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Archive for the 'Home Front' Category

Tap, Tap, Tap!

No, that’s not me writing, tapping away on my keyboard. That’s the noise I hear while I’m writing. Now that our trees have grown we have a lot of thrushes and blackbirds visiting our garden. At this time of the year they hunt out snails, cart them to the nearest concrete path and start thumping them to break the shells so they can dine.

I was going to take photos of all the empty shells, but Mr. Munro used the blower today and blew them away. The bird’s favorite killing ground seems to be under the clothes line. Every time I go out there during summer, I stand on the empty shells. It’s most annoying because I never remember to grab my shoes and end up standing on the sharp, snail shells.

Do you have any interesting wildlife at your place?

Seduced by a Magazine

Today I visited Newmarket (an upmarket shopping area not far from the inner city) and then stopped at Sylvia Park, one of the local malls. I was peering out the window on the way there and I saw it…

An ad for a magazine. I noticed one of the headlines on the cover and had to have a copy of my own. I was seduced. The story title?

2 Weeks to a Flat, Sexy Stomach.

I tell you, a little voice inside my head screamed, “Buy me!” so like the good consumer I am, I purchased a copy of New Zealand Women’s Health. I now have all the details at my fingertips: the quick, toning moves, the no-fail rules of flat abs and 12 fat-blasting foods.

Along with the flat, sexy stomach article there are ones on making love last, a guide to a stress-free life and motivational secrets for real women to get and stay fit. I tell you…I’m set for the holiday season.

Do you purchase or read magazines? If so, do you have any favorites?

Almost the Kitchen Sink…Examining Handbags

I met two girlfriends for coffee this week and the subject of handbags came up. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post on handbags and their contents for ages so I con…ah, persuaded them to let me photograph what they were carrying in their bags. Note – they both censored their contents a little!

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This is what my friend Tessa Radley had in her handbag.

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This is what my friend, Jo had in her handbag.

I’ve been carrying around my briefcase this week. It contains my alphasmart, wallet (credit cards, driver’s licence etc), house keys, flash drive, camera, Palm PDA (e-reader), small makeup bag, canvas bag (instead of using plastic bags), chewing gum, about five pens, notebook, a library book about Distance Relationships, bus ticket, iPod, tissues, sunglasses, business cards in silver case, and cell phone.

Maybe you should call me Gadget Girl. :grin:

The typical handbag of a typical woman in 1945 contained:

One or two lipsticks
A compact(the won’t close)
1 fresh handkerchief
2/3 crumpled handkerchiefs
A package of letters
The laundry bill
3 tickets from the cleaner
1 nylon stocking to be repaired
1 address book
1 pack of cigarettes
3 packs of matches
1 leather picture folder
All ration books (including expired ones)
Several cards with address of a furrier,
a wholesale place for children’s coats, a beauty parlor, a graphologist, etc.
2 scraps of paper with telephone numbers
and no names
1 hairnet
1 bottle of vitamins
3 samples of slipcovers
1 fountain pen
2 pencils
1 parcel of V-mail letters covering
several months held by a rubber band.

The typical handbag of a typical woman today:

ATM Card
Cell Phone / Blackberry
Change Purse
Checkbook
Crumpled Tissues
Hand Cream
Hair Brush
Keys
Lip Balm
Nail File
Makeup case filled to capacity
Pens
Wallet and credit cards

One bag is not enough
Our contents spill over into our totebags,
where you will find:
Agenda
Bottled Water
Paperback Book/Magazine
Newspaper
Shoes to change at work
Umbrella

I thought the differences were quite interesting.

Source: Accessory Web

Do you carry a handbag, and if so, what do you have in it? (note – if you’d like to send me a photo of your handbag contents I’ll post them next week)

It’s All About the Fizz

About two weeks ago, my sister told me about this new program she’d started watching on the Living Channel about organizing wardrobes and cleaning. My first thought was “Huh! There’s no way I’m getting excited about housework and cleaning!”

While our house is reasonably tidy, it’s not spotless. My opinion is that life is too short to obsess about a clean house. I tend to let things slide when I can, preferring to do fun stuff instead.

Fast forward a few days, and I was channel surfing. I came across the program called Lush House and settled in to watch it. Each week features a different family, along with their cleaning and organizational problems. They might have carpet stains, severe clutter, disorganized rooms, poor ventilation, problems in the garden and other cleaning nightmares within the house. Along comes Shannon Lush to solve all their problems. She uses natural methods of cleaning and dispenses lots of cleaning tips. By the end of the show the family and their pets are organized with their houses all spick and span.

I was fascinated with her basic cleaning supplies—all natural products and inexpensive. I thought about all the expensive cleaning materials underneath my kitchen sink and decided I’d try some of Ms. Lush’s methods. It wasn’t as if I was wasting a lot of money if they didn’t work.

During my next shopping trip, I purchased a packet of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and a bottle of white vinegar. What you do is sprinkle baking soda on the area to be cleaned then spray it with white vinegar. It makes a very satisfying hissing sound when the two items react, lifting dirt and grime at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised at the way it cleaned my sink and stovetop. I’ve also used the baking soda/vinegar to clean my oven with some success. The grime is a bit baked on in my oven so it will take two or three cleaning sessions, but it does work. The baking soda/vinegar can also be used to clean dishwashers, toilets, baths, and showers. I tell you it’s miracle stuff, and the child in me really enjoys the hiss and sizzle the baking soda and vinegar make when they react.

Here’s a link to the fact sheets and the various cleaning problems Ms. Lush has tackled to date.
Ms. Lush has also published several books on cleaning the natural way. I tell you—I’m a believer. I really like using the more natural products. It’s got to be better for the environment and it’s sure easier on the pocket!

Do you like housework? What is your favorite cleaning product?

Firing Up the BBQ

With the warmer weather here in New Zealand, we’ve started having barbeques. Last night our entire three course meal was cooked on the barbeque.

I’m a vegetarian, although I do eat seafood on occasion to keep up my protein levels. Last night was one of those days. We had grilled prawns (large) for a starter, for a main I had fresh salmon, baked potato, asparagus and zucchini. Hubby had chicken. And for dessert we had filo pastry with fresh strawberries and creme fraiche. The layers of filo pastry were sweetened with a little brown sugar and cinnamon.

I’m hoping Mr. Munro will feel the urge to either recreate this meal or do something similar because the entire meal was delicious.

Do you like barbeques? What is your favorite barbeque meal?

Fast Food

Fast Food

Mr. Munro has worked late for the last few nights, which has meant I’ve had to dine alone. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like cooking for one. When it’s just me for dinner I tend to snack. Tonight I was tempted to make toasted sandwiches, but then I thought no – that’s not healthy.

In the end I went with pasta. The contents of our fridge were pretty sparse, but I managed to find onion and mushrooms. I added frozen corn kernels, part of a fresh tomato and the last quarter of a jar of pasta sauce. Everything was cooked and ready to eat in fifteen minutes. Add a glass of wine and it was fast food at its best.

My pasta meals are different every time. Sometimes I’ll add pesto or blue cheese and nuts – whatever I have in the fridge and pantry at the time usually works with pasta.

Another favorite meal is a baked potato topped with thick Greek yoghurt and a salad, although this takes a bit longer to cook.

Do you like cooking for one? What meals do you tend to have when it’s just you?

I Know That Face…

The other night Mr. Munro and I were watching Psych on television. A new character appeared in the scene and we both said, “Who is that?” I recognized both the face and the distinctive voice.

Neither of us could remember which show we’d seen the actor in before.

“It’s a detective show,” I said.

Hubby just nodded. “It’s gonna bug me.”

And it did bug us—both of us to the extent that we were discussing the actor rather than watching the excellent plot.

“The Closer,” I said. “I think he’s on The Closer.”

“Yeah,” hubby said. “He’s the father.”

We both nodded.

“But that’s not where we know him from,” I said.

We both agreed and went back to being bugged.

At the end of Psych we watched the credits, found the actor’s name, which was Barry Corbin, and Googled him. Thank goodness for the Internet. It certainly solves questions like this quickly.

“One Tree Hill,” I said in triumph. “He was the basketball coach on One Tree Hill.”

Both satisfied, we moved on to the next television show and our cup of tea.

Does it bug you when you can’t recall a name? How are you at remembering names?

That Darn Cat…

Disaster! Our giant pumpkin seeds haven’t germinated. We’ll have to go back to the Farmers’ market and buy more seeds so we can try again. My father’s seeds have, of course, sprouted and are growing busily. I’ve no idea what went wrong, but all we have are little punnets of dirt.

And even worse, since our little dog died we’ve been over run with cats. Scotty used to enjoy chasing them and they knew not to enter our section. No longer. One particular cat called Austin has taken to doing his business in Mr. Munro’s vegetable garden. Understandably this makes Mr. Munro very cranky. The steps to deter Austin have gradually grown more determined. It’s Austin v Mr. Munro and what Austin lacks in size, he makes up in intelligence.

Hubby’s latest strategy is to cover his garden with netting, and he’s also set up a sprinkler system. I have strict instructions that the moment I see Austin near the garden I’m to creep to the tap and turn it on full force. Luckily Austin wears a bell and my hearing is good. We had our first run in yesterday. I heard Austin’s bell and headed straight for the tap. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the garden so he didn’t get wet with the sprinkler, but I did give him a fright.

Yes–it’s the Munros v Austin. And so far, we’re losing.

Does anyone have any tips to deter an adventurous cat?

Knives & Forks

English department store Debenhams have reported that dinner forks are outselling knives by two to one. The retailer is organizing a civilized dining campaign designed to make sure we don’t lose the traditional way of eating.

A spokesman said, “Using both a knife and a fork to eat has held this country in good stead for centuries. It’s one of the mainstays of being British. It’s about maintaining standards, before the single fork habit becomes ingrained in the next generation. Bad table manners can turn an enjoyable meal into an embarrassment.”

Forks

Knives were always used for eating in the past, with each person owning their own to use during meals. Forks are a more recent invention and weren’t introduced to England until around 1608. People were very resistant to the new tool, asking why they required a fork when they had hands. Slowly the upper classes embraced forks and they became a symbol of the wealthy.

I must admit that my husband and I tend to eat more ethnic dishes these days. I think of them as bowl foods and we use either a fork or a spoon, depending on the consistency of the food. We’re more likely to use forks than both knives and forks. Actually tonight we used both, but that’s not usual.

My nephew and his wife (who is Japanese) don’t own many knives and forks. They’re a chopstick family and if we have a family gathering at their place, we have to take cutlery.

What happens at your house? Do you tend to use forks more than knives? Is our style of eating shifting?

Blowing in the Wind.

I have a fascination with wind chimes. I love the sounds they make and find them soothing. My husband isn’t such a big fan, although a few years ago we purchased one. It’s a tiny one with elephant shapes and it doesn’t make much noise. My sister has a larger one and it’s very melodious. Wind chimes sort of remind me of the xylophones we used to have at school. I wasn’t very good at playing them – I was more a recorder girl – but I liked the sound they made.

Do you like wind chimes? Do you have any at your place?

NEWSFLASH: Tomorrow, author JA Saare is my special guest. She is currently on a blog tour promoting her four upcoming paranormal releases and is giving away a $10 book voucher. That means if you comment on my blog, you have a chance of winning her blog tour prize. She is talking about What makes a good heroine? Is it a hard-assed Buffy or a soft-spoken Bella?”

Here’s the link to the details of JA’s full blog tour plus details of her four releases.