Supplies of blueberries continue to impress providing a good value whereas strawberry season is now finishing in Queensland. Raspberry supplies are moderate.
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Queensland pineapple, rockmelon, and the red and yellow pawpaw are ideal lunchbox additions; all are plentiful at the moment. Hass avocadoes are shining bright as usual. In vegetables, beetroot, shallots, and silver beet are all in abundance. Cauliflower, broccoli, celery, kale and cabbage are all in quality supply and offer great value.
Grab them while you can. Most varieties of tomatoes are still going strong, including cherry and grape varieties. Sweet potatoes are also good value, including the more unusual Hawaiian Sweet Potato. Peel off its white skin to reveal purple flesh and a sweeter flavour than the standard variety.
Then, at the end of the week, my husband and son left for a sixteen-day Boy Scout hiking trip.
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The massive amounts of travel this summer were something we both signed up for, but the staying home part is hard. The girls and I have fun together, but nothing is quite the same when Timm is gone.
Every year we shut down Hurley House for the week of July 4th, and it is the highlight of my summer. No work. No agenda. And this year, only two children at home with me. Timm and my older two children left on Monday for Africa, not to return until the following Tuesday. This meant me and the little two had a wide open week before us, and I was determined to stay on track cooking at home.
This was our last week before closing for the holiday. At the last minute, at the end of last week, I accepted an invitation to do a live presentation on the same day as our third VIP party. The only way I was able to say yes was because of how expert my team has become at rising to the occasion and executing events. These girls are incredible.
I believe in myself, but there are a lot of things I cannot control. This week, when Treslyn flipped the countdown clipboards, the number of recipes left read , and I knew I could do it. Good times continued in Week I was continually handing over more and more responsibility to our kitchen manager Rachel, and finding myself able to focus on things that I had neglected for way too long. I loved the feeling of working alongside someone, showing her the ropes, and then stepping away knowing it was taken care of.see
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What a feeling of freedom! The rumors are true. Hurley House has hired a kitchen manager! After four months of carrying this responsibility on my own, I now have a comrade who is taking over the management and oversight of all aspects of the kitchen. The burden that has been lifted is significant. This week my steps were lighter and my spirits lifted. What even? Can we just skip right over the embarrassment of Week 36?
Can someone hand me a robe or a towel so I can hide the ugly truth? Okay, fine.
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I missed the mark and felt disappointed in myself. But then I reminded myself of a few contextual details worth consideration. We are officially in the middle. The boring, difficult, non-glamorous, middle. The season where the project is too old to be new, and too new to be old. In Week Thirty-Three I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and got back in the ring. After the pathetic week prior, I had motivational quotes on repeat in my head this week.
Hokey, sure. But also very helpful and true. On the way over, Hogan had blown out his diaper in the worst possible way. Poop was everywhere. All over the carseat, all over his clothes, and worst of all, all over him. To make matters worse, Rachel had just the day prior removed the extra outfit she normally keeps in the diaper bag for situations just like the one she found herself in.
It was a mess. In Week Thirty-One, I was able to begin writing blog posts again, thanks to the magical work of Emily. It is an interesting exercise to learn how to ask for help, and then to figure out what it looks like to actually allow someone to help. I find it equal parts exhilarating and exhausting. In Week Thirty I hired a personal assistant. Typing that sentence, or even saying it out loud, still brings me a smidge of discomfort because who do I think I am?
Full disclosure. In Week Twenty-Nine I forgot to take notes about what was happening in my life, so I am working purely from memory on this one. I do remember that it was a busy week at Hurley House due to five private events. This always translates into more hours for me, because most of the cooking and kitchen tasks fall into my lane for special events on top of all of the normal kitchen duties.
In Week Twenty-Eight I decided to stop caring about whether or not what I was cooking was appropriate for the time of day or if it went together in a well-constructed menu. I just cooked. On Sunday night I served scallops, oatmeal, biscuits, an omelette, french toast, and fruit salad. It was hilarious, and odd, but memorable. In Week Twenty-Seven, I was still struggling to figure out how to get everything done. I began to treat the Ina recipes like a catering order, trying to work it into my daily work flow, tricking myself into making sure it got done…. In Week Twenty-Six I started to feel sad.
The kind of sadness that comes with being overwhelmed and not sure how anything is ever going to get better. After the week that almost ended me, I continued on in the same way during Week Twenty-Five. It is interesting me to look back on my notes from this week and see a marked difference in the word count.
Up to this point I had poured out any and every thought, feeling, response, description, and possible follow up plan for every recipe I was cooking. This week, my notes were bare-bones, concise, and straight to the point…. In Week Twenty-Four…well, how do I say this and still remain family-friendly? In Week Twenty-Four, the dirty diaper really hit the fan. Does that get the point across? Week Twenty-Four, and I want to be real careful not to overstate this or exagerate, but Week Twenty-Four almost gutted me emotionally, physically, and mentally….
In Week Twenty-Three there were a lot of frustrating cooking experiences. Week Twenty-Two the details of life fell back into place.
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I celebrated by knocking out thirty recipes and feeling pretty good about it…. When you take a break from everything, things pile up. Even though that break was much-needed, the deluge of tasks waiting for me was almost as brutal. Week Twenty was the week I wanted to quit. I knew it would hit at some point, and right on time, my desperation set in. I was flooded this week with unmet expectations, jealousy, disappointment, frustration, fatigue, aimlessness, and none of it felt good.
It all hit hard and made for a rough week. I stopped posting on social media. I stopped writing. I barely made it through the cooking. Guess who had a birthday in Week Nineteen? In reality, I looked it up at the beginning of the project because it seemed like the kind of date worth noting. Maybe my birthday is on her calendar too? In Week Eighteen I caught up on all the blog post writing!