Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

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HBD Charlie!

…so this weekend we celebrated Charlie’s 45th birthday; or as I liked to tease him; half way to 90! And when you put it that way, its a bit scary. Chances are good we have already lived half our lives! Really? Really? I know the whole Business Women’s Association awards thing kinda made me reassess things, but once again I am reminded that it really does go by in a flash; and I think we must always be clear on where we are going in life, be clear about our goals, because before you’ve realised it, it’s too late! Thanks for that reality check, my love!

The weekend felt jam packed! On Friday night Charlie, Thandi and I had a quiet dinner out to celebrate the birthday boy. That was nice and it was good to relax with a glass of wine after a really busy week. Saturday started with a fabulous run – pain free, I felt like I could run forever! Then it was onto the first birthday of a friend’s little girl, for whom I made that cake – so much fun to see such cute little people playing and having fun! Saturday afternoon I pottered in the kitchen – baking a cake for Charlie’s birthday celebration and prepped some gourmet boerie rolls for supper while watching the Springbok game.

Sunday started with another run. The polar opposite to Saturday’s run – the pace was fast, probably a little too fast for me, my legs were tired and after about 5 km the calves started to cramp up again – I struggled through 15km, but had tears along the way. I was soooo frustrated! I guess I will have to get some more dry needling done again! Aitog! Anyway, I dusted myself off and then prepared for Charlie’s lunch – a roast leg of lamb and all the trimmings – totally divine and indulgent! Followed by a cheese board and then a scrumptious apple and pear cake with a salted caramel drizzle. Yumyumyum!

And now it’s monday, and the diet must start again – just once I have had this slice of cake with my tea…

Party prep

..ok, so things have been insane the last few days – between party prep, birthdays and the judging interview.But I am still standing!

So, the interview for the BWA awards went well, I felt good and confident going in, and coming out. I was nervous, but realised that there is nothing I  couldn’t answer. I am my own boss, I have my own passions and ethics; and I think I carried that over well. I was happy with how things went. So we will see – Monday I hear if I am indeed a finalist, then we go from there.

On the party prep side, I think I am on track…

  • fudge and smudge √ (yum – my favorite fail proof recipe – realizes that the brand of condensed milk matters – having made 2 batches, the one took way longer to cook than the other – I will have to share recipe at another time, all of a sudden I can’t remember if it’s 125gm of butter or 250gm…) 
  • coconut ice √(ooh, bad photo – super easy too – 1 can condensed milk, 340gm icing sugar – mix together; 340gm desiccated coconut, add in. It’s tough to stir! Then divide mixture in half, add colour to one, and then press them into your pan, in layers.)
  • rice crispy treats √ 
  • sugar crystals √ (The recipe for this is super simple, but don’t be scared by the amount of sugar – I start with 2 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar in a big pot, and bring to a simmer, allowing the sugar to dissolve – keep adding a cup of sugar at a rtime until it doesn’t really dissolve anymore – it usually ends up between 8 and 10 cups (!!!). Take it off the heat and allow to cool a bit. Prepare your sticks – make your skewers wet, roll in sugar and then allow to dry; then it’s the tricky part. I use my champagne flutes, pour the sugar syrup in with whatever food colouring I’ve chosen; and then it’s a matter of suspending the sticks in the syrup. I generally use a clothes peg and then adjust the height of it to accommodate the glass. You don’t want the stick to touch the sides or bottom of the glass. Then watch them grow – I grew these for about 10 days, I think, maybe longer. I do move them around every day, so they don’t get stuck to the sides – these things happen. Thandi loves watching it all too! Good science demonstrations!)
  • biscuits √(with a food colouring pen I am going to draw in a little Think, and the sprinkles are coming out of her wand – I’ll take a finished product picture.)
  • cake √
  • dresses, bunting, table runner √

Still to do

  • icing of cake
  • cupcakes and icing
  • tinkerbell onto the biscuits in food colouring
  • filling of the little jars as favours
  • and on the day – sandwiches and fruit skewers.

I have a friend helping out with lemon meringue and brownies for the adults, and my husbuddy is organising the water for everyone to drink. Phew! Now just to pray for good weather.

 

 

 

 

41

…glory, how did this happen? Well, technically I know, but really, 41 years, I’m not ready to be that yet, I am still so busy doing stuff! I’m astounded that it has come to this!

My year in review has been interesting – far too much work, but somehow I can’t seem to change that at all; some running, probably not quite enough, but I have been plagued by the odd ache and pain; some incredible friends, and just not enough time with my wonderful little family. Somehow I think this is all pretty standard for a working person like me!

Anyway. today is looking to be a good one. The weather is glorious, I am at work for a few hours this morning. DrHF flies in at lunchtime, and it is young Charlotte’s birthday and party today (my twin – nice of me to deliver her on my birthday!), so we are off to that this afternoon/evening. My clever husband has spoilt me with a new Garmin running watch, one without that bloody chest strap that chafes me to death, yayayay! So even though I am on a strict no running instruction from my biokineticist and physio, I might have to head off for a little trot tomorrow. Watching the sunrise may just be what my soul needs! And a girl has to test her new gift!

Tomorrow brings the great party of 2016, Little Miss Sunshine is going to rock in at our house for the afternoon, and I know those giggling girls will all have so much fun. I just have one or 2 things to tweak – a few more layers to the pass the parcel; sticking the characters on the cake, doing 2 more party packs, cupcakes, fruit skewers and popcorn, hanging up all the decor and then we are ready to roll! Photos will follow – can’t wait to show you all!

Have glorious days, my beautiful blog peeps!

 

Party Planning

…so it’s that time of the year again, when I start to go to into OTT mom mode, and start to plan Thandi’s birthday party. And this year’s theme, a la Mr Men is Little Miss Sunshine! It’s such a fun one to do – I’m loving the bright colours and fun images! (bear in mind the party date is the 28th of May – expect lots of updates!)

I’m quite far ahead of the curve this year, invites and paper printables are done – gotta love Pinterest for the inspiration! Next step is my table dressings and then the games – I’ll do another Photo Booth effort, with holes for the children to stick their heads through; and we’ll do a feed Little Miss Greedy – where they must throw a beanbag through her mouth, and a pin the crown on Little Miss Princess! And then there will be all the usual games – pass the parcel and all that jazz! Should be fun!

Foodwise – already planning and thinking – I know what cake I want to make for her; and that I will have to co-opt TAFKAD into helping with – some biscuits, some fruit skewers (I found some really cute skewers with hearts on them!), some popcorn and a few other treats.

Party packs – I’m going to fill little mason jars with some yellow and white sweeties – now if M&M would just get back in touch with me, so I can get some yellow M&M’s! Fun all round!

 

 

Catching my breath

…was what I tried to do this weekend. I’m not sure it worked, but hey, onward and upward. Thanks for all the positive feedback on my last post, I’m hanging on with broken fingernails at the moment. I will see what the week brings and take things from there.

Friday night I spent preparing for Saturday’s Valentine’s Eve dinner. And we managed to have drinks with friends too. It was a good calm evening. Then Saturday began – there was shopping to finish off, there was a house to tidy and a table to set, and then food to cook! My tapas, I think were well selected, and seem to be enjoyed. I enjoyed the preparation of them, the only issue really is that it is such a ‘last minute’ prep, that I felt under prepared a bit harassed when everyone started arriving! Anyway… Our menu was

  • smoked paprika almonds
  • marinated artichokes
  • olives
  • patas bravas – brave potatoes – cooked and roasted with garlic and chilli – yum!
  • Tortilla Espanola – a traditional spanish style potato frittata
  • jamon croquettes – fried ham and potato dumplings
  • albindangos – meatballs in a saffron and almond sauce
  • chickpeas in vinigrette
  • mushrooms in chilli and garlic
  • prawns poached in beer
  • pan con tomate – kinda like spanish bruschetta
  • serrano ham wrapped plums
  • a spanish meat and manchego cheese platter

Dessert followed – caramel stuffed churros, unfilled churros with chocolate dipping sauce, figs baked with goats cheese and honey. Yum! I really do have some special friends; we were counting and this is the 6th year I have been hosting this dinner! This year they spoilt me with some stunning flowers – lisianthus in shades of purple, and a beautiful bracelet! Thanks my inner circle!

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Sunday was indeed the day, and we were lucky enough to get invited to go on a yacht trip out the harbour. It was a great trip, and we got to see some very playful dolphins surfing the waves and feeding in the harbour mouth. The girl child had such fun with her friends. The weather was great and the company special!

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The rest of Sunday was consumed by a birthday party for one of Thandi’s school friends – she had a blast! From a jumping castle, a sloppy slide, a swimming pool, a treasure hunt to an enormous piece of birthday cake – fun was had by all!

By last night I was almost comatose, and collapsed into a heap. I didn’t run this weekend, I was not feeling up to it – I know that my brain is my most powerful tool – both constructively and destructively, and this weekend, I felt pulled in a 1000 different directions, and running got sacrificed. I did run this morning. It felt tough.

 

 

What a weekend!

…pop up restaurant, garden revamp, family lunch… Throw in high temperatures and humidity over 90%. Wow, wow, wow!

First, that pop up – it was great, it was incredible, and I will never ever open a restaurant myself. I learnt that on Saturday night. I also confirmed that I have the most incredible husband and the best friends a girl could ask for! TJ and MB stepped up to the plate. On Friday night they came over – helped me get the prep underway – we made the gazpacho, started the prep work for the prawn ceviche and I prepared 2 of the 4 meringues for the dessert. Ok, we were on target. Saturday dawned with us getting ourselves going early. We finished the meringues, we roasted veg, we toasted baguette, we prepared the prawn ceviche, and then we were ready. It was show time – we headed off to the venue, which was stunning – outside in a beautiful garden setting – and then our final preparation began… Tables set, ice in buckets, lights turned on… and then the guests arrived! Game on! And it went well, gazpacho with pan con tomato to surprise the palate; ceviche de gamarones served with salted popcorn; watermelon and lime sorbet to cleanse the palate; Nelson’s fillet, served with Mesh’s roasted veg salad with lemon ricotta cream; Berry Meringue roulade; biscuits and coffee. Phew! By the end of the evening, the 4 kitchen aids were exhausted and melting – the kitchen was seriously HOT! Then we put our feet up, drank some wine, caught up with our guests and get ready for the big clean up, which wasn’t too awful, thankfully. And I managed to raise a very successful amount of cash on the night, with my wine auction (it was a magnum of 2011 Chocolate Block) I raised R8 910. And other donations are coming in slowly. Thanks to all my contributors and my friends – I couldn’t do any of this without you guys!

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Sunday dawned and I felt fairly hung over, but not from wine – I was just tired and physically trashed! And hungry – we forgot to eat on Saturday. But we headed back to the venue, had breakfast and completed the tidy up. Phew! Then I got my knickers in a knot, and I headed to the neighbouring nursery and we stocked up on vegetable seedling and some seeds, and then we headed home and started the transformation of our courtyard. I made Charlie work hard, but at the end of the day we were really chuffed with our achievements. Lettuce, tomatoes, basil, beetroot, cauliflower and broccoli, mustard greens, pumpkins and baby marrows, some corn. I am really looking forward to seeing how our garden grows! It was good to get dirt under my nails and mud streaks across my sun kissed cheeks. It was so special sharing these moments with Thandi. And the reward of listening to my new water feature trickling away last night was priceless!

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In the midst of our day yesterday we popped out for a lunch, I could not bring myself to cook or make any more dishes, so we went out to a beachfront spot with my parents, and we had a really nice lunch. Everybody was relaxed, Thandi was a bit tired and slightly cranky, but once she had some food she was quite happy! Good to make some memories!

To say I slept like a baby last night… understatement.

 

 

December rising

…shoowee, guys, it’s December! How did that just happen, I swear it was just Easter? Jingoes! And as always, December will be a busy one. I fear that this year I will be compromising ever so slightly on my handmade gift manifesto… But I have made some good progress on my shopping (and some making). The children I know are all covered, except for my own nieces and nephew, but their gifts are planned already. Thandi is almost covered (anyone know where I could find a cool school backpack, maybe even personalised?), Charlie not so much, but his gift is planned, and then there will be a bit of biscuit baking and jam and curd making to round out the experience for friends and more distant family.

Then there is the meal planning – Christmas eve I am determined to just have a quiet one, making some of our own little traditions, for the 3 of us. And then the day, I think this year I am doing a completely different take on things – a seafood extravaganza! If I can get some crays, yes please; a fish on the braai, some prawns and calamari, and then some dessert – I’m thinking a meringue roulade, and other delights! Yum!

3 weeks (and some change) to go!