Monday, January 3, 2011

What I Did 365 - Day 48

This here is the face of the sneakiest man in town!! Yesterday (Monday) happened to be our second wedding anniversary, and also his 25th birthday. At 7.30am, Chris 'left for work', in his uniform and everything. An hour later, I left for work... and Chris sneakily came home. It turns out he took the day off to clean the house! At 1pm he completely took me by surprise by showing up at my work with a bunch of flowers and lunch for the two of us!! Nawwwww. It was such a lovely day. After work, we headed into Subiaco for drinks at the Subiaco Hotel (peach bellini for me! Yum!) and dinner at Hippo Creek. Oh, wow. We were Hippo Creek first-timers and had the Assaghai - basically big chunks of beef hanging on a skewer over a bowl of fries, with a little plate of garlic butter dripping all over everything from above. Soooo good. I felt a little man-ish getting so psyched over meat, but there you go. Good food, good day. Can it be our anniversary more often??

What I Did 365 - Day 47

What a sight for a new gardener!! I barely spent any time at home on Sunday, seeing as I was Christmas crafting with the family again - but I did duck home for an hour before singing at Mounties' Carols in the Park. When I stepped outside to see how my garden was doing, I was greeted with the ultimate reward - ripe, red roma tomatoes! This is my very first little ripe batch and I'm soooo excited!!! Singing at Carols was also really great, but sadly no photos were taken by me, seeing as I was up on stage!

What I Did 365 - Day 46

Have I mentioned that I adore Christmas? Tehehe. My weekend was set aside for Christmas crafts and movies at my family's house, like when we were kids. I even slept over on the couch! I had so much fun, and on Saturday I finally made the gingerbread man and his sugary friend from the Falalala Felt book - I've had my eye on them ever since that book arrived in my home! It was fun to just sit back and craft, and watch silly Christmassy movies with my amazing family :)

What I Did 365 - Day 45

Friday night was a much-anticipated me-night! Chris went to flip some burgers at Jump camp for a few hours, so I had a night of taco salad left overs and early-season Gilmore Girls. I used to find it really difficult to do anything without Chris being at home for some reason - I could never inspire myself to find something fun and I'd just sit there procrastinating and counting down the hours till he got home. But these days, while I loooove spending time with him, I also really look forward to these chill nights where I can eat good comfort food and spend my time doing something girly! Me-time is valuable! After Chris got home, we tried these chocolate & vanilla cheesecakes by Gu. Ohmygoodness. Thank you for coming to Australia, Gu. We are in love. As if the dessert wasn't luxurious enough, it comes in the sweetest little glass jar. My new theory is that dessert is best eaten out of a little glass jar. Fun!

What I Did 365 - Day 44

On Thursday my little baby Cupcake turned 2 years old! Unbelievable. It's hard to imagine that when we brought him home as a teeny tiny little 8-week-old, I had a genuine fear that he would be trodden on and squished! I've always said that I wished I could have a dog that remained a puppy forever, and well... that's Cupcake in a nutshell. He's small, he's over-the-top playful, he cries when he's not with us, he falls asleep draped all over us... He can be super annoying, but I love this little guy to bits. I love the way he plays, I love his genuine adoration of our cat Ebony, I love watching him 'playing with his imaginary friend' on the couch, I love that he adores having his arm pits scratched, and I love that he jumps up onto my lap when I invite him up there. Happy birthday little pumpkin face!

What I Did 365 - Day 43

Meet Chester!! Chester is our Christmas tree, and though I *admittedly* had him fully assembled and decorated a couple of weeks ago, I decided to save the occasion of turning on the lights until December. So worth it. Last night (December 1) Chris and I got home from longer than usual days at work. I cooked the easiest meal I could think of - baked chicken in bread rolls - and we spent a night on the couch, watching Despicable Me. (Adorable movie by the way! Loved it!). After the movie, I switched off all the lights in the living room and entry way, and flicked on Chester's pretty lights, and we lay there on the couch, just watching the lights blinking and snuggling with the dogs. It was pretty magical. If you know me at all, you understand that Christmas is my very favourite time of year, ever. EVER. To illustrate, I'm here to admit that I'm disappointed that it's already December because now, in less than a month, Christmas is going to be over...!

What I Did 365 - Day 42

Every day we're getting closer and closer to the very best time of the year! Yay Christmas!! On Tuesday night I finally let my sisters, and also Crazy Hayley (who I used to work with at Mounties) convince me to sign up for the Mounties Christmas Carols Choir. Every year they put on the huuuugest Carols in the Park, and I've been part of it a few times. Tuesday night was the final rehearsal. It was so nice to sit within this huge choir, surrounded by people that I used to serve on the music ministry team with! Of course, sitting beside my outrageously immature sisters for the entire night, my focus did shift every now and then. My song book, as you can see above, was horribly sabotaged! Now what if, on Sunday, I start singing about Silent Cake? Slap on the wrist girls!

What I Did 365 - Day 41

Yummmm. Looking at this picture right now is making me drool! So I love recipes. I love collecting them. I love trying new ones. I love fiddling around with good ones. Did I mention that I love collecting them? A happy couple of hours, to me, is one spent on the Taste website, viewing their extensive recipe collections and hand-picking the most delicious ones for my very fat recipe files! Yep. I'm a food dork. But it's about so much more than just enjoying food. I get excited about the ways that flavours work together, I'm crazy over good texture. I don't want to be a chef, but I would LOVE to go to culinary school, just to learn all there is to know, and absorb myself in mastering the skills that I'm having so much fun with at home. Anywayyyy! Monday night was new recipe time! Chris played a game of indoor soccer and came home completely starving, in that man-ish "I need substantial food!" kinda way. Imagine his reluctance when I admitted that dinner was a vegetarian Pesto Spaghetti with Garlic Breadcrumbs. My man likes his meat. However, we both went nuts over this recipe - it was amazing! The herbiness, and the garlic bread crumbs... just... drool. That's all I can really say! Make it, I double dare you!!

What I Did 365 - Day 40

On Sunday, I visited Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. They were holding a huge music morning, with pretty much everyone in the entire worship team participating, and seeing as Steph was a part of it I felt I should do the sisterly thing and check it out. Right? Standing and singing along in the auditorium, I just got the sense of coming home. Mounties was the first Church I ever attended, and I worked there with the happiest heart for almost four years. I don't think I'm ever going to be able to completely let it go! Being at Paradox is exciting and challenging, and I'm not questioning my place in that community. But Mounties will always be a safe and comfortable family home. I guess it's a little bit like visiting my parents at their house, the house I grew up in. It's always going to be an environment where, no matter how long I've been married and living away in Kwinana, I can slip right in and feel a total sense of belonging.

What I Did 365 - Day 39

Best. Saturday. Ever.
From the moment I woke up on Saturday, life was insanely good. I went shopping at Kitchen Warehouse, one of my favourite shops on the planet, and I went to Kat's birthday BBQ. Great day. And then things only kept getting better. I went out with my sisters to Burswood for dinner, drinks at Alure, and Wayne Brady's improv show. Oh, I love that man!! We got completely dressed up for the occasion and had a blast. But do you think we ended our night there? Nope! Next stop was Gino's in Fremantle for a caffeine hit (pictured above) followed by Mojo's in North Fremantle to see our friends Endora rock their EP launch!! Seriously, a great night, made even better by the fact that I was with my amazing sisters the whole time. We don't make enough time to hang out as a trio, but we're hoping to change that. Yay!

What I Did 365 - Day 38

In my defense for the picture above, it was after 1am on a Friday night. After a full week of work!
So I've got a tiny bit of catching up to do. The photos are being taken, but the blog's been on the back burner this weekend. Oh dear! Anyway, on Friday Kat and I hit up Rockingham for her pre-birthday dinner and a ladies' night out. We ate Indian food and went shopping. Then we headed back to her place, made Kit Kat slice, and watched Glee and copious amounts of YouTube clips. At about 1 in the morning, we rejoiced over the fact that it was so late and we were still awake, like the crazy young things we once were! Tehehe... Then I headed home and crashed in bed. As all crazy young things do after a big night. Yerp.

What I Did 365 - Day 37

Tonight Chris and I both had plans - and yet we somehow ended up sneaking in a night together anyway! It was an unexpected bonus for the week. We had chilli con carne for dinner (it's our comfort food tradition!), watched some episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and headed out for icecream and a walk on the beach. Even though it was cold out there, the icecream was so worth it! I sat in the sand, and Chris mostly just paced around because he didn't want sandy jeans. Ha. Then we strolled along the shore, Chris skipping stones across the water, and me scouring the sand for freshly washed up treasures. It was so peaceful and beautiful. Happy sigh.

What I Did 365 - Day 36

Meet the family! OK, so while these people aren't blood relatives or anything, we do consider ourselves a bit of a family. This is a large chunk of people from Paradox, our church community. Last night we just really let walls down and had the most amazing, honest discussions. What a night! After a BBQ dinner and a long chat, we set to work building 'show bags' for some teens in the community - packed with toiletries, socks, underwear, those things that you kind of take for granted, and yet are such a luxury for some people. It was a fantastic evening. I really love these people, and I love that we're all passionate for the people of Kwinana. One thing I've learnt since moving here is that there ain't a lot of love out there for this little town...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I Did 365 - Day 35

I know, we're disgusting and we should never breed. Can you imagine how immature our children will be? Aaaanyway. Tonight was our first night at home together in what feels like forever. So we celebrated in style - home date night!! Chris mixed us some pre-dinner drinks (screwdrivers blended with icecream), we ate delicious quiche, watched Toy Story 3 and finally squeezed in some cheesecake too (in our eating-action-shot above. Hot.) We love home date nights so much. It's nice to just take time out to be the Donovans sometimes!

What I Did 365 - Day 34

I'm going to name my work of art above "Aimee and Amy with Green Tea". Sounds artsy right? Haha. Last night I went out for a 'late' coffee with Aimee, Amy and Lisa - 3 smashing ladies from the church community that Chris and I are a part of. I love Monday night coffees - aside from the usual fun of a group of ladies yabbering away, there can often be some kind of silly shenanigan to add a bit of spice to the night. Last night, as Aimee was finishing up her cup of green tea, she and Amy decided to try and eat a spoonful of the leaves each. I never knew how entertaining it could be watching two ladies choking down mouthfuls of tea leaves, and gagging as they tried to wash it down with water. Yep, last night we were 'those' customers in the coffee shop... Ha.

What I Did 365 - Day 33

Today was Hatti's Bogan-themed party! Woop! After yesterday's baking adventure, I scuttled over to Kat's place first thing this morning so we could ice and decorate. As you can see, we went with the Barbie Doll Cake - with a twist. Our Barbie, Jordyn, has a mullet and we also had to cut her legs off. Despite the rocky/gluey consistency, we were psyched with how the cake turned out!! The day was a lot of fun. After a few hours of partying with Hatti, we headed over to another friend Katie's 21st. What a busy (and great!) day! We're now super exhausted... whew!

What I Did 365 - Day 32

Oh baking! Saturday was a day for Christmas shopping (successfully I might add!!) and a day for baking. Kat and I put our chef's hats on and baked a cake for our other bestie - Hatti - to display at her birthday party. It was fun to bake together and make a complete mess of Kat's kitchen! However the cake didn't prove to be as good an idea as we'd initially assumed. After almost 2 hours in the oven, the cake was finally set in the middle - and rock hard on the outside. Ooops. In fact we ran out of time to decorate it in the afternoon. But at least the cake batter looked amazing, right???? And we still got a use-able (if not eat-able) cake out of it...

What I Did 365 - Day 31

Awwww! There are definite perks to working where I do! One of those perks is the fact that I have a sister who works here too, in the wildlife section no less! She always has funny stories about the animals, and today on my lunch break I came to visit her. She was hanging with the 3 resident koalas and not only did I get to pat them, I got some great photos too!! The guy in the photo above is Rusty and he was very grumpy because of the heat. Despite his crankiness, he was pretty curious about the phone I was sticking in his face to photograph him with! My sister's job was to spray them with a bit of water occasionally to keep them cool. As soon as she turned on the hose and started spraying the tree, one koala, Tiny, bolted up from where he was stretched out on the ground and raced up the tree so he could get a hit of the water! So cute! I've never seen a koala move so fast...

What I Did 365 - Day 30

Hmm, 2 days in a row where I've posted a day late! Gotta get out of that habit! Yesterday morning I did laundry. Yep, one of the most exciting housewife activities in the world! Ha. After the clothes were hung and flapping in the breeze, I settled myself down under the patio with a plate of cinnamon french toast and chocolate milk, with a lovely foodie magazine. It felt so leisurely!

What I Did 365 - Day 29

Last night I.... wore my bestie to bed. We made these hot pink T-shirts with Kat's face on them for her hen's night last year. And I'm here to admit... I still wear mine. It's the most massive, comfortable T-shirt I own!!! So yesterday I actually did some really lovely things - I had a strawberry smoothie for breakfast, met Amy for coffee after work, had amazingly delicious tacos with my Paradox friends, and had a girly movie night watching Notting Hill. At least seven or eight times I said "I've got to take a photo when there's better light!" And yet... the photo above is all I have of the day. Sigh. So many opportunities wasted! It helps a bit that Kat looks like a zombie though. I enjoy that.

What I Did 365 - Day 28

(Sepia for nostalgic purposes). Oh. My goodness. This guy is 2 years old today!!! We adopted Dog and his little bro Cupcake in February 2009, when on a whim we decided to race out to a petshop and satisfy the puppy cravings we'd been having since getting married a couple of months prior. Dog has been a complete surprise - I always had an idea of what a blue heeler would be like, and I did some google research too after purchasing him, but he does not live by the blue heeler book. He loves snuggles and attention, he's gentle (except when he's launching his full 20kg of body weight onto our stomachs!) and he's completely patient with Cupcake bossing him around. I know not all people are dog people, but there are moments when Dog bounds up to me, his tail wagging in a full circle (helicopter style!) that I judge those people. Yerp. Anyway, happy birthday big guy!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 27

Donut or doughnut?... So this was supposed to be a pic of my sweet little buddy Katherine (one of two besties) who got back from Melbourne yesterday! We watched our men play their indoor soccer game tonight (and WIN! Amazing!) When I say we watched the game... mostly we just talked, looked at photos, and compared iPhone apps. Yeah, we're so cool. Anyway, the plan was to photograph us, happily re-united. But I forgot. So I'm using this delicious Krispy Kreme donut to represent her. Not because she's circular, has a hole through her middle, or is chocolatey brown in colour. But because the gift of a sweet, sweet Kristy Kreme should never go unacknowledged. And it made me happy, as did the opportunity to see her again! She's just one of those people in my life who is naturally, genuinely fun to be with. We can spend an evening almost asleep on a couch in front of the TV and it's not even lame! Best friends are the best! (nawwwwww)
PS People who have Krispy Kremes in their hometowns (or even states) should never take it for granted...!

What I Did 365 - Day 26

It's Sunday night already??? Today I got to see my cousin's baby Sabine get baptised. ADORABLE. I went for a quick lunch at Grill'd in Subiaco with Mum and my sister Steph, and then headed home for a very slack afternoon indeed! Basically, aside from getting dinner in the slow cooker, all I did was watch episodes of Modern Family and Flight of the Conchords. Yeah, I have a bit of square-eyes syndrome now! After dinner, I forced Chris out of the house and we hit Baskin Robbins at the foreshore. We chowed down on our icecream and looked at listings in the window of a real estate agency. It was actually so entertaining, dreaming about better patios and front gardens, that we never actually made it down to the beach! Oh well. Mini-dates can sometimes be the sweetest, and tonight was no exception!

What I Did 365 - Day 25

Oh man! I can't believe the weekend's already halfway through! Pout. Tonight Chris is working at a gig (he's a sound guy in his 'spare' time) so I had Aimee over for dinner. It was really nice - I cooked chicken filo parcels and a pumpkin pistachio cake, and we watched Junior Master Chef and just hung out. Aimee is good quality. And she is so complimentary! Haha. After an evening with her I'm on quite an ego trip ;) I just love cooking for people. In a large group situation it can be a bit tough, but cooking for one or two people makes me really happy. I love people enjoying what I give them to eat, it energises me. On that note though, my energy is depleted - it's definitely time for bed!!!

What I Did 365 - Day 24

Yesterday was Friday. Normally on Fridays I meet Aimee before work, but she's been having such a mad week that we just couldn't do it this week. Not a problem at all! I relished the opportunity for a sleep-in! After a quick breakfast, I set to work decorating Chester (our Christmas tree). Amazingly, I actually got the job done within about an hour! Before heading out to work, I did my daily potter around and garden, and to my DELIGHT... my asiatic lilly had finally opened its first stunning flower! Yay! I bought this plant for $5 at the supermarket on a whim one day about six month ago. I planted it, and it never grew. Within a few weeks it was dead, so I pulled it up and threw it out. Over the Winter though, a brand new one grew, completely unexpectedly, in its place!! This one is a fast grower, and so beautiful. Love it when things turn out well in my garden!

What I Did 365 - Day 23

Hey look, it's Chris milling around in our big, beautiful kitchen! Ha. I wish. Last night we went to Ikea. We have fun looking at the displays, imagining which pieces of furniture are on our 'someday' list... but last night we also happened to have some of our tax return in our wallets! We've been working on a slow kitchen renovation over the last year - saving and purchasing, saving and purchasing. Last night we had one of their team members price up the remaining items and we realised we could finally afford to buy the last pieces! It was a mad rush to get it all before they closed but at about 9.20pm, trolleys in hand, we headed down to the loading zone only to find that there was NO WAY IN HECK our bench top was going to fit in, on or around Chris's truck. Also, probably try and avoid having a trainee price up your kitchen for you, or like us you might end up with less cupboard doors and door knobs than you were hoping for... Oh well.

What I Did 365 - Day 22

This morning before work I broke an agreement with my husband. I made this horrible deal with him that I would not decorate for Christmas until December 1st. Last year I abided by the deal, mostly because the year before I put up the tree and even had presents under it in September *blush*. I kinda love Christmas. I'm kinda nuts about it. I've been testing the waters at home by singing Christmas songs while I do chores, and I've taken some verbal beatings for this. But... this morning I decided that if I just pull out all that Christmassy goodness I've been storing away, it's not like he'll put it all away again... right? Well here's hoping!! By the way, the adorable little houses and tree above came from The Little Red Door. I was lucky enough to snag the set on sale after Christmas last year!

What I Did 365 - Day 21

Love!!! Today I acquired this little beauty! Chris and I first spotted this lovely buffet on Saturday's thrifting date - but it was already on hold for someone else. Boo hoo! We put our names down for a 'second hold' in case the first fell through... and after three days of nervous waiting and many crossed fingers, we got the call that made me a very happy girl indeed!! It's exactly what I've been searching for, and it's in amazing condition - just a couple of dings in the top and some magnets in the doors that need replacing. I'm pretty smitten with the dark honey colour, and the cute little ornamental backboard. I can't wait to clean it up and use it!! The husband really should watch out though... I feel a new 'thrifted furniture' addiction coming on....!

What I Did 365 - Day 20

Before I tell you about my trip to the beach, you should know that my house smells very strongly of chicken parmigiana. Not a lovely morning smell. Bleh. Anyway! This morning was a super beautiful day to be at the beach. It was overcast and cloudy, but not freezing cold. This morning I decided to venture out onto the jetty for something a bit different. I'm fascinated by the seaweeds and corals that grow on the legs of the jetty underwater - it's like a miniature little garden. I could have stayed there all day! But after a half-hour walk I headed home and hit the shower - and now I feel all snuggly! Such a shame that I'm about to head to work!!

What I Did 365 - Day 19

Sigh. So today we had a mad BBQ at our place. The house was PACKED FULL of amazing people that we love, there was insane food, fun conversations... and not a single photo was taken. So despite the fact that the BBQ was the highlight of my day, I've had to resort to a picture of our dinner tonight. Chicken parmigiana. I mean, I guess I'm OK with that because the picture above epitomizes what every Sunday night dinner should be - gooey, tasty, luxurious comfort food! With the parmigiana we had some garlic potatoes, crumbed mushrooms and broccoli. Seriously, so good! I used this parmigiana recipe, FYI. I heart Ree Drummond and her amazingly indulgent recipes. Now, hours later, I'm still in a bit of a food coma. Totally bed time.

What I Did 365 - Day 18

Yep, that would be my husband with his eyes closed... in the driver's seat... on the road. Let's just hope I caught him blinking...!
Today has been so fun for us. We hit the foreshore in the morning for a short walk, breakfast and then (my favourite part!) the thrift shop!! Today I scored some candy-striped dinner & bread plates. A little kitschy, but kinda sweet. Inspired by our new love of thrifting-dates, we formulated a plan to trawl the suburbs for garage sales! So much driving (hence the reason I chose the photo above to sum up today)! We did find 4 garage sales, but nothing super exciting to report on. We stopped at one more thrift store, and then decided to be responsible and do the boring domesticated grocery shopping and cleaning. Such grown-ups!

What I Did 365 - Day 17

Happy sigh. It's Friday! This morning I met Aimee at the beach, as per our fairly regular arrangement. I get so much out of our little mini-catch-ups! It really changes my whole day for the better, being able to see a friend before having to head out to work. After she scurried off to her job, I had a few minutes to myself on the beach. Despite the now grey and rainy-looking sky outside, the beach was actually awash with sunshine. It felt amazing and warm. I stumbled upon a creature which I think was a cuttlefish? I nudged it with my foot and it did some weird moving and then tried to squirt me with purple ink. Hmmm! I pushed it back into the water and this cloud of ink just surrounded it. I've never seen anything like it! Very strange.

PS Oops! I can't believe I forgot to take a picture yesterday!

What I Did 365 - Day 16

I feel kind of slack and dodgy today! This morning I planned to hit the beach before work, and I'm still wishing that I had. Instead I slept in, got up extremely groggy and, after eating a very plain breakfast of margarine on toast, I decided to attempt to read a book on our beautiful little day bed. Great plan, except that the moment my butt hit that cheap Ikea mattress, I had two insane puppies smearing themselves all over me and licking every part of me they could find!!! Not the best environment to be reading in! So what was meant to be cozy reading time ended up being sloppy play time! Luckily they conked out eventually, hence the sleepy-faced picture of Cupcake! But by that stage it was time to get dressed and get my work head on. Sigh. Crazy boys!

What I Did 365 - Day 15

Mmmmmmuffins! This morning I just wanted to bake! Luckily these raspberry-chocolate muffins are super quick and easy to whip up. OK, so... they're a packet mix. Don't judge me. Who has time to mix batter in the morning before work? I added some white choc chips I had in the cupboard, and also some raspberries from the freezer. YUM! I should probably mention that I was blasting Christmas music through the house throughout the baking process. No wonder I'm in such a good mood today. *wink wink*