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The beach…

I love the beach, I love the ocean, I love the waves, I love the whole vibe of the place… I could quite happily live in a small beach house somewhere, that would make me very happy, but what I don’t like about the beach is the traffic, it took us 3, yes THREE hours to get home on Sunday, not only was I tired by the time I walked through my door but I was extremely grumpy, even our Starbucks break had not revived my mood!

Next time we go though I am definitely taking food, everywhere was so busy… picnic on the beach is the way to go, and I am leaving very early in the morning, you cannot beat being on the beach at 7.30 am… Quiet, serene and best of all you leave early, just as everyone is arriving meaning the roads are not at a standstill with everyone heading home at the same time… Now that’s the way to do the beach in the summer time!

Now the big question about going to the beach is ‘do I take my camera?’, now of course there is the huge risk of sand getting into it, but then if you don’t take it, all the photo opportunities you miss… For me I always have to take my camera, not my new one though, but my older canon, it still takes great photos but it was not as expensive as my new one! This last weeks trip to the beach meant my camera and iPhone both took a beating… I just click and click away, you just never know one of those shots just may be the perfect picture, and for me this was definitely the case in more ways than one this trip!

Not quite a beach cocktail recipe…
Take 4 mason jars and fill each one halfway with boiling water and an organic cranberry tea bag… Steep for as long as you would like, then allow to cool, add some berries, whatever you would like I used whole blueberries and halved strawberries, now this is where I cheated a little bit, I filled the jars to the top with shop bought pink lemonade, add a sprig of mint leaves, put on the lid, shake and refrigerate overnight… Add to your cool box and don’t forget the straws… Enjoy whilst you are sitting in the sand, watching those waves come in! (Of course vodka would be a great addition to this refreshing beach drink… Next time if I am not driving!)

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Happy Summer Recess… Remember always take your camera, you never know when you will have the perfect summer moment… Relax and Enjoy!

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Getting ready for the beach….

A great way to start our summer, or not, as officially summer recess does not start until next week for us… Is a trip to the beach, so today for me today is all about getting ready for our day on the sand tomorrow! We are not taking our usual picnic with us, phew… No sandwiches to make, we are meeting friends and eating Italian style on the boardwalk, but I know my family, they will want to snack the sunny, fingers crossed, sandy afternoon away… So here is my kind of beach picnic for a Sunday afternoon…

I am going to bake fresh strawberry muffins and a skinny chocolate chip buttermilk biscuits
I have bought a huge bag of pita chips, I am going to take some sliced cheese and a freshly made lime and corn salsa…
1 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 cup of frozen blackened corn
1/2 red pepper finely chopped
The juice of one lime
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
A small bunch of cilantro, chopped

Toss the first Four ingredients in a bowl, in another bowl whisk together the next four ingredients, combine both bowls together toss add in fresh cilantro and serve with your giant bag of pita chips!

I am also taking an iced cooler with bottles of water and freshly made blueberry tea, half and half lemonade jars with fresh blueberries

Time to get out our beach equipment that has been stored away all winter long, I must not forget some napkins and our sun cream… I love a long sunny afternoon at the beach, it will be interesting to see if Florrie actually goes on the sand this year, last year she was so scared, but it made for an easy afternoon as she wouldn’t get off of the blanket… This year it may be very different, but lots of fun!

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Bah Humbug…

Christmas comes but once a year and with it brings a lot of cheer… This may have been true once upon a time, but the sad truth is Christmas is now all about crowds of people everywhere you go and money, money, money! I find myself longing for the first week in January and a sense of normality back in my life… Errands like running to Target for tea bags used to be quiet and simple, no lines of people with their carts full of toys!

Christmas should be about the joy of giving a simple gift, but instead we go crazy to give the newest gadgets, fanciest boots and most expensive games to our children… I am as guilty as the next person for doing this, Blu and Mabel want an iPhone 5 and a mini iPad, and I would go to the ends of the earth to get this for them, but in my heart of hearts I wonder what will they want to get next year as they seem to have everything and they are only 11 and 13!

I look at my 18 month old Florrie, so innocent and unwanting and I wonder what this modern world with all it’s iPhones, iPads and all sorts of branded products is doing to us!

With my soap box moment over, I will move onto more normal December topics… Menu planning is at it’s best with my new fridge/freezer in place and organized, I am not over shopping and using everything in there before I restock up again, it worked well last week and then inspired me to do the same with my pantry cupboard, so now that is organized and only stocked with products we need… Lets see how long I can keep it looking this way as I’m loving being organized for once!

The house reorganization is coming along now, with my parents being here to help out I feel like I am finally making progress, the rooms as they are now are working out well for us, the dining room table is now a much used item in our house, the comfy sofa by the kitchen is a permanent hang out for my Dad now and Paul is loving his new work from home office situated conveniently next to the kitchen so he can have his many cups of Tazo Tea throughout the day… Project change the house around… Done and successful!

My menu plan for this week

Saturday – tomato and lentil soup with grilled panini’s
Sunday – chicken pot pie with steamed broccoli
Monday – endive and ham gratin (James Martin), homemade rolls and a green salad
Tuesday – veggie and lentil stew, grilled spicy sausages and chili, cilantro dough balls
Wednesday – cheesy turkey sausage slow cooker spaghetti and garlic bread
Thursday – potato and bacon gratin (James Martin) with steamed cauliflower and broccoli
Friday – chicken Posole (Mexican stew) breadsticks and salad

So far this week we are completely on schedule for every meal, thanks to my Mum being here to help!

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