my heart is breaking living through this situation. Of course we’ve always known this time would come, but it’s so true what they all say… You can know it’s coming, but never be fully prepared for it’s emotional onslaught.  I want my Dad back !! I want to talk to him and have him talk back !!  I want my kids to know their Poppy as the man I grew up with… a hilarious jokester, a wealth of knowledge, and the greatest supporter anyone could EVER ask for.

Even though I rest in the full and unquestioning knowledge that Dad will soon be in Glory, and free of his pain, discomfort and undignified reality, the selfish part of me just wants to keep him with me.  This is what I wrestle with… the selfish part of me.  I do know, however, that I WILL have nothing but JOY in my heart when he goes home and I imagine what he is seeing & experiencing right at that time.  My heart will break into a million pieces, with some of those fragments to never repair this side of eternity, but I will live my life remembering how blessed I was to have him, and look forward to meeting him again.

I know that I have been blessed beyond measure having my Dad as my Dad !!!  He’s never disappointed me, he’s never let me down, he’s ALWAYS had my back.. and I will ALWAYS be grateful for this. and so much more !!!!!

I’ll treasure these last moments together and ride thru the pain, knowing that what is so so painful now will turn out to be some of the most precious times I ever had with my Dad.

Love you Dad !!!!!  xox

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God doesn’t make mistakes !!

This is a wide open raw post about our journey to accepting that our Master 11 has ADHD.  I have put this diagnosis off for, literally, years, as I didn’t want to ‘label’ my child.  From the time he was 2yrs old, we always have said that he has enough energy for 10 children.  As he grew to be a very full-on, energiser bunny type boy, I strongly resisted even reading about ADHD, let alone considering having him assessed, as I think I really knew he had it.

Of course now, in hindsight, I so wish I’d had him assessed years ago… not for me, but for him.  The biggest thing that finally pushed me to get that referral and make an appointment was one particular day laying turn in our front yard.  I was laying the turf pieces while the 3 kids prepped the area ahead of me.  Pulling out any weeds and moistening the area.  Repeatedly, we would need to question Master 11 on why he was in a different part of the yard.  As you lay turf in lines, it’s very clear where I was going to go next with my turf pieces, however Master 11 was always a good few meters away.  I, and my older 2 kiddos, would explain to him how things were being done and why he needed to be where he needed to be, but he was simply getting frustrated with us.  This is something I had come to recognise in him well.  It wasn’t a defiant, “I want to do my own thing” kind of frustration, but a “Why don’t I understand what you mean?” kind of frustration.

Let’s look at a fairly simple definition of ADHD

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. It can affect children’s learning and social skills, and also family functioning. It is not an illness. With medical treatment, understanding and care, a child with ADHD can live a normal life. 

I was not keen to look into ADHD as I pretty much knew, just from what I’d heard from others etc, that Master 11 would tick many of the boxes for diagnosis.

Common signs and symptoms are:

  • Inattention
    Difficulty concentrating, forgetting instructions, moving from one task to another without completing anything.
  • Impulsivity
    Talking over the top of others, losing control of emotions easily, being accident prone.
  • Overactivity
    Constant fidgeting and restlessness.

When I eventually forced myself to do extensive research, I wasn’t at all surprised, but still saddened, to be able to say, “Yes, that’s him to a tea.” to nearly every one.  I wouldn’t say that he is accident prone as such, but sometimes accidents will happen when there isn’t forethought put into actions etc.  (however that in itself is something that goes on in every child & adult if they don’t ‘think ahead’)

Now, while we are still on a steep learning curve with Master 11 and his diagnosis and by no means know anywhere near all we need to know, my first port of call was to get myself educated on the best way to help him.  Of course medication is the first thing everyone thinks, but I was predominantly more concerned with understanding how his brain works.  How do I ‘get in his head more’ so as to make the best decisions in every situation.

I also spoke to every ADHD Mum I knew, so as to get the broadest source of hands on info I could. My biggest concern was how do I deal with behaviour related issues?  A child with ADHD can’t just simply get away with things because they struggle more in these areas.  The general consensus was to have the best understanding of how he thinks and feels, so I can communicate & acknowledge these things with him.   eg.  “I understand that you struggle in this area, but there are still consequences for bad choices.” etc.

Some general info from the The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne that I found very helpful is shown below. What was really interesting was that a lot of the things they suggested were actually already in place in our home as they were part of our parenting journey from early on, having done ‘Growing Kids God’s Way’ with Gary & Ann-Marie Ezzo.

Ways to help children with ADHD

Verbal instructions

  • Keep instructions brief and clear.
  • Say the child’s name or tap them on the shoulder to make and keep eye contact when giving important information.
  • Ask your child to repeat the instruction to make sure they have taken it in and understood.
  • Your child may need prompting, monitoring and encouragement to keep them focused on tasks.

Written work

  • Highlight important points in written information using *asterisks*, CAPITAL LETTERS or bold text.
  • Limit the amount of information that needs to be copied from a black or white board. Instead, give ‘hand out’ sheets with this information.

Other learning strategies

  • Provide one-to-one instruction as often as possible.
  • A class ‘buddy’, who gets along well with the child, can be helpful to reinforce instructions and directions.
  • Make sure activities have plenty of ‘hands on’ involvement.
  • Schedule the most important learning to take place during the child’s best concentration time(s). This is usually in the morning.
  • Give a checklist for what the child needs to do.
  • Physical environment:
    • Sit them near the front of the classroom.
    • Plan seating and furniture carefully to decrease distractions. For example, sit the child near classmates who will be good role models.
    • A quiet place without clutter is important for homework.

Reducing over-activity and fatigue

  • Build rest-breaks into activities. For example, a five minute break for each 30 minutes of activity.
  • Alternate academic tasks with brief physical exercise. For example, the child could do structured tasks or errands such as delivering notes or taking lunch orders.
  • Prepare a number of low-pressure fun activities for when the child needs to spend a few minutes calming down.

Keeping structure

Children with ADHD can struggle with changes to routine and need to know what to expect. The following strategies can help:

  • Have a fixed routine.
  • Keep classroom activities well organised and predictable.
  • Display the daily schedule and classroom rules. For example, attach a flowchart to the inside of the child’s desk or book.
  • Tell the child in advance (whenever possible) of a change in the schedule.
  • Give the child advance warning of changes. For example: ‘in five minutes you will have to put your work away’, and remind them more than once.
  • Keep choices to a minimum.

Self-esteem

  • Encourage the child to take part in activities where they will experience success.
  • Set achievable goals.
  • Acknowledge their achievements by congratulating them verbally and in written ways such as notes or certificates.
  • Focus their attention on the good parts of their written work. For example, use a highlighter pen on the best sections of the child’s work.
  • Help them feel important in the classroom. For example, acknowledging their effort to do a task even if they don’t succeed.
  • Near the end of the day, review with the child their accomplishment/s for that day.
  • Attend to learning difficulties as soon as possible to restore self-confidence.

Social skills

  • Involve the child in smaller groups of no more than two other children, instead of larger groups, whenever possible.
  • Reward appropriate behaviour such as sharing and cooperating.
  • Teach the child appropriate responses when they feel provoked. For example, teach them to walk away or talk to the teacher.
  • Encourage the child to join activities where ‘supervised socialisation’ is available, such as Scouts/Girl Guides or sporting groups.
  • Talk with the child about the consequences of their actions upon themself and upon others.
  • Use visual prompts to remind the child to think before they act. For example, ‘STOP, THINK, DO’.

Communication between home and school

  • Use a school-home daily communication book.
  • Communicate both positive aspects of day and inappropriate behaviour.
  • Teachers – be sensitive to parents’ feelings. They have the difficult task of raising a child with ADHD.
  • Teachers – help parents feel proud of their child. Find positive things to share with them about their child on a regular basis. This can be done in front of the child.

To help to encourage the child to complete homework parents can:

  • Make the work environment attractive but not too distracting.
  • Have regular scheduled time for homework.

Key points to remember

  • Acknowledge and reward achievements and positive behaviour often.
  • Attend to learning difficulties as soon as possible.
  • A quiet place without clutter is important for homework.
  • Talk with the child about the consequences of their actions.
  • Medication, positive parenting strategies, school support and counselling can help most children with ADHD and their families.

With all of this in mind, I need to now tie in with my previous blog post about returning to mainstream school.  (the health issue I spoke of for Master 11).

While all the things about returning to school were going on, I was very aware of two things.

  1.  Master 11 would very much benefit from the routine of school, but also the frequent ‘changes’ going on at school.  Moving from class to class, having different teachers,  having designated break times with others etc etc.
  2. To be able to transition into school easily and for Master 11 to excel in all areas of schooling, both academic and social, I needed to have him assessed/diagnosed in order to go forward in the best emotional state possible.  (I’m talking me as well as him.. ha ha)

Master 11 is crazy smart academically, and I have come to understand why since educating myself on ADHD.  I’m pretty darn excited to see where he can go with this back at school, but also in his life in the future.  I’ve been able to have some great discussions with him about how BLESSED he is to have this disorder.  He can honestly think quicker than anyone I know.  I’m determined that he doesn’t forget that he is MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE !!!  He’s not negatively effected by this !!  God has a crazy awesome job set aside for him and only he can fulfil it !!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

I’m not saying it’s always easy, coz man, it isn’t !!  I will continue to go to The Lord each morning and say “Please keep me teachable”  “Re-parent me in areas you’re not pleased with” “Forgive me for reacting the way I did in this or that situation.”  I also have to go to Master 11 and seek his forgiveness when I haven’t handled a situation as best as I could have.  #parentingwithhumility

This seems like such a short post for such a broad issue, but while I want to understand my son as best as I possibly can, I don’t want this to be perceived as this big daunting problem… coz you know… it’s not !!!  When it comes down to it, it wasn’t a surprise to me, (& as one of my Lioness sisters always says to me), it certainly wasn’t a surprise to our Heavenly Father.    I simply needed to allow The Lord to work within me, to prepare my heart for the journey.  I’m so thankful that he did and continues to do this in me each and every day.

Blessings Peeps !!!!!  xox

Master 11’s Glaucoma surgeries

In the interest of giving fair warning, two things –

  1. This post is about a medical procedure that my 11yr son needed to have in July 2016, and the follow-up surgery in November 2016.  If you don’t like reading about medical procedures, than maybe click out now and wait for the next blog.
  2. While I’ll source some medical details from the internet in places, I’ll also explain things in my own words, so if there are any eye specialist reading and I get it wrong… I apologise in advance.

Ok….  still here, Great !!… don’t say I didn’t warn you.  :0)

For going on 5yrs now, our son has been dealing with high eye pressure (Glaucoma) in his left eye.  To give you some history, Master 11 was born predominantly blind with congenital cataracts.  Our other son, Master 14, was also born with the same condition.  Both boys followed the same treatment plan.  Removal of the natural lens in both eyes, in two different surgeries at 5wks old, and then the fitting of contact lenses by the time they were 8wks old.

Glaucoma is a significant risk for those that have had their natural lens removed, but having said that, I had the same surgery at 18months old, and Master 14 had it, and neither of us have had any Glaucoma issues.  It’s even quite miraculous that Master 11 has only had it effect one of his eyes.  Praise God for this !!

There’s loads of info about Glaucoma online etc but it’s, more often than not, a different type to what Master 11 suffers.  He has what they call Secondary Glaucoma.

  • Secondary glaucomas. These glaucomas can develop as a result of other disorders of the eye such as injuries, cataracts, eye inflammation, the use of steroids (cortisone).

The Eye

The eye works very much like an old-style camera. In the camera, the light comes in through the shutter, is focused by the lens, falls onto the film and them we take it to be processed.

In the eye, light comes in through the cornea and pupil. It is focused by the lens, falling onto the film in the eye (the retina) and then goes, via the optic nerve (the nerve of sight), to the brain (the processor) for developing.

The shape of the eye is achieved through the circulation of a clear fluid (aqueous). It bathes and nourishes the eye, keeps it firm and gives the eye a certain pressure. High pressure left uncontrolled can lead to damage of the optic nerve and result in vision loss.

It must be noted that eye pressure varies from person to person. What is high pressure for one person may not be for another.

Diagram of a normal eye

Normal Eye

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. In most people this damage is due to an increased pressure inside the eye – a result of blockage of the circulation of aqueous, or its drainage. In other patients the damage may be caused by poor blood supply to the vital optic nerve fibres, a weakness in the structure of the nerve, and/or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves.

Diagram of aqueos flows from the Ciliary Body through the Anterior Chamber and out via Meshwork

Our eye pressure ideally should sit between 10-19 but James has more often than not been ‘unreadable’ which means he exceeds the top reading of the machine which is 50.  On a good day, he’d be in the 30s… if he was in the 20s, that was cause for celebration.

After a couple of years of trying to combat the problem with eyedrops, we were referred to a Glaucoma specialist, who was the one to perform my son’s surgeries.  Below is a YouTube video of the procedure… not actually my son’s.. just a video you can source on YouTube of this procedure.  It is full-on graphic, so only watch if you can hack it.  Master 11 waited a few weeks post surgery before he watched it… and loved every minute (weird child.. LOL)

 

For those that don’t want to watch the video…..

What is a glaucoma tube?

Glaucoma tubes are surgical devices used to reduce eye pressure (intraocular pressure) in glaucoma. They do this by allowing fluid (aqueous humour) to drain from inside the eye, through the tube, into a reservoir (or bleb) hidden under the upper eyelid. Aqueous humor is a fluid inside the eye and is not related to the tears. Reducing the pressure on the optic nerve is important to help reduce the risk of further damage to the nerve and to prevent further loss of vision from glaucoma.  Tubes are made from a soft silicone tube (less than 1 mm in diameter) attached to a plate.

The tube is placed inside the front chamber of the eye. This allows fluid to drain out of the eye towards the plate. The plate sits on the white of the eye (the sclera). The plate will not be easily visible as it is buried under the skin of the eye (the conjunctiva).  The Baerveldt tube does not contain a valve to control flow as other Glaucoma tubes do, but has other advantages. As the Baerveldt tube has no valve, it must be temporarily tied off at the time of surgery by placing a stitch around the outside of the tube (ligating stitch). This stitch can prevent the pressure going too low due to fluid draining too quickly. During the first 6 weeks after surgery the eye will begin to heal around the plate and form a reservoir to collect fluid draining from the eye. If the tube were to open too soon, before the reservoir forms, the eye pressure could become too low. At about 6 weeks after surgery the ligature stitch around the tube will dissolve allowing the tube to open. As the tube is tied off it is quite normal for the eye pressure to remain a little high during the first 6 weeks after surgery. To further reduce the risk of eye pressure dropping too low when the stitch dissolves, another stitch (called Supramid) is also put inside the tube at the time of surgery. If the pressure is still high at 6-7 weeks, once the outside stitch has dissolved, it is possible to remove the Supramid stitch to allow even more fluid to drain from the eye. In this way we can gradually adjust the pressure to a safe level while reducing the chance the eye pressure will go too low. The Supramid needs to be adjusted in about 50% of people. Adjustments can be made in clinic using the usual microscope used to examine your eyes but is more commonly done in theatre. Adjustments are not usually done less than 3 months after the original tube surgery. Although glaucoma tubes are covered by the eyelid and skin of the eye (conjunctiva), they also need to be covered with a patch of transplant tissue. This is needed to reduce the chance of the covering over the tube eroding and exposing the tube or plate. The transplant patch is made from either sclera (from an eye bank) or a material called tutoplast (processed pericardium from a commercial source). These tissues come from people who have donated their eyes to benefit others. The transplant material is not like other transplants though as it is dead tissue, with no risk of rejecting. It is simply used to reinforce the surface of the eye. If donor tissue is not used, breakdown of the conjunctival surface of the eye over the implant can occur in 10-14% of cases. When donor tissue is used the risk of breakdown is less than 3%.

 

Master 11 sadly fell into the 50% of patients who needed the stitch adjustment (I don’t know why they say ‘adjustment’.. why don’t they just say ‘removal’ seeing as that’s what is it? Weird. .. anyway, moving on.

The Stitch removal was done in late November, and even though all info you can find on the internet will tell you that the insertion of the shunt won’t improve eyesight, the many prayers for our Master 11 certainly proved that theory wrong as he was in awe of his great vision in that eye post surgery.   That’s even without a contact lens in the left eye, seeing as he couldn’t wear one for about 6wks, until the dissolvable stitches were gone.

We are now nearly 6wks post surgery #2 and Master 11 is only days away from being free of the post surgery eyedrops.  He’ll continue his eye pressure drops until he is seen again in a couple of weeks, and then he’ll hopefully begin to wean off of them also.  He is super excited about this as the lens needs to be removed for him to have his pressure drops each evening.  The idea of not having to take his left contact lens out EVERY night is very appealing to him.  He’s been taking it out every night for a good few years now.  His contact lenses can stay in for a week at a time otherwise.

It’s pretty cool to think on what The Lord has provided for us in these types of situations.  While it’s crazy stressful while going through it, the idea of not having been able to rectify this situation, resulting in my son losing his sight, is amazing !!  There is an unimaginable amount of people in far less fortunate countries that simply lost their sight due to this disease.  We are indeed blessed beyond measure !!!

In tough situations, like after a specialist appointment that involved an ‘unreadable’ pressure check,  I needed to lean heavily on verses like these

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

So many reasons for thanksgiving !!!!

Blessings Peeps  xox

HS Day 592 – The end of an awesome journey

reading-glasses-cartoon-SmileyReading

& so begins my catch up blogs… I have been very lax in getting my thoughts down ‘on paper’ in the last few months, but in my defence, there has been a lot going on.  Hence the several posts that will follow this one.  So, get a cuppa, find a comfy chair, and put the kids in front of a suitably awesome PG movie so you’ll have a good hour and a half of peace and solitude.

During 2016, I started to have lots of things about a local state high school come across my radar, whether it be in person with a friend, a FaceBook post, something in the local paper etc etc.  I didn’t think too much of these things coming up as we do know quite a few kids that go to this school, so I was really encouraged to hear these positive things about a school that years back had quite a bad rep.  It was encouraging to also find out that young adults from our church were heavily involved in chaplaincy programs there.

As more and more things kept pooping up on my ‘radar’, I began to seek The Lord on these issues, originally simply asking why it kept popping up, and then I began asking what it meant (if anything) for our family.  I strongly felt lead to begin looking into the school itself, made a few calls, met with a few parents of kids there.  (Does this sound at all familiar to the beginning of our HS journey ??  ha ha)

As I have each of the 3yrs we’ve been a HS family, I would ask the kids around the time of the September school hols if they are happy to continue with Distance Education at home, if they’d like to return to mainstream school  (I never wanted to be a HS Mum that MAKES her children stay at home.)  Master 11 had had a particularly rough school year, part of this was because he had some serious eye issues, needing 2 surgeries in July & Nov, but mostly because his older siblings had moved onto online DE curriculum, while he remained on the ACE paces.  Compared to what they were doing, his looked boring, uninteresting and without end.  Now, a quick disclaimer here… I am in no way bagging out the ACE Curriculum as I think it’s great !!  I’m simply relaying HIS feelings about it.  We know a good dozen or so adults who went through their education with predominantly, if not all, ACE curriculum, and they went straight into Uni and onto successful careers.   2 of them are teachers at the local Christian school. So it would seem ridiculous to not see the ACE curriculum for what it is, a full & comprehensive educational material.

So, I wasn’t at all surprised that Master 11 was the first to put his hand up… and rather quickly at that.  There were some health issues to deal with first though, but that’s for another blog post.

Master 14 was quietly interested in the idea, but wasn’t at all committed to the decision until a good two months later.  Miss 15 was barely interested at all.  I was fine with that as I was only going to do what was best for each child.   If that meant one back at school and two still at home, that was fine with me.

We went along to our first meeting with the school guidance counsellor.  DH wasn’t able to attend, so I dear friend of mine came along, which I was very grateful for.  To get her thoughts and opinion on the school, the staff, their practises etc etc was a blessing beyond measure !!  Coz, guess what… sadly, some people are so willing to paint a negative light on a decision you are considering… whether it be to homeschool, return to school, sell your house, have a baby (I’m not), follow the Lord’s leading in changing churches, etc etc etc.  With this in mind, it’s always GREAT to have a good Godly friend to walk alongside you.  Their wisdom will help you through the fog of negativity and/or confusion !! Even better.. (if you’ve read my previous post re getting yourself into a Lioness Pride, you’ll see this coming), have yourself a PRIDE of warrior sisters…. it’ll help you so much in any decision making process, as well as just life in general !!

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We headed home from the school that day with the enrolment forms (and copious amount of other forms etc) with 2 children completely on board with going back to school.  Master 14 was now quite excited about it, which would end up building up to an almost annoying excitement which involved a comment nearly every day that went something like “Why do we need school holidays? Why can’t we do back to school now?”  I simply said to him that the many students that have been in mainstream school all year would strongly disagree with him.

Miss 15 was getting more and more interested in going back to school, but still had concerns about the distraction element.  She loves that she can work uninterrupted and without having to deal with break time social dramas.    She eventually made the decision to go back to school, knowing that she needs to be very conscious of making good friendship choices and also have good time management skills.  She sadly decided to not continue dance in 2017 in order to be able to knuckle down to her schoolwork.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this decision as for one thing, she’s very good at it, and two, we all need an outlet to keep us balanced.   I’m hoping the walk to and from school each day will be enough physical activity in the beginning, and maybe once she’s found her rhythm, she’ll also find time for another interest etc.  Having said all that, YAY for her commitment to her long-term goal of being a Paediatric Nurse !!

Now, speaking of walking to school… that in itself was another clink in the chain towards going back to school.  To walk to this school from where we live now would be approx 45mins, if not more.  While we do have a school bus stop right at the top of our street, I wasn’t keen on the kids getting the bus.  This is more about me being far away from the school if I was needed for some reason, then me having any issue with them getting the school bus.  So began the more intense hunt for a house close to the school and the shops (for me as I don’t drive, and for the kids to get to work.)  We had already been looking around at houses for months, as well as slowly prepping our house for sale, as we wanted to downsize, so it was simply intensified.

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We had almost given up finding anything when this lovely home became available.  It was super close to the shops and school.  We went through the motions, but sadly those motions included finding a nice termite infestation in the walls of this lovely home.  While it was super upsetting at the time, it became apparent that God had His hand over the whole thing all along, as just as this contact went belly up, an even greater house came on the market. It is a little further from the shops and school, but still very walkable, and all in all is a much more suitable home for us.

Our house went on the market as soon as we’d signed on the first home we found (the bug eaten one), but as yet we haven’t had a buyer put in an offer.  Lots of interest though, so that is promising.  I would have loved to have moved by start of school but even if we can’t, we know that God has it all worked out and we trust in His plans !!!!

While all this was going on, we continued with our interviews at the school, as each child needed a seperate enrolment interview with their respective year level HOD.  All 3 of the kids were getting really excited about going back to school, while Mum was a little (ok, a lot) teary at the idea of sending them off each day and not having them at home.  We bought uniforms and ticked all relevant boxes for what needed to be done prior to commencing school. (well, except for stationary supplies… I’m still to do that job.)

Master 11, going into High school, was able to attend a ‘High school for a day’ orientation.  It involved an assembly/sorting of classes and a tour of the school, both of which parents came along to.  Once those were done, the parents headed home and our little grade 7s were left to finish their full day at school.  At the end of the day, there was much excitement about new friends, new teachers and new routines.  He was a little anxious about knowing where he needed to be and when, but I assured him he’ll pick it up in the first week.

Master 14 had been beyond pleased with the subject selection he had access to.  He seriously was blown away by the subjects he had available to him.  (Hence his daily excitement and anticipation to return to school.) Each of the kids know people in their respective year level, so none of them are heading back to school with any nervousness re friendships.  I think this is a HUGE blessing for them heading into a new school !!

Also, personally knowing the President of the P & C has set this Mumma’s concerns to rest.  Being a Christian family heading into a secular school, I have my concerns if I let my mind run away with them… but The Lord has constantly been laying on my heart we are to be Salt & Light to the world.  This has also been a talking point with all 3 kids, that they are going into this school as a follower of Christ. They have a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.  I’m so pleased to be able to have confidence that all 3 have taken this onboard.

LiKzoyaia

There are such exciting times ahead !!!  Still some uncertainty with our house not being sold etc, but as I’ve already said, we TRUST in the will of The Lord !!!

Here is a  couple of verses that have been particularly helpful to me thoughout this time

Psalm 77:19  – Your road led by a pathway through the sea – a pathway no-one knew was there.

& of course…… Proverbs 3 Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and will make your paths straight. 

And so…..  Day 592 was our last day as a Homeschooling family.  This day was sad in lots of ways, but also very exciting. We have learnt so so much in these 3yrs being together basically full-time !!  We haven’t always gotten it right.. and we still have so much to learn about ourselves and each other, but while our schooling situation may be changing, our TEACHER has not !!!  We continue to lean on HIS teachings, and strive to live by HIS ways.

Blessing Peeps !!  xox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping the mountain in sight

So, who else can go through times of losing sight of God’s plan for them?

Mont_Blanc_from_Aosta_Valley

During one of my lectures last week, there was a great visual illustration discussed that really nails this topic on the head.  The story goes that a missionary went to speak in a remote location in India.  When he was picked up by his host, he noticed that they were heading straight towards the biggest, most majestic mountain he’d ever laid eyes on.  He was surprised to see how close they were actually getting to the mountain as they drove along, and was quite pleased when they arrived at his hosts home and found that the bedroom that was allocated to him had a balcony that looked directly onto the mountain.

That afternoon, the missionary thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset splash brilliant yellows, reds & oranges over the mountain as it went down behind him.  A full moon then came up and lit up the towering beauty for the evening.  He spent quite a bit of time out on his balcony (is anyone else thinking that maybe this was kinda rude to his host??  Just sayin) that afternoon & evening and certainly by the morning, he’d made up his mind… He wanted to trek to the base of the mountain that day.  He went to his host and put the suggestion forward, saying the surely he could make it to the base by lunchtime and then head back to return by dark.  His host smiled and said to him “It is a very rugged 4 day trek to the base of that mountain.”  His host went on to explain that the mountain’s sheer size made it appear far closer than it actually was, but also, out of sight between the host’s home and the base of the mountain, were several smaller mountains, and of course valleys between.

This was used as the analogy to depict what our spiritual life can often be like.  When things are going fantastically, and we’re up on a peak… we have a clear view of God’s ultimate plan for us… the majestic mountain…  but when we head toward it, we must travel down into the valleys, through hard times etc.  It’s at those times that we may not be able to see God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  We inadvertently come back up out of our particular valley, having learnt much, and once again get a birds eye view of our ‘mountain’.

Many would say “I just wish God would chopper me into the base of the mountain, that way I can skip over the heartache.”  It would seem much simpler wouldn’t it, but I firmly believe that if we were able to do that, we’d arrive and find that we were ill-equipped for what God has for us there.

It’s in those valleys, and in particular, making out way out of them, that we learn our greatest lessons, strengthening & equipping us for what’s ahead.  God’s not silly…. he knows we’re limited by out ‘humanness’.  He only equips us for the next mountain peak and no further.  This was highlighted in today’s message at church, entitled Worry vs Thankfulness.  Matthew 6:34 tells us therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.  I believe that we can allow worry to get in the way of growth.  We know that we will have struggle ahead of us, seeing as we know that’s how we learn (and of course the obvious point that we live in a very broken world), but if we spend our time worrying about what the NEXT valley, or even the next part of the valley, will be like, we risk missing our lesson… and having to do it all over again.

This illustration reminded me so much of a previous one that was in Old Testament Survey.  Talking about Cycles (lots of focus on the book of Judges…  the Israelites experience a cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance & restoration) and how God can be bringing us through a growth stage, but if we fight against it, not learning what it is He has for us in that particular season, we can end up going back to the beginning of the ‘lesson’ so to speak.    Just like the Israelites, who managed to turn an 11 day journey into a 40yr journey.  We may not have too many ‘valleys’ between us and God’s ultimate for us, but we can be stubborn and not learn what it is He has for us, therefore ‘cycling’ around the same valley over and over again.

I know for a fact that I did this within my marriage for many many years.  Oh my goodness, there were so many things  I was doing wrong… trying to achieve things in in ‘my timeline’ and using ‘my methods’.  I thought I needed to change DH, or convince him to change.  I wasn’t drawing on God’s strength within me and I certainly wasn’t doing anything about the enemies schemes.  I would give The Lord a cursory thank you if I believed I’d achieved some victory, or beat myself up harshly when a particular valley seemed excessively deep.  It wasn’t until I fully learnt & accepted who I AM in Christ, as well as learning to incorporate spiritual warfare in my daily prayer routine, that I felt equipped to ride through those valleys, as hard as they were, learning much along the way.

Believe me, I certainly don’t think I have it down-pat… NO WAY …..  but I have ridden through enough valleys now to know that I WILL get to the next peak if I keep in fellowship with The Holy Spirit and His leading.  When I reach that particular peak, I’ll be refreshed and rejuvenated by taking in the view of ‘my mountain’.  Each time it gets that little bit closer.  I’ve also learnt the hard way that it’s no fun to realise you’re back on the peak you started on because you didn’t learn what you needed for that season.  It’s not a fun feeling knowing you need to ride through that valley again, so that’s just more encouragement to stay the course & learn through struggle.

I can rarely get though a blog without highlighting the benefit of doing life with fellow Lionesses (& Lions for you guys reading). We are ALL walking this road with The Lord.  Our peaks & valleys can be really similar, or vastly different, but we lean on God’s word that tells that us in Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Our sisters (& brothers) in Christ can often be the ones that can highlight to us that maybe we’re not learning all we can be in this particular valley.  It can get tough ‘down in the trenches’ and sometimes we get weak, drop out shields a little… and it’s then that we need our Godly friends .  We need to make ourselves accountable to trusted Godly friends in order to travel our journey WELL !!

Earlier this year, I followed a particular leading of The Holy Spirt in relation to a dear friendship.  I really really didn’t want to & it broke my heart to do what He asked of me.  The common sense side of me knew that there would be heartache ahead, for me and the person involved.  I didn’t understand His leading…  it didn’t look like a cut & dry lesson…  I wanted to challenge Him on it, as I had before on this same issue.  But, you know what… last time, when I challenged Him.. when I thought I knew better, it didn’t end well.  It might have seemed like it went well temporarily, but in the end, I was back on the original peak… and that’s not fun !!   So, right now I’m riding through a journey .. and it’s been tough….  it’s been tortuous at times…. but I’ve been through a few valleys now and I have absolute confidence that this lesson will be well worth it.  I think I’m seeing some light up on the peak, and I CAN’T WAIT to see what God has for me next.

And no, I also can’t get through a blog without tying in a fitness element… and do you know why…  these same cycles get us in our fitness journey too.  I know, because I’ve been on that particular peak before.  Four years ago, I decided to get fit, and did a very good job of it… reached my goals etc etc.  But I didn’t learn the lessons GOD had for me… I just learnt the ‘logical’ lessons.  Eat well, exercise, hydrate… you know, all the stuff a good PT will tell you.  I didn’t, however, learn the lesson that my body is a temple and that I’m worshipping God when I look after my body and make good decisions in regard to it.  I got the ‘physical satisfaction’ last time I travelled the course… I lost weight, I was happy with how I looked etc etc, but God wasn’t a part of my journey in earnest.. and I thoroughly believe I’m now walking this journey again because I didn’t learn HIS lessons last time.

This is why I’m determined to walk it WELL this time, learning from HIM !! I have a great PT & I love her, but my ultimate PT is Jesus !!  I’ve said it before… He’s with me through every workout, He’s with me through every thought process around food etc etc.

So peeps, if I can tell you anything… stay the course with HIM !!!  Even when it seems unbearable and you think you won’t make it.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to ride through it now, even when it feels like you can’t survive it, than to go back to the beginning and start the lesson over.

Much love to you all.

Blessings  xox

 

Chicken & sweet potatoes.. my fave !!

Yes, I gotta say…. the fact that my family doesn’t complain about how much chicken & sweet potato are plated up for them each fortnight can only be a testament to my skills when it comes to variety !! (Yay Me !!)

Tonight I once again had a hankering for chicken, but my actual craving was not too healthy, so I had to come up with another plan.  As I’m sure you’re curious what my craving was….  it was chicken & mushroom Calzone.  As the bread option is not super fab to have, especially in the evening.. I thankfully managed to put my craving aside.  Good thing really, as I’m pretty sure tonight’s meal was one of my finest… and I totally just made it up as I went along (as I often do).  In the interest of utter honesty, I was also feeling extremely LAZY tonight.. I wanted a delicious meal, requiring very LITTLE effort to prepare.  Check out the method… WAY EASY !!

As I have no idea what is a suitable name for my creation tonight, let’s just call it Fi’s chicken surprise !! 

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Now, some things I want to make clear here….

  1.  this is my HUSBANDS serving size, mine was like maybe the same sweet potato fries, but about a third of the chicken.  I gotta tell you though, it was sooooo hard to not go back for seconds of the chicken.
  2. Yes, aren’t you all impressed how much effort I put into making my photo like super professional.  ha ha.
  3. Yes, I use a LOT of Turmeric in my cooking, hence the now empty bottle.. whoops.  (not to self… add Turmeric to shopping list).  PS…  Turmeric is WAY GOOD FOR YOU !!

So.. how do you make this masterpiece I hear you say….

Ingredients

  • 1kg Skinless chicken breast, cut up into small slices
  • 150g fresh spinach
  • 120g cut up mushrooms
  • small red onion finely sliced
  • Parsley, Basil & Tumeric (vary to taste)
  • 4 generous dollops of cottage cheese

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Place all ingredients into oven-safe pan, or foil tray.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir up all ingredients.
  • Cover with foil and place in pre-heated oven for 1hr.

Once you have your chicken dish in the oven, start preparing your sweet potato fries.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries
  • Cinnamon
  • butter (not Margarine peeps.. that stuff is GROSS)

Method

  • Microwave for 16mins with a dob of butter  & some cinnamon sprinkled on top.
  • Once par-cooked in microwave, place on an oven tray and in the oven with your chicken dish.  Leave to cook/crisp for the remainder of the chicken cooking time.
  • Serve up & ENJOY !!!

This meal was so so easy to make.. and the whole family was impressed.  DH even went back for seconds.

Enjoy & be blessed peeps !!  xox

It’s HEALTHY recipe share time

Today it occurred to me that I really should be sharing my recipes as part of my fitness & healthy living journey.  I originally found it difficult to break away from my ‘tried & true recipes’ and change over to 99% healthy eating, but now that I’m in the swing of things, it seems totally natural to cook this way.  :0)  It can be super easy for you to switch over too.

My ‘tried & true recipes’ involved eating a pasta meal of some sort at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.  Lasagna, pasta bake, spag bol, Tuna bake etc etc.  There was also a couple of serves of white potato mash consumed each week.  My first step was to cut out the pasta and switch over to Sweet potato.  The pasta cut out was pretty easy as I just serve my own portion size up prior to adding noodles, pasta etc.  I also switched over to cooking with only extra virgin coconut oil… so yummy .. and so good for you. Coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Saturated fats not only increase the healthy cholesterol in your body, but also help to convert the “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterols. By Increasing the saturated fats in the body, it helps promote heart health, and lower the risk of heart disease.  I’ve had to ‘trial run’ a few different organic brands as my children aren’t crazy for the actual coconut smell & flavour.  I personally love it, but have had to settle on the brand I now use in order to keep the peace at home.

As I’ve already said, for myself, I have swapped out white potato for sweet potato in EVERY situation where I once used white.. mashed potato, baked potato, potato chips, potato bake, use in casseroles etc.  My family still like the white potato a lot so in most situations (except the mashed variety), it’s easy to still give them the white and I just have the sweet.  I have found that the thermomix makes SUPER delicious sweet potato mash.  It’s even a hit with the fam-bam !!

Ok… so the first recipe I’m going to share with you all is my Cashew Satay Chicken & vegetable casserole.  I make this for my family once a fortnight or so, but have used it a couple of times as my ‘go to meal’ when I’m preparing a meal for a needy family etc.

satay chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 kg skinless chicken breast
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves
  • 120g fresh spinach
  • dessert spoon coconut oil
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • can of corn kernels
  • 2 x zuccinis
  • 175g mushrooms
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 175g broccoli
  • 175g Cauliflower
  • 2 x large dessert spoon of organic cashew butter
  • 2 x dessert spoon organic natural honey
  • 2 x dessert spoons cottage cheese.

Method

  1.  Dice up chicken & all vegetables into small pieces (onion & garlic very small… I use my tupperware happy chooper.)
  2. Heat coconut oil on medium to high heat in a large dutch oven sized saucepan
  3. Cook onion, garlic & mushrooms until softened and caramelised.
  4. Add all remaining diced vegetables, turn right down to low and cover.
  5. Stir every few minutes.
  6. When your broccoli has turned a lovely bright green, it’s time to add the chicken.
  7. Add your chicken to the pot, stir through and cover.
  8. Stir every few minutes until your chicken is cooked through.
  9. Add your Cashew butter, honey, corn kernels & cottage cheese and stir through.
  10. Add your choice of herbs & spices.  (I suggest Turmeric be one of them as it is loaded with health benefits.) Cover.
  11. This can now be left for 30mins or so to simmer… or up to 2hrs on a very low heat.(the longer it simmers for, the richer the flavours.)
  12. Serve up & ENJOY all that healthy goodness !!

Notes

  • Not only different stoves, but also different cookware can vary your cooking times & temperatures.  eg. I cook in a very large flavourstone pan which doesn’t need heat over medium to achieve what would need high heat in your run of the mill saucepan.  I also may use my Chef’s Toolbox pan, which is similar to the flavourstone  when it comes to heat range.
  • All of these vegetable quantities are pretty fluid.. put in as little or as much as you like.
  • This amounts makes 2 decent sized meals for a family of 5.
  • In the interest of complete honesty…. the picture I used is not mine… it’s just that this meal NEVER lasts long enough in my home for me to take a nice picture of it, so I had to improvise and use a google image.  :0)
  • You’ll notice I add my raw chicken to the vegetables without browning it first.  I used to do this in a seperate pan as they say it locks in the flavour.  Well, in a state of rush one evening a few months back, I skipped this step and simply added it to the pan.  There was no noticeable change whatsoever, so I have continued to do it this way.. and the child that is on dishes that night thoroughly thanks me for this.  :0)
  • If you go for the longer simmer time, you will find that your sweet potato has completely cooked down to mash and will have melded with your satay sauce. If you don’t like this … go for the shorter simmer time.
  • I have also added natural greek yoghurt when I’ve had some in the fridge and that was a delicious addition to the meal.
  • I’ve also made this satay with natural organic Almond butter.

You will LOVE this recipe.  It is so so easy to make, it gives you 2 meals, and loads you up with lots of vegetable goodness !!!  The added benefit is that you can either bless another family with the second meal, or pop it in the fridge securely covered to enjoy a ready made meal 2 nights later.  Hands up who loves a ready made meal evening !!!  ME !!

So, what are you waiting for…. get cooking peeps !!!!!  xox  :0)

 

 

 

Ekka adventures 2016

So, yes, more than a week later, I’ve found the time to write ‘the Ekka blog’.

Sunday 7th August began as it continued….  gorgeous !!!  Beautiful weather…. just right for jeans, but not ridiculously hot. I’ve definitely had those Ekka experiences where you have to dress for Summer through the day, but be prepared for the temps to drop 10 degrees when the sun goes down.  Last year I purchased ugg boots at the Ekka, so my little tootsies were toasty warm during the freezing hours sitting watching the Main Arena entertainment.  This year, however, I couldn’t very well purchase a second pair (the ones I bought still look brand new, with MUCH use in the year that’s passed), and I certainly wasn’t prepared to carry them in my bag all day, no matter how toasty warm my feet would have been in the evening.

So, I settled on my most favourite and trusty brown leather boots.  I’ve had them for, literally, years and years and years.  I replaced them last year, but still can’t seem to part with these ones.  Well, Ekka 2016 turned out to be their last hurrah.  :0(  They lasted the day and evening perfectly, but when I got them home and pulled them off, the sole kind of came off while the shoe stayed on my foot… whoopsie.  Oh well, at least they enjoyed they’re final use. I still can’t bear to throw them out, but I’m sure I’ll get there.

I headed into the Ekka with two of my gorgeous Lioness sisters.  If there’s anyone besides my DH & kids that I most love making memories with, it’s these girls !!  The first pic below is a little blurry (probably because I felt silly taking a selfie in a crowded train), but I simply had to have a photo of heading to the Ekka on a DIESEL TRAIN !!!  So cool !!  It reminded me of the early 90s when I used to work in the city and would quite often travel to & from work on a diesel train.  It’s all fun & interesting in the winter, but travel for long on one of those babies in the middle of summer… no AC, sticky vinyl seats….. it doesn’t seem so lovely & nostalgic then.  Ha Ha !!

After arriving & collecting our map of the showgrounds (the grounds do keep changing as development continues to encroach on the outer edges.), our game-plan was to hit the showbag pavilion, get what we ‘needed’ (Ha Ha) and then stash said necessities in a locker.  With this ticked off our list, and being able to feel like loving and caring mothers for having purchased our children something, we took our first selfie in sideshow alley, if for no other reason than to mark the fact that we weren’t wasting any of our money there.  (sorry ride venders, but maybe if they didn’t cost $10 a pop, we may have thought about it.)

Our first stop was the fresh food pavilion (lunch was a priority :0)).  We found a lovely stall that sold fruit teas that came in mason jars that you could keep.  I thought the stall looked really pretty too.  I was very naughty and succumbed to my Dagwood Dog Craving.  While it was a nice one…not too much batter etc…  I did pay for it in the next couple for days.  I’ve said it before, but my body just seems to really like eating healthy.. and seeing it’s so used to it now, it really likes to tell me about it when I put cr@p in it.  So, lesson learnt (again).

We made some great friends while at the Ekka, including this Koala firefighter which we assumed was a guy, but on closer inspection of the shoes, proved to more likely be a girl koala bear.  Yes, these differentiations are important.  I was super excited to gain access into the cattle pavilion this Ekka visit, as the last two times I’ve been, they haven’t let the public in.  Probably some public health & safely rules or some rubbish.  But seriously, an Ekka visit is not complete without getting cow dung in your shoes.  Check out this cows double (triple, whatever) chins !!  I have always, and believe I will always have, a love of cows.  I have no idea why, but I just love them. There’s a dairy farm an hour or so from our home and I absolutely LOVE visiting.  Not just to stock up on the BEST milk on offer, but to see the cows, enjoy the surrouds etc etc.

We also loved seeing the different dog & cat breeds, as well as horses, cows, sheep etc etc.  Man, there are some WERID dog breeds out there (Poodles… seriously, what the.. to name just one.)  The competition winners in fresh produce and cake making etc is always fascinating and of course didn’t disappoint this year either.  The first place winner in the pumpkin growing competition had grown a pumpkin that was well over a meter in diameter.  Wowzers, that’s a LOT of pumpkin soup right there.  I always wonder whether such a big one still has the yummy flavour of a ‘run of the mill’ size.

Filling the time we had before heading to the Main Arena for the evening, we headed off into another area that had something similar to woodchop, but not quite.  I didn’t get any good pics, but he was basically moulding wood into different shapes etc, making tables, chairs and other different things.  It was actually the closest we got to seeing any woodchop as we didn’t end up seeing any in the main arena at all.  (insert sad face).  We did however, make another friend while in this area.  He wasn’t much into chatting, but he took a good picture.  :0)

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Having heard from my DH & kids (who came in a little later than us and spent their time wasting money at sideshow alley), that they had secured some good seats in the main arena, we went in search of them.  It was great to have my family join us as it was the best of both worlds for me…  A kid-free day at the Ekka with my Lioness sisters, but also having my DH & kids around me to enjoy (& see their enjoyment) at the main arena entertainment.  As always, it didn’t disappoint.  The different entertainers were great (well, expect for a very suspect Kylie Minogue tribute ‘singer’).  I just love how much they focus on the Queensland roots and country history.  Ekka is often labeled as ‘Where the country meets the city’ and that really does sum it up.  I think that’s why it’s so loved to… it’s almost like stepping into another world, and in some ways, another time.

We did look a little tired by this stage, but hey, we had walked a LOT that day.  We actually ended up walking quite a bit more just to get to where DH had parked.  (Closest secure parking to the Ekka… I don’t think so… well, maybe it was, but I don’t think they should use the word ‘close’ at all. )

As usual with blogging about a day like this, I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface with what we experienced that day, but I guess it gives you a little glimpse into the fun & enjoyment that is The Royal Queensland Show, aka Ekka, aka RNA (The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of QLD.)(No wonder they shorten it.).

Fun fact for you…  The Ekka has been running since 1886.  Pretty cool me thinks.

OK… Blessings Peeps  xox

 

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