rise up against a ruthless enemy

daffodils

daffodils

My mum had breast cancer.

My dad had prostrate cancer.

My father-in-law had stomach cancer.

My boss had malignant tumour.

A friend’s daughter had one behind her eye.

All of them faced a battle, fought bravely, but sadly, only some of them won the war.

Cancer is a ruthless, unforgiving and indisciminate enemy.

Today I went along to my mum’s cancer support groups monthly get-together that included their event for The Biggest Morning Tea.

I was drawn in by the promise of triangle cut sandwiches and sausage rolls.

However, I was privileged to hear the story a Cancer Council volunteer, who had lost her 24-year-old son to leukemia but was now a passionate advocate for the council’s work.

In that brief time I learnt:

  • This month the Cancer Council marks the 20th anniversary of Biggest Morning Tea fund-raiser.

  • In that time more than 61,000 lives have been saved from this insidious disease, that’s eight lives a day.

  • Sadly though, in the future, one in two will be diagnosed with cancer.That means between you and me, one us will have a battle on our hands.

Scary stuff.

My mum and dad won the war. I’ve had to say a final goodbye to the others.

There is nary a day goes past that I, probably you, don’t hear the story of someone you know that has entered the trenches to battle cancer, whether it be them or a loved one.

This is why I urge you to make a difference, no matter how small.

Attend an event, organise one yourself, pop a few coins in a bright yellow donation box.

Or when you take your coffee break today just hop over to the website and the hit donate button.

And raise a cup to a cure for cancer.

April photo a day ~ better late than never

photo

April photo a day

1. Day 1 // play, 2. Day 2 // blue, 3. Day 3 // something beginning with A, 4. Day 4 // this happened today, 5. Day 5 // something good, 6. Day 6 // air, 7. Day 7 // dreamy, 8. Day 8 // on your plate, 9. Day 9 // tiny, 10. Day 10 // a place, 11. Day 11 // detail, 12. Day 12 // in the middle, 13. Day 13 // view from your bed, 14. Day 14 // water, 15. Day 15 // alone, 16. Day 16 // your favourite colour, 17. Day 17 // busy, 18. Day 18 // hello, 19. Day 19 // button, 20. Day 20 // on your mind, 21. Day 21 // fire, 22. Day 22 // blurry, 23. Day 23 // time, 24. Day 24 // I saw this person today, 25. Day 25 // life is …, 26. Day 26 // childhood, 27. Day 27 // earth, 28. Day 28 // my Sunday, 29. Day 29 // I wore this, 30. Day 30 // glasses

I really dropped the ball on the photo a day challenge these past two months but after completing the first quarter, I was determined to keep it up.

So with some photo taking bursts here and some pinching from the archives there, I’ve managed to complete April.

When I get behind I don’t bother sending to Instagram, instead just uploading straight to flickr.

And such is the case with May, except I’m doing the up-to-date prompts on Instagram and catching up via flickr.

Fat Mum Slim’s April photo a day challenge

you say you want a revolution

mealplanning

mealplanning

Today is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. I’ve obviously been living under a rock because I didn’t find out about this event until earlier this week.

Food Revolution Day on 17 May is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources.

But timing is a funny thing.

Last week, with no forethought or planning, we had a Jamie Oliver food revolution of own.

On holidays and home for the nightly family dinner, I inadvertently cooked a Jamie Oliver recipe from Monday to Thursday [Friday doesn't count as it was the smallest's birthday party].

We’ve always been the cooking types. I love a new recipe challenge and enjoy cooking for others while the husband likes to fly by the seat of his pants and make it up as he goes along, with tasty results. And even the kids get involved ~ they make a mean steamed dumpling thanks the tutelage of Donna Hay. And we’ve been making our own bread for a few weeks now.

What I don’t enjoy is the monotony of the everyday dinner? So much so I went on strike the other week because I could not think of a single thing to cook to please the masses.

And that’s why I really enjoyed my own revolution last week with Jamie. I broke all the rules and went shopping every day but hey, I was on holidays, I had time and it worked.

Our menu for the week kicked off with satay chicken skewers and fiery noodle salad [pictured]  from the 30-minute book, followed by meatballs and basic tomato sauce from The Naked Chef, Wednesday was Happy Cow burgers [my boys love these, and not just because of the name] and Thursday we tried the lamb kofte, pitta and greek salad [pictured].

The meatballs and burgers we had had before but the other two were new. All were greeted with enthusiasm and chowed down. The community eating aspect of Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute and 30-minute meals really appeals to the smalls and certainly makes things smoother when introducing something new.

But all good things must come to an end and now it is back to work. And the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” returns this week. It’s time to get organised.

So I have a plan. A meal plan to be precise.

This week I wrote a long list of favourite family meals, that at least 75 per cent of the family like [there's four of us] and the other 25 per cent will tolerate. It’s the master meal list.

I’m putting it into Google Drive so I can access it anywhere for inspiration or to add to it. I will also have a meals to try section so we can find some new favourites.

Then it’s just a matter of looking at the list, deciding on meals for the week and writing a shopping list. And if I’m really organised I can do this all from the comfort of my home and get the groceries delivered at the start of the week.

Sounds like a plan, right!

So naturally I turned to my trusty computer and made up a sheet to plan out the week, and the groceries. If it works well I will probably laminate it and use it like a whiteboard, save printing it out all the time.

And naturally I have shared it with you. You can download it here.

Ready for a revolution.

I don’t want much, but not a high-pressure washer either

mothersday

mothersday

The email popped into my inbox the other day, the subject line screaming “50% off gifts your mother will love”.

Ooh, I thought, I might pick up a bargain here. My favourite perfume on special, perhaps.

Except, no.

This well-known, well-marketed company was offering high-pressure washers among top picks for Mother’s Day.

Now I get that, sometimes, a mum will forsake luxuries for the greater good and get something practical and that fulfils a need at home.

It reminds me of the story of a colleague, with grown boys, the wife of a successful businessman, who for Christmas one year was given an urn, as in the hot water variety.

She unwrapped it in the middle of the lounge room floor, surrounded by the colourful detritus of festive paper.

And that’s where she left. For several days.

Practical, yes. Personal, no.

He was in hot water, so to speak.

But I digress.

A recent survey of 3000 Australian mums found for 75 per cent of them, Mother’s Day would be business as usual, about half would not get breakfast in bed and a third said while they looked forward to Mother’s Day, they often ended up feeling disappointed.

And they didn’t want much. Faced with financial pressures, nearly 20 per cent just wanted a little “me-time”.

Who can blame them? Every mum wants a moment where they can put all the balls down on the ground, just for a while. A break from the endless piles of laundry, the dirty dishes, the rotting salad leaves mocking her from the bottom of the crisper.

I’m happy to say, and lucky, that I’m not one of those 30 per cent left disappointed. The Mr cooks a mean breakfast, not just mother’s day but most weekends, and as I type, the boys are drawing and colouring Mother’s day cards and pictures, and making plans to buy something special, at the school stall, all the while reminding dad they “need to go shopping”.

And I’m not really a fan of breakfast in bed anyway.

In the past week I’ve made sure to tell the responsible one, the eldest son, a few simple things I would like for Mother’s Day – a new shower cap, an iPhone case, a pretty scarf. Small things, I might not necessarily buy myself, but requires a little thought and time on their part.

But I would also be happy if  someone to cooked me dinner, cleaned out the fridge, or some other job around the house that has been languishing on the to do list. These are all things that would make me, maybe even you, feel special, too.

For my little ones, it’s about giving them the chance to give, the joy of doing something for someone else, about showing appreciation.

It is about mums.

So what are you hoping for this Mother’s Day?

* The survey was real and came by chance across my desk and was done by Fantastic Furniture, which thinks mum deserves to sit down and put her feet up, most likely on a new couch.

 

all the leaves … a musical tribute

autumnplaylist

autumnplaylist

With the smalls returning to school this week, I’ve really noticed the quiet.

While initially revelling in the serenity, it started to get to me so wherever I was, I put on some music.

I jump between my own music library and  that of Spotify and so today I thought I would share a little musical ode to my favourite season, autumn.

There’s nothing like some smooth tunes, cosy socks, a roaring fire and good food, and wine if you are so inclined.

Listen here: