Wooooosh!

That’s the sound of another year flying past us.

On 1st September Aaron and Faith started their new school year.

Aaron is now in Grade 4 and Faith is in Grade 2.

For Faith this means she is now part of the main school, she gets to play where ever the rest of the school plays. The Grade 1’s were restricted to their own playground that they shared with the Grade 0’s, so this is a big step for her.

It also means there is no more sandpit for her to play in which means no more sandpit coming home in her shoes and pockets. Yay for me!

She is also going to aftercare every day, where they will hopefully help her with homework since I am useless with most of it.

So far she is loving being in ‘big’ school.

Aaron, on the other hand, no longer has aftercare. He is now in Grade 4 so both the school aftercare and the private aftercare say he is big enough to look after himself in the afternoons. 

::puts head between knees, takes deep breaths::

My baby is almost 10 and is now coming home from school all on his own. Making himself something to eat. All on his own. Doing his homework. All on his own. Looking after himself until one of us gets home. All. On. His. OWN!

But I think this child will be just fine. No, I know he will. He is a smart, independent, compassionate boy.

Here’s just one of the reasons I think this child is awesome!

Yesterday when he went home, the downstairs neighbours dog was outside. He called me to ask what he should do. I told him to knock on the door and if no one answered to try open their garden gate or try pick her up and put her over the fence.

They were not home, he couldn’t open the gate and she was too heavy (and growly) for him to lift, so I told him to leave her, I was sure her humans would be home soon and its not the first time she has been out, she never strays far and waits near the door for them anyway.

He wouldn’t hear of it. Told me it was too hot and she couldn’t stay by herself. So he coaxed her into our place, gave her a bowl of water and she then proceeded to climb on my couch and lick and bite herself for an hour, leaving a big wet slobber patch and half her hair all over my couch.

But my sweet, kind hearted boy refused to leave her vulnerable. He makes my mama heart so proud.

Here’s to a new school year. May it be as awesome as my children are!

Holiday

The summer one. The one that lasts almost 9 weeks. The one we have to find camps and childcare and things to keep the (not so) ankle biters out of trouble. For almost 9 weeks!

For the first 3 weeks the kids were at day camp at their school for the first half of the day and then at an aftercare for the second half of the day.

Then for 2 weeks they were at camp dad. Thankfully Paul was able to be with them and they went to Tel Aviv and to Haifa and visited museums and the Baha’i Gardens and went swimming and generally had a good time.

Then for 3 weeks they went to a half day camp for immigrant children arranged by the absorption department and they had an amazing time. The afternoons were spent with dad. 

And where was mom during all of this? Working. Because its 9 (!) weeks of holidays and I just couldn’t take time off (especially since I started a new position).

But I have this week off and the kids and I have some plans. Swimming, ten pin bowling, ice creams and the zoo just to name a few.

And then, on Friday, they go back to school (don’t ask, its 1st September and they go back to school on the 1st, never mind its Friday and only half a day and would make more sense to go back the next week).

Aaron will be in 4th Grade and Faith in 2nd Grade. I cant get over how big these kids are getting.

So that’s a catch up of the last 2 months and a preview of whats to come. Hopefully things will be more settled and I can blog more. 

A taste of childhood

The other day, while hunting for a tin of coconut milk, I came across condensed milk. It can be tricky to find here so I grabbed one and then stuck it in the grocery cupboard and promptly forgot all about it.

Then last weekend while looking for something yummy to snack on, I pulled out the tin. I also spied a bag of desiccated coconut and an idea struck.

Coconut ice!

I remember the white and pink sugar overload from my childhood quite fondly and decided to whip up a batch and introduce it to my children. Faith was dutifully impressed, Aaron took one sniff and said no way!

Its really, really easy to make and took no time at all. The hardest part was the mixing, its really good for toning your arms!

Traditional Coconut Ice
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Super sweet, super sticky, coconut treats.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 400 g desiccated coconut
  • 3 drops red food colouring you can use any colour you like and even add flavouring if you want
Instructions
  1. Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl.

  2. Add the icing sugar and the coconut and mix together. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all the condensed milk.

  3. Keep mixing. The mixture will be very stiff. Keep going.

  4. Line a square or rectangular, deep sided dish with baking paper.

  5. Scoop out half the mixture and using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the dish. It doesnt have to be perfect but the more uniform the thickness is, the better it will look when you cut it into squares.

  6. Add your colouring (and/or flavouring) to the remaining mixture and mix well until the entire mixture is coloured to your liking.

  7. Scoop out the coloured mixture and using your hands or the back of a spoon, spread it over the first layer in the dish and press it down.

  8. Once everything is smoothed out to your satisfaction, place the dish, covered, in the fridge for a few hours.

  9. Once cold and set, remove the coconut ice from the dish, peel off the baking paper and slice into small squares with a sharp knife.

  10. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

You can add a bit of cocoa powder to the 2nd half of the mixture instead of food colouring to make a vanilla chocolate ice.

 

Some (old?) news.

We have been in Israel for just under 3 years now. I know, 3 years!!

And if you recall I was lucky enough to find a job within our 1st month here.

I have been happily employed in that job for just over 2 and a half years. 

מסיבת יום הולדת של אוריה ואיתי

A few weeks ago, the #BestBossEver called me into her office and told me that they were looking to fill a position in another department and between her and that departments head, they had discussed it and wanted to know if I would like to take the position.

I didn’t even hesitate. I said yes.

Since then its been a bit of a whirlwind.

I’ve trained my replacement, trained and done a handover on my new position and started working my new position full time.

This has been a huge learning curve for me. It has been a very long time since I worked directly with clients and its taken some getting used to. But I feel like I’m getting the hang of things.

I’m lucky to work with a fantastic team of people and the fact that I’ve only moved to a new department and have know the team for years already has been a huge help.

I’m still nervous about all the things I don’t know but excited about everything I get to learn too.  Like how to dial into a conference call (I know right? So adult!).

So, that’s where I am. It’s sure to be a wild ride but I’m looking forward to it.

*Photo by Paul

Tales of Freya – A Book Review

So this review is a little different. Its not about a single book but the first two books in a series of short, sensual stories, the Tales of Freya.

 From Sarah Dahl’s website:

The Tales of Freya are steamy, sometimes brutal, but always passionate Viking adventures that will leave you wanting more sexy Vikingness!

And they really are! I want more. Now. Are you listening Sarah?

So, here are my reviews of The Current and The Awakening.

Title: The Current: A Battle of Seduction
Author: Sarah Dahl
Series: Tales of Freya
Genre: Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Historical Romance,  Norse & Icelandic
Stars: *****
Goodreads
Amazon 

Marked from the latest battle, Aldaith wants to recover by a stream. But instead of finding solitude, he stumbles on the fearless shield maiden Nyssa. The fierce beauty invites Aldaith into the water to engage in a very different kind of battle — one for which his training leaves him unprepared.

My Review

What happens after the battle?

This short tale is a glimpse into a rarely told part of the story.

I adore the confident and impish Nyssa. And just want to wrap myself around Aldaith.

My only complaint? I want more of their story!

Title: The Awakening: Embrace Beyond Passion
Author: Sarah Dahl
Series: Tales of Freya
Genre: Historical Fiction, Short Stories, Historical Romance,  Norse & Icelandic
Stars: *****
Goodreads
Amazon

Ingrid leads a quiet, joyless life with a husband who is oblivious to her needs. Every time the dragon boats carry him away, she resigns herself to the solitude of her modest hilltop farm by the fjord. But her uneventful world is shaken to the core when the shadows of her house reveal a secret that sets her passions afire.

My Review

 Smoldering is the only way to describe this short story. 

The slow burn of Ingrid’s awakening left me breathless. 

My sigh when the smoldering burn finally ignited could probably be heard miles away. 

Do yourselves a favour and put all The Tales of Freya on your wishlist. You won’t be disappoint. 

 

*I reviewed these books for #TBConFB 

Winning Ace – A Book Review

Title: Winning Ace
Author: Tracie Delaney
Series: Winning Ace Series
Genre: Sports Romance, Contemporary Fiction
Stars: *****
Goodreads
Amazon

What does journalist Tally McKenzie want more—the story or the man?

When the opportunity arises for Tally to meet tennis ace Cash Gallagher, she grabs it with both hands. Desperate to advance her career, she hides her true identity from the celebrity.

After the normally private Cash divulges personal information, Tally seizes her chance and writes an inflammatory article. Incensed, Cash confronts her, but the darling of centre court gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself passionately drawn to the woman he should detest.

Yet Cash is a man with secrets that could destroy his career. Dare he take the risk of intimacy with Tally, or is the cost too great, even for his perfect match?

My Review

Wow!

I was hooked from the very first page.

The writing is slick, the action is fast and the chemistry between Tally and Cash is smoking hot.

This is the first book in a three book series and the cliffhanger at the end was whopper (I may or may not have cursed the author for leaving me hanging like that). 

I cant wait to get my hands on the next book to see what happens.

*I reviewed this book for #TBConFB 

Flux – A Book Review

Title: Flux
Author: Marissa Farrar
Series: The Flux Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Stars: *****
Goodreads
Amazon

I was just like any other twenty-two-year-old until a horrific tragedy changes everything.

When I wake up in hospital with barely a scratch, strange things start happening. At first I believe I’m being haunted by my lost loved one, until a leather-jacketed man called Hunter confronts me. Turns out the paranormal events are coming from within me, and the terrible incident has released an ability I have no control over.

And I’m not the only one.

Hunter takes me deep beneath my home city of San Francisco to become part of a secret group of people known as The Kin. Each member of The Kin has a special talent—the ability to control things with our minds. But others are onto us—men who desire to use us for their own gains.

Can I protect the people I have left, or will my powers be my downfall?

My Review

I am in awe. No, seriously. This book is awe inspiring.

I spent a fair amount of time thinking of who I would cast as each character when this becomes a major motion picture.

The story gripped me from the very first page and didn’t let go. The action is real and you feel as if you are right there in the thick of things.

The characters are completely relatable. Especially Ari, I felt like we could be best friends. I adore Hunter and may have a small soft spot for Kit too.

I loved the twists and turns, who to trust, the hows, they whys, the sizzling chemistry between Ari and Hunter.

I cannot wait to dive back into this world when book number 2 is released.

You can follow Marissa on Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to bookmark her website for updates on all her books.

*I reviewed this book for #TBConFB 

Yes, another recipe.

A while back I bought sour cream and since it was on special I bought 5 pots. Then I only used one. 

Since the sour cream was about to reach its expiry date (can sour cream really expire? Does it just get more sour?) I asked around for recipes to use up the last 4 pots.

I used one pot to make a creamy nutmeg pasta sauce the other night and then last night I used another pot to make these quick and really delicious scones.

Scones my wife made

 

Sour Cream Scones
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope baking powder (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 200 ml sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons water approx/as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.

  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.

  3. Add the sour cream and start mixing it in.

  4. The mixture will start to look like bread crumbs.

  5. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to come together.

  6. Use your hands to kneed the dough into a ball. The dough will be quite sticky.

  7. Coating your hands in flour, take small handfuls of the dough and form balls.

  8. Place on a baking tray and flatten slightly.

  9. Bake at 200C for about 15 minutes.

  10. Allow to cool slightly before breaking them open and slathering butter, jam and cream over them.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from AllRecipes here.

Healthy homemade burgers

The last two days I have been home sick with Aaron. He’s ok, just another bout of viral-thing-itus. But, being home meant plenty of time to cook.

Over two days, we made homemade pizza, homemade chicken burgers and we made another batch of pasta sauce.

Here is the recipe for the chicken burgers. They were so good we ate all (8!) of them in one sitting!

Breaded Chicken Burgers
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Quick and easy to make breaded chicken burgers
Course: Main Course
Servings: 8
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 500 g chicken mince
  • Half onion minced or grated
  • A few cloves of garlic minced
  • Half cup breadcrumbs/panko
  • Salt, pepper, sweet chili flakes to taste
  • 1 egg
  • More breadcrumbs/panko for covering the patties
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Take handfuls of the mixture and shape into balls then flatten to desired thickness (my kids did this part and had a blast).
  3. Set the patties aside and heat some oil in medium heat pan.
  4. Dip each side of the pattie into the crumbs before placing in the hot oil.
  5. Fry for 5-10 min each side (depends on thickness of patties).

Dream a little dream. Again. And again.

I have a recurring dream. Well, a theme really. The dream differs every time.

The Persistence of Memory

Sometimes its the first day of school or varsity. Sometimes I’ve transferred mid semester.

Sometimes I am all alone when I get there and others there are tons of people, all of them know each other and know where they are going.

The theme though, is that I am late and I don’t know where to go. Why? Because I cant find my class schedule and I haven’t memorised it. 

The dream usually entails me wondering around, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be and knowing that no matter when I get there I am going to be late, the class almost or actually over.

Sometimes I get to the class and sometimes I wake up before I get there but I always wake up an anxious bundle of nerves.

Meh! So many issues I can pick out of these dreams. 

Who else has recurring dreams?