5 Minute Makeover

Being funemployed has left me with some time on my hands. So I figured I would put it to good use.

A few weeks ago, I spotted these self adhesive tiles at the local MaxStock (similar to Crazy Store in SA). At ₪ 10 (R40) a sheet I couldn’t pass them up.

The little corner wall where my stove is, was getting really dirty from food splashes as I cook and I have wanted to create a back splash for ages.

So I cleaned the wall, let it dry and snapped this before pic.

It literally took me 5 minutes to open the packs of tiles, peel the backing off and then place them on the wall. I placed 2 across and 2 up and then cut 1 tile in half to add on to the tiles going across.

They were not as sticky as I would have liked and will probably peel off at some stage (I actually used a glue stick to make one side of a tile stick down) but for now I am pretty impressed with it.

And the best part is if I get bored or they do fall off, I can just pop out and get different tiles and replace them. Easy peasy!

Zombies! Argghhhh!

Running. Not something I have traditionally been very good at. I recall many tears over athletics in school. Mine and the coaches.

But a little while ago, Wendi mentioned a running app that sounded right up my alley. Zombies, Run! Its a fantastic running app that puts you smack bang in the middle of the Zombie apocalypse. You need to get to one of the last remaining outposts of survivors, and complete missions on the way. As you run, and complete missions, you follow a story by award winning author Naomi Alderman.

I went to download the app and noticed a 5km training version which fits in with one of my 6 before 40 goals of running another 5km. I downloaded the app and went for my first run. Then took 5 days to go for my next one. I was easing my way in, don’t judge!

So, since the 5km training app is a spin off, the first run is an introduction to the original story. Its also a free run, meaning no training, just a run/walk/crawl as you listen to the start of the story.

Today, I did the first actual training run. It took me about 35 minutes and I landed up doing 3km. I was so impressed with myself. It definitely did not feel like a 3km run. Listening to the story while doing the run/walk sprints made it fly by.

A few things that stand out about the app:

  • You can listen to your own music while using the app. Just start your music before opening the Zombies, Run! app. I used Spotify.
  • The app and the story are British, so there are some phrases and words that may be a bit confusing but as an ex Saffa, I followed along just fine.
  • Once you start the app, lock your screen. I didnt and as I was running it paused the app and I was waiting and waiting for my next instruction that never came. Probably added on at least another 5 minutes of running when I should have been doing intervals.
  • The story is NOT scary. Yes, there are zombies, but besides a bit of groaning and moaning and being told to run cause they are near you, its really not scary at all.

I have a rest day today and then on to my second training session the next day. I cant wait!

Time for a new adventure

Some of you may already be aware but for those that are not and as a recap, the company that I have worked for since making aliyah, recently downsized quite drastically and most of the staff, including myself, were retrenched.

I worked out the months notice that they gave us and as of today I am officially unemployed.

And that’s OK.

I started applying for new jobs straight after finding out, and I have had a number of telephone interviews, assignments and in-person interviews so far. I am confident that I will have a new, super awesome job soon.

In the meantime, I am taking the next few weeks for myself.

I have a few projects I want to work on, including my pallet herb garden, creating a back (side) splash next to my stove, creating throw pillows out of old superhero t-shirts among other things.

Also, Paul and Aaron are heading off to Oz in a week or so for our nieces Bat Mitzvah, so Faith and I are are having 10 days of girl time. I will be home to fetch her from school every day and we will be able to go swimming or to the movies or just hang out.

I also intend running more and taking my yoga mat out to the park across the road. I’m also excited to have time to read more.

For now I am at home, taking some me time and getting ready for a brand new adventure!

Running and shoes

Not running shoes, although I probably need a new pair soon.

No, I am referring to my 6 before 40 post of a few months ago.

So far I have started running, not a lot but some and I’m intending to run more, when the temperature cools down a little. It was 31C at 8am this morning!

I also bought myself that pair of heals.

I ordered them from Next and they were delivered within 4 days. And they fit. And they are so comfortable and pretty.

Yay me. 2 down and 4 to go.

Next up will be my pallet herb garden.

A tale of two photographs

Tuesday was election day here in Israel. That means we got the day off. No school, no work, so once Paul and I had voted, we gathered the kids, hopped on a train and went into Tel Aviv to visit the Eretz Israel Museum.

We wandered around looking at the various exhibits and then we came across the David Rubinger, I Captured the Truth, 1947-1997 exhibit. Being a photography nerd, Paul was fascinated and spent a bit more time in the exhibit than the kids or I. So we headed outside and sat on a bench outside.

Once Paul was done, he headed out of the exhibit and stopped to take a photo of us sitting together.

An image of mom and kids sitting on a bench in front of a plain boring wall

As he took the photo, the usher for the exhibit came rushing out, ‘No no no, you cannot take a picture there!’ She exclaimed (in Hebrew). Paul started looking for a no picture sign. ‘No’, she said again. ‘You cannot take a picture here, that wall, that wall is old and ugly!’

She then pointed across the courtyard, ‘That is where you must take a picture!’ She was pointing at a shady spot with a colourful flower bed.

‘Here. Here is a pretty wall covered in Jerusalem stone, and look at these beautiful flowers. This is where you must take a photo!’

And then she proceeded to direct us to sit in front of the pretty wall and pretty flowers.

‘No!’ She cried again. ‘Abba (dad), must be in the photo too!’ While taking Paul’s camera out his hands and directing him to sit with us.

She even laid her uniform jacket on the bricks for the children to sit on while shuffling us around to best show off the pretty blooms.

After a few misfires with the camera, and Aaron popping up to show her what to press, she snapped a beautiful family photo of us, and the pretty Jerusalem stone wall and the pretty flowers.

Image of dad, mom and kids sitting on the ground in front of a wall of Jerusalem stone and a bed of colourful flowers.

We thanked her and she told us that she had planted those flowers and was very proud of them. We also had a conversation about where we came from, ‘Oh, you are not tourists, why did you make aliyah?’ She told us that she is also an immigrant, from Uzbekistan, and that she came to Israel many years ago. She then took our map and showed us the best exhibits for the children to enjoy and wished us well before going back to the exhibit.

We had a wonderful day, voting, exploring the history of our country and generally relaxing, but the best part of the day for me, was a photo in front of some gorgeous flowers!

I drove a car!

Legally, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and in the rain.

Its only taken me 4 years and 3 months to convert to an Israeli drivers license but its finally done.

When we first arrived in Israel, the law was that we could drive for 1 year on our SA license and in total we had up to 3 years to convert to an Israeli license. The catch? We needed to do a minimum of 2 driving lessons and a test in order to convert.

Due to pure laziness, lack of spare funds for lessons and a fear of doing the test, I kept putting it off. Then, just before the 3 years were up, I pulled out my SA license only to see it had expired. And in order to actually do the conversion, besides all of the above, your SA license needs to be valid. Oops…

Oh, and did I mention, if you dont convert your license within the required time period, you have to do a theory test, take a minimum of 28 lessons and do the final test.

Yeah, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to drive in Israel.

Then, the law changed, now, you have 5 years to convert your license, you dont need to do lessons or a test and the only requirements are a valid SA license and proof that you have been driving for more than 5 years before making aliyah.

And the, in January, I went back to SA to visit my grandfather who had a bad fall. And while I was there, my mommy organised for me to renew my SA drivers license.

She organised for it to be collected and then a friend of my brothers brought it to Israel for me last week and bam! I had a valid license, proof I had been driving for 5 years prior to coming to Israel and I still had 9 months before the 5 year grace period was over.

And as of yesterday I am officially licensed to drive in Israel.

As for driving a car… a colleague insisted that I take her car for a spin around the parking lot this morning. After 4 years of not driving, it was so much fun. Despite the rain and the fact that we drive on the right over here, I think I managed pretty well.

Now to rent a car and start properly exploring this awesome country.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

I was looking for something new to throw over chicken breasts and somehow I came across a teriyaki chicken with home made sauce. Now I cannot for the life of me find that recipe, so in the interest of not forgetting, I am writing it down (from memory so it may not be perfect).

Gratuitous picture of my dog, because I never got a picture of the sauce…
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar I used coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp corn or potato flour mixed with a bit of cold water to make a watery paste
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients except corn/potato flour paste. Bring to the boil.

  2. Lower heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce begins to reduce.

  3. If you want a thick sauce, now is the time to add the corn/potato flour. Mix well so no lumps for. 

    If you want a thin sauce, leave out this step.

Recipe Notes

Serve as a dipping sauce or pour over chicken breasts, cover and bake.

6 before 40

Yes, I know it’s usually 40 before 40. But I know me, that will never happen, even if its 40 small things.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t freaked out. I am. Totally. Freaked. Out.

I don’t know why. I still feel like I’m in my 20’s. My skin thinks it’s in my teens. My body is definitely closer to 40 than I would like it to be. But all in all, I don’t *feel* like I’m almost 40.

So in pre-celebration, I think I will attempt a 6 before 40, 1 a month for the next 6 months. In no particular order…

  • Get out and run. At least 2 or 3 times a week for 20 minutes or so. With the aim of running another 5km race at some point in the next 6 months.
  • Get a new ear piercing, either an Upper Lobe, Helix or a Tragus, or maybe a combo.
  • Get a massage. A full body, hour and a half, including reflexology, massage. I haven’t had one of those in years and I miss it.
  • Buy a pair of high heels. I’ve not worn, nor owned a pair of heels in at least 6 years. I want a pair of really pretty, delicate, fancy heels.
  • Spend a night at a hotel on my own. Just me, room service and my Kindle.
  • Start my pallet herb garden on my balcony, those pallets have been sitting there for almost 2 years, its time!

So, those are my goals. Maybe not anything too exciting, but nothing that is out of my reach either.

Recipes for my husband

My grandfather is not well and it was time for a short trip back to SA to see him and help my mom.

So I’ve left my husband and kids to fend for themselves until Sunday.

As we were planning the trip, Paul suddenly turned around and asked where I get the recipes I use to make dinners etc. I looked at him and pointed at my head.

So, in the interest of keeping them fed and to stop them from eating sausages and corn schnitzel for a week, I thought I would write down some of the daily recipes I use.

Honey Mustard Chicken Breasts
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180C

  2. In a small bowl, mix mustard, honey, salt, pepper and oil

  3. Place breasts in a dish or foil roaster and cover with the honey mustard mix

  4. Cover dish with foil and place in oven to bake for 30 minutes

  5. At 30 minutes, uncover the chicken and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes or more until done.

Recipe Notes

Serve with rice or couscous.

Chicken Schnitzel
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 kg chicken schnitzel
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • spices
Instructions
  1. Take out two plates and a large flat bowl

  2. On the first plate, our out some flour, on the second plate pour out some breadcrumbs, mix the spices into the breadcrumbs

  3. In the bowl, crack both eggs, add some water and mix well

  4. In a pan, heat some olive oil

  5. Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the flour so that both sides are covered

  6. Dip the floured chicken in the egg mixture so both sides are coated

  7. Now dip the egged chicken in the breadcrumbs so both sides are coated

  8. Place the chicken in the hot oil and coat the next piece of chicken

  9. After about 5 minutes turn the first pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for a further 5 minutes, you should fit 2 or 3 pieces in each pan depending on the size of the pieces

  10. Remove chicken from oil and place in the oven (on 100C) to keep warm

  11. Add a bit more oil to the pan and carry on frying until no chicken is left

  12. Mix any leftover breadcrumbs, flour and egg into a paste and make small patties that you can fry for a few minutes at a time (the kids love these)

Recipe Notes

You can also bake the schnitzel in the oven if you dont want to fry it. 

Heat the oven to 180C.

Place each piece of breaded chicken onto a baking tray (covered with a baking sheet),  1kg of chicken will take up both baking trays.

Spray the chicken with olive oil spray.

Place the chicken in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

How cool is the schnitzel Paul made?!!!
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
Prep Time
10 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breasts Defrosted!
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • pinch salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place onion, garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, salt and pepper in the slow cooker and mix well

  2. Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker and toss to coat with the sauce

  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and set on low

  4. After about 3 hours, turn the chicken pieces over and continue cooking for another 3 hours

  5. After about 6 hours (total), turn off the slow cooker and with 2 forks, shred the chicken and mix with the sauce

Recipe Notes

Serve on rolls or over rice

Homemade Pizza
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
Instructions
  1. Place yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of the mixer

  2. Once the yeast has started to foam (about 5 minutes), add all the other ingredients and mix on high until the dough forms a ball

  3. The dough should be firm and not sticky, if its too sticky, add some flour, if its too dry, add a bit of water

  4. Once the dough is ready, cover the bowl with plastic and a cloth and let sit for an hour

  5. Roll out balls of dough, cover in tomato sauce, cheese and toppings and bake for 20 minutes at 180C

Hopefully they don’t starve or turn into sausages. And I will be back before they k ow it.

4 years

Another year has flown by. We’ve had our ups and downs. Mostly ups though.

Paul started a new job, we adopted a rescue dog, the kids are thriving.

My Hebrew still sucks and we still don’t have a drivers license between us, but my resolutions for the new year are to sort those two things out.

Every year here seems to be better than the last, so here is to a fantastic upcoming year!