Saturday 19th August 2017

Ideal Meal. #LifeThisWeek 31/52. 2017.97.

Ideal Meal. #LifeThisWeek 31/52. 2017.97.

So, who picked this prompt? Ummm. It would appear that I DID. How interesting then when I cannot EAT all of the foods I am about to list….so let’s go! It is a story about ‘my ideal meal.’

One day, perhaps next year some time I WILL be able to eat these again. Mind you, they would not have been cooked by Mum. Sadly.

Let’s venture back to the 1960s and 1970s for this. Although I must add that this meal combo does still occur! I am making this prompt a tribute to my late Mum. She made these meals many times for friends AND family. My mum was a superb cook and was self-taught. She had many guides and recipes but in the end she followed what she thought would work. I notice I am a cook like that too.

Dad misses Mum’s cooking too but he is managing for himself very well these days! 2006. Mum’s last Mother’s Day.

Even though I could never eat 3 courses any more, I am presenting my ideal meal thus:


Simple ingredients: shelled cooked prawns, shredded lettuce, a sauce of tasty tomatoey-goodness. Accompanied by little triangles of brown bread with butter.


Lots of ingredients: Ham, Cooked Chicken, Cooked Pork, Turkey, Roasted Potatoes & Pumpkin & Sweet Potatoes. Cooked green vegetables and carrots. Accompanied by apple sauce, Mum’s gravy (made from the pan leftovers), cranberry sauce. This photo is as close to one of Mum’s baked dinners that I could find!


Few ingredients. In fact, the one Mum, my daughter and I make is the recipe on the back of the Nestle Condensed Milk can. Yummo! Not accompanied by anything. Warm or cool. Fine. Must have at least one slice left over to the next day.×680.jpg

So, there it is. An ideal meal where there would have been the company of family and most of all my parents.

However, I have made all of these meals too, over the years but with only me and one husband to cook for we tend to eat much more lightly.

What is your ideal meal?

Are you salivating over this page like I did when I wrote it?

How hungry are you now?

Denyse. I link up here on Mondays too: Alicia’s blog  for Open Slather and Kell’s blog  for Mummy Mondays. This is my link-up: Life This Week. You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Selfie Time.


Best Summer Holidays. #LTW14. 366/334.

Best Summer Holidays. #LTW14. 366/334.

This time of year when our adult children were kids, there was always a summer holiday coming up!

With school still in, and my husband’s business as a cabinet-maker in full swing getting things finished for Christmas, our summer holiday was the reward for the finish of a big year.

We lived in north-western Sydney and whilst we had the comforts of air-conditioning and a swimming pool, there was nothing like a holiday by the beach.

For some years we travelled up the N.S.W. coast staying at places such as Fingal Bay and Nelson Bay in the Port Stephens area. Other times we holidayed near Ballina and Nambucca Heads. But over the years, what we found spoiled the beach/summer holiday was the time spent in the car with the traffic. We are talking about the 1980s and I know conditions have changed but there are still bottlenecks at certain spots on the Pacific Highway.

credit: NSW Tourism

We found The Entrance on the N.S.W. Central Coast was ‘just right’ with travel time even in the heavy traffic of less than 2 hours door to door. We found a 2 bedroom unit overlooking the beach and the pool and that was BLISS. We must have stayed for at least 5 years in a row. Re-booking it for one week at the high January prices was our practice because that was when we could get away.

The days consisted of surfing, walking around the rocks exploring, going in the seawater pool, relaxing out on the balcony, taking in the view and just doing those great holiday things such as an ice-cream after tea, walking around the seawall and taking the kids to the night time carnivals. We’d sometimes hire a boat and go out on Tuggerah Lakes and fish. Whilst we never caught anything it was all part of the fun and memory-making.

View from the Unit meant we could see the kids in the pool. The Entrance Beach in 1990s was still very safe for swimming.

The holidays here stopped as the children became older and that was it for ‘family holidays’.

What we never thought about though was that one day this is where we would move to and settle somewhere nearby for the foreseeable future to live and retire. Those units we stayed in are still there, as is the pool below. What is sad is the fact that the storms over the past 2 years which have wreaked havoc on the N.S.W. coastline have cost The Entrance its beach. There is still a ‘beach’ but there is too much exposed rock for it to be deemed safe, for now, for surfing and swimming.

The Entrance Beach. 2015. Our Unit is above white pool building mid-right side.

Our unit was middle one with deck out front to left of large pines. 2015.

Where do you have Summer Holidays?

Has there been one tradition for you and your family?

Do you know The Entrance in N.S.W.?


Joining these bloggers on their Monday link ups too. Alicia here for Open Slather, Kell here for Mummy Mondays and Sue here for Over the Moon. Thank you ladies!

Thanks for linking up today for “Life This Week” #LTW14. Only 2 more left until the end of the year!

#LTW15  19 Dec “this time next week”  #LTW16 26 Dec “appreciation.”

The Link Up will continue into 2017 and the list of first 9 prompts will be out very soon!


2 Months to Christmas Eve. #ltw7. 366/298.

2 Months to Christmas Eve. #ltw7. 366/298.

Adding this post here for #ChristmasLinkUp !

I chose this prompt and yet I am somewhat challenged by writing what’s ahead. Why? Christmas Eve is N O T H I N G like it used to be (for me) and I need to A C C E P T that. Ok, I did a year ago, so I am not going to wallow any more. Christmas and all that it brings to family life is completely different now that we are the retired couple who live away from the family. And the family has changed. For all the different reasons families do over time! We will be by ourselves for Christmas and getting used to the changes too. It is fine. Life is like this! So, for the prompt I am writing what Christmas Eve was back then, when our now grown kids with their own kids were the kids in 1980s. CHRISTMAS EVE:

  • traditions…we would go to Christmas Eve mass, then return home with Maccas for tea and have a sing-along with guitar (hub) and holding candles (kids) and making memories on the camera (me)
  • food prep for the next day, depending on who was hosting for Christmas Day for the extended family, would include peeling oh so many potatoes, along with pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes for the “baked dinner” of mammoth proportions which included chicken, pork, ham and turkey!
  • setting the table and finalising decorations for the area, along with added crockery containing sweets, chocolates, nuts, and the ‘christmas bon bons’
  • exciting time…because Santa is nearly here…before bedtime, a snack and a drink is left out for Santa by the kids, and some carrots and water for those tired and thirsty reindeer
  • longing for bed time (for the kids) on long, light evenings and then waiting…waiting…waiting..for them to go to sleep so present-packing into Santa’ bags (left under the tree for him) could commence
  • packing presents (once they were unearthed from the cupboards, back of wardrobes) and checking to ensure ‘the bags and contents looked even enough in terms of quality and quality’. Sigh. I sometimes failed this because I would forget what I had. So, a present or 3 might be held back for an upcoming birthday
  • lugging Santa bags to place at bottom of the child’s bed and hoping against all hope, no-one woke
  • relaxing by singing along with the Christmas Carols By Candlelight on TV and remember the lovely times of yesteryear
  • going to bed…excited and tired…not with sugar plums dancing around my head but lists of ‘to do’ for the BIG family lunch the next day

NOT our house but close-ish!! except: Summer! Credit:×768-1

So, what does 2 Months to Christmas Eve mean to you? Denyse. life 150 Thanks for linking up ( I hope you have!) whether it’s about the prompt or not! Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.

  • You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
  • Please add just ONE post each week!
  • Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
  • Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
  • Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
  • Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
  • Respect and tolerance however, are the hallmarks of acceptable on-line social behaviour and as my blog is family-friendly I will reserve the right to delete comments that may be offensive to me or others.
  • Tweet with the hashtag #ltw (adding the numeral for prompt) if you like.
  • THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week.

life this week icons 150 2

The next 8 optional prompts taking us to the end of 2016 are now on the Home Page. I hope you will join in. Joining two Monday link-ups here: Thanks for hosting them…Alicia at One Mother Hen for Open Slather and Kell at All Mum Said for Mummy Mondays.


Hunting, Gathering, Preparing, Eating. 366/151.

Hunting, Gathering, Preparing, Eating. 366/151.

In reviewing the prompt for Kirsty’s I must confess this week,

The one thing that drives you absolutely crazy.

I pondered…ONE? She asks about ONE??

Then I settled down and decided that my relationships with friends and family were more important that making enemies so I gave it more thought.

And I decided this is what drives me crazy and probably has ever since I became the person, mostly, in charge of feeding the family.

Let’s take the steps one by one and add a time frame to it:

None of the times include travel, but they should! At the moment we are located about 10 minutes from the big shopping centre. It does not include time in the supermarket queue nor that horrendous hilly ascent I must make with the trolley!

Hunting: Time: 20 minutes. 

The beast, or the fish, or the poultry as is (in our family) the main part of the evening meal. Ok, I don’t have to send hub out to find one and kill it but I still have to stalk the corridors of the local shopping centre and compare the prices, the quantities, the use-by dates and the actual piece of protein I am selecting.

Gathering: Time: not concurrent with above. Oh no. In addition to: 20-30 minutes.

From one end of the supermarket to the other, from fresh fruit & veg to the staples, to the freezer section and back again because I missed an aisle with the one ingredient I would find essential. Of course. I do take a list!

Preparing: Time: ‘how long is a piece of string?’ This timing cannot be estimated because it can range from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. Or More.

There is, of course, pre-planning. Making the menu, searching for the lost piece of paper with that one recipe I decided to cook TONIGHT. And adding the list to the iPhone notes.

Eating: Time: 10 minutes.

No matter how well I put this. We seem to inhale our meals here. Or is that most of us? Anyway…this, my readers is my issue:

The one thing that drives you absolutely crazy.

is that it is all over….and I will have spent at least ONE hour (minimum) on a meal that takes 10 minutes to eat.


Clearing away and loading the dishwasher. Not my job.

So, what is it about meals? Is it any wonder it is the question most of us hate…”what’s for dinner?”


life 150





Grandmothering. 366/129.

Grandmothering. 366/129.

It’s Mother’s Day today.

If you celebrate, then Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m honouring the role of grandmother today.

I love being a grandmother and it is truly a blessing to be loved by your grandchildren and to share their lives at the various stages. But today is not about me as a grandmother.

I had two grandmothers.

One, on my mum’s side, Nanny, was a hard working woman who had the responsibility of not only raising her own 3 children but two of her brother when his wife sadly died in childbirth with number 3. I remember Nanny as strict and I was never spoiled. She left that to my Papa, her husband. She was never happy but I also understand why due to her workload at home with 3 boys and 2 girls. Recently I have started researching family history and know she was one of 13 who grew up in a farming family on the NSW South Coast and Southern Highlands. I remember her being very unwell for 2 years before her early death of a stroke at 62 in 1958.

One of the few photos of Nanny - in the 1940s.

One of the few photos of Nanny – in the 1940s.

The second grandmother, Gran, was my father’s mother. She was distant and certainly not particularly affectionate but I recall her letting me have a 3d ice-cream from the local shop once! Gran had a great start to life born into an English almost middle class family sharing her parents with one sibling. The war of 1914-18 brought her love, and to Australia as a war bride, then her life changed over a decade to being parent of 4 children in a tough economic time in Australia. Her husband, my grandfather, survived the first world war but was fatally injured in a workplace accident in 1935. She never got over the loss and it clouded all of her relationships it seemed. Gran lived into her 80s dying in 1985.

I'm in Dad's arms at my christening in 1950, Gran is on the left of the photo and her mum, my great grandmother is on the right.

I’m in Dad’s arms at my christening in 1950, Gran is on the left of the photo and her mum, my great grandmother is on the right.

I watched my mum as a grandmother and I know she struck a pretty good balance as both a ‘spoiler’ and a ‘loving carer’. I had my first daughter at 21 and I know Mum got a lot of joy helping out with her when we came to Sydney and even had her stay as a bub for a week once. I was always grateful for how my mum helped me out…but the icing on the cake was that she got to do so much for her grandkids. Mum and Dad often had our kids stay and took them on holidays.

A few years ago, blogging friend and writer, Kelly Exeter was writing ‘manifestos’ and I offered my help towards this one. The one for Grandmothers. I did feel it was pretty pertinent to me. I haven’t shown any of my grandchildren’s photos here on the blog due to privacy reasons but I know that they love and as I do them.

Today, Mother’s Day I also reflect on what it is to hear a little voice say “Grandma….love you”.


Love you too….JR, SM, BJ, EC, HM, RK, EK, MN.

Tell me about your grandmother!


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Joining with Leanne for her link up on Sundays, here.



Memories of School Lunches. 366/14.

Memories of School Lunches. 366/14.

In Australia ‘school is about to go back’ and this week I reminisced on social media about

“school lunches.”

In most cases, students at Australian schools carry a ‘packed lunch’ with them to school each day.

There are school canteens or tuckshops where food may be purchased. Often it’s a once-a-week treat or special in  families for kids to be able to buy their lunch. It’ s one of the first independent steps some children take with using money, and it’s quite fun to be privy to the little ones who have “some money to spend” at the canteen. On hot days iceblocks are very popular!

Today’s post came from this! It was my lunch this week that took me down memory lane: as I was making of a white bread sandwich with lettuce, Vegemite and lettuce along with a glass of lemon cordial which was a long-time lunch in my high school years in the 1960s.

Then that made me think as I posted on both Instagram and Facebook “what memories do you have of school lunches?”

Here’s the memories from the adults who responded to my question:

  • marmite on brown bread – every – single- day @kal20m
  • devon sambos (sandwiches) with an apple and orange cordial @ramblingvine
  • tuna, lettuce and mayo – EVERY day and I haven’t had one since I left school @kaz_phi
  • horse drawn cart with pies in Newcastle along with with cream buns, cream horns and sausage rolls. Ian.
  • sandwich by mum (even when I was at Uni) some biscuits – sweet or savoury like Sao or Vita Wheat & a piece of fruit. Marion.
  • tomato sandwiches on white bread (influenced by a book Harriet the spy) but mum preferred to make vegemite on Vogel bread. I loved vita wheats with the butter and vegemite “worms”. Rachael.
  • variety of: apple, cream cheese & sultanas, honey & vegemite, cheese and honey, something with pecans or some kind of salad. My own kids get cheese, ham or salami, capsicum and tomato and spinach leave, or if we run out of time, cheese and honey. Rachel.
  • Vegemite, latvial liverwurst or salami sandwiches, an apple and homemade biscuits or shoes with vegemite, accompanied by a plastic bottle with a little cap on top, filled with cordial. Anne.
  • Raspberry jam sandwiches. Every. Single. Day. (which I never ate). Katherine
  • Lunch order in Prep (Kinder) egg and shredded lettuce on white bread which was a special order and we watched the Wizard of Oz in instalments. Kira.

school lunch

There are some interesting and heart-felt memories there of love and connection as well as some resistance to what we might have been given for lunch. I know as the ‘lunch maker’ for many year it becomes tiresome and half the time I am sure I was “mollified” by “yes Mum, I’ll have that every day too.” I made bread rolls more often than not, and spread out the makings along the bench usually a week’s worth at a time. Then they were popped in the freezer for retrieval by the kids, who’d  grab a snack pack or two from the selections I’d bought and put into boxes of ‘sweet’ ‘savoury’. Drink bottles may have been frozen with cordial or water for the next day and wrapped in a towel to keep cool. We are talking 1970s to 1990s. here. Our kids also bought lunch from the canteen once a week. I also know that lunches did not always get eaten and I would prefer not to say where I found some of these… HINT: check your kids’ bags from time to time and “smell” out the culprits.

school lunch in pack

What are your memories of school lunches?

Do share!


Joining  Anne here at Domesblissity for Thriving On Thursdays.








The Best Gift For Your Child. 289/365.

The Best Gift For Your Child. 289/365.

This post was first published in 2012. I have made few changes as I believe that it is still the case..that our kids need time as our ‘gift’. 

I know when parents begin to think about what to give their children for celebrations or marking particular occasions, they become concerned for the gift to be the ‘right’ one.

What is the best gift for your child?

How does any parent determine this?

Should there be a ‘best’ gift at every age and stage?

I truly believe there is no better gift, than that of time.

Time for children to:

  • sit and read with a parent
  • take a walk around the block
  • play outside
  • throw a frisbee or a ball around
  • listen to a child’s recount of the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ part of the day
  • accompany a parent solo somewhere
  • be taught something new by a parent, something the child wants to learn
  • tell their little stories, even though they take around 5 minutes, and mention every detail
  • let them take their time, no corrections, eye contact if that’s what suits
  • have a visit to where Mum or Dad spend some of their days working away from home
  • chat about the coming weekend
  • enter into a D&M (deep and meaningful) driving along in the car
  • sitting beside your child at bedtime, and being ready to really, really ‘listen’

I know that you will have some more ideas of how you give your child the ‘best gift’. Please share, that would be great.

Denyse xx


I Like To Cook.*101/365.

I Like To Cook.* 101/365.

* I like to cook for sharing, connecting and giving people I love something they enjoy eating. It is very rewarding intrinsically.

However, I have rare opportunities to do this now, and since my darling hub has a very limited range of foods he can eat I need to cook for ME.

Do you know how hard that is?

Maybe you do or maybe it is routine for you. Annette from I Give You The Verbs, is a solo cook and makes up some great meals which she shares via Instagram.

But, I have never had to do this before. I am used to being a cook for meals with kids and family. In recent years it was for grandkids too.

Now I have to do the cooking (and meal preparation) that suits me and my needs from a dietary view. I do not ‘diet’ anymore. Oh no, been there and done that x 3.

However recent flare-ups of irritable bowel disease, coupled with a no-longer present gall bladder, has made me sit up, take notice and do some more planning and research.

I will be back with how things are going. But right now, I have 2 teen grandchildren arriving for dinner and staying for the night and here’s what’s the start of their meal tonight!


What are you cooking for dinner tonight or is someone else doing the cooking?

Denyse xx