Sunday, February 18, 2007
Weekend house and garden stuff - the art of finishing.
Two weekends ago we had a 'finisher' weekend. You know the kind? We'd had a number of projects on the go, for several weeks, and The.Time.Had.Come.

So on Saturday I dug out and replanted a large triangular garden bed while the Prof and the Gorgeous Boy finished this:

Being the first stage in our grand plan to Destroy the Neighbours via Greenery.

These trees are Flowering Ash, for the horticulturally minded, and will apparently grow to seven metres or so, given encouragement.

Yay! Go trees, go!

There, they already look taller.

On the Sunday, the Prof concreted and rendered the inside of aforementioned triangular garden bed (pics saved somewhere but too ugly to bother hunting down) in readiness for the fish pond of my dreams.

Meanwhile, indoors, I finished doing this - um - thing:

The notion of "something big for that really long wall" had been hoggling large sections of my brain and occasional slabs of dining table for three or four weeks while I worked out what on earth to do with these three bits of fabric that took my fancy back in the New Year Spotlight sale.

It was, shall we say, a learning experience. I now have all kinds of quilting fantasies that might or might not come true.

Fast forward to this weekend, when we finished another two projects (major reorganisation of Pea Princess' bedroom and the main living area) and when I, as usual, on Saturday morning wrote up the family menu for the week ahead.

Have I blogged on the family menu before? I don't recall, but I really should have. I do know that it is something I have in common with the lovely Emma of Hearth and Home.

I also know for an absolute fact that I am not the kind of person who can keep to a weekly menu plan. And, finally, I know for certain that, without The Menu, we would be eating takeaway three nights a week, serving four different meals on each of the four nights we did cook, and supporting a fridge jammed with food bought because it was in season or looked fab, but was destined to be thrown out by the bucketload when it went rotten or passed use-by.

I know all this because this is how life was working out in the House of the Ladies Lounge before I learned to lurve The Menu.

So, The Menu has been with us for over a year now and is probably deserving of a post all of its own. Let me just say that the interesting variation this week was that I grabbed a handful of cooking magazines (my porn collection) and handed them out to children and husband and told them each to pick something for the menu.

Here's what we ended up with:

And on Saturday night we kicked off with the Prof's choice, Moroccan Lamb Steaks with Yoghurt Dressing

Tonight was the Pea Princess' choice, Lime and Dill Ocean Trout

Tomorrow it's Gorgeous Boy's turn with Thai Beef Salad (he likes it for the tomatoes)

then on Tuesday it's back to Morocco (not the way I'd normally do it but good business management says you can't get people to contribute if you make the rules too prescriptive, and besides, I've already bought the Moroccan seasoning) with BBQ Pork Skewers with sweetened (?) Moroccan seasoning for Sparkle.

On Wednesday I get mychoice, Chicken with Lemon and Oregano

Thursday is usually "Cheese on Toast" on the menu board - which actually means Cheese on Toast some weeks but is more often a euphemism for leftovers from all this cooking. Friday is often takeaway but if we're not exhausted then the kids prefer making their own pizzas to having bought ones.

Of course, before we could get stuck into the menu this weekend there was another job that needed finishing so we could get to the dining table: - the number one, most important, cannot be avoided, weekend job for a family of five with both adults in full-time work - look familiar?



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Anonymous shula said...

Right, now I'm totally freaked out by all that action and result thingy.

You guys are cyborgs.

I'm certain.

Anonymous shula said...

And SINCE WHEN did you quilt?!

Blogger Em said...

I need A Menu... I hate cooking and thinking about cooking and planning cooking... the end result is we eat the same 5 meals over and over again for about a year and then we get 5 new ones... my dream is to have someone (my husband) take over all the cooking... but in the meantime I need A PLAN and definitely want to hear more about yours.

PS Folding washing is my second most hated chore!

Shula - since I did this thing. I wanted to ask you and Meggie and others for advice but felt such a fraud, so it was me and my good mate Google all the way through...

Oh, and being a cyborg helps. We come with a quilting chip pre-installed.

Em - I'll definitely do the menu post, it worked wonders in so many ways (not least being that the Prof cooks more often and in a more organised fashion when he knows it's his turn and that the ingredients are all bought and waiting in the fridge/pantry)

Blogger telfair said...

I am so impressed that I'm practically speechless.

I wish we could perfect the art of finishing...

And your menu selections -- well, that noise you just heard was my head exploding. With envy.

Blogger Joke said...

Wow, a real blog entry! Did that kill you? Did it?


There ya go.

On and the trick to keeping to a weekly menu plan is to not have a rigid menu plan. You have what you might call 2-3 "pivot meals" which are things that everyone loves and from which you may make any number of things with the leftovers or the excess.

If you want, I could post something to illustrate.


Blogger Nic said...

Your wall hanging looks very nice, can I have one please? ;-)

Telfair - trust me, the blogworthiness of a post on 'finishing' stuff is that it happens so rarely, y'see?

Nic - sure! I'll add you to my pile of quilt fantasies. Dream on...

Joke - that's how we used to work and it didn't. work, that is. Partly because of my innate need for variation confusing the Prof whenever he had to cook (there are usually at least two nights a week that he has to cook because I'm not yet back from work). The Menu is written in whiteboard marker on glass, and not so rigid that bits cannot be rubbed out and changed, or ignored altogether if something better comes along (otherwise it would be my head exploding, rather than Telfair's)

ps - Joke? totally ignoring you on the smartarse 'wasn't so hard was it' comment.
You'll notice I'm also conducting combox convos, so there.

and, while I'm at it, I have a theory that bloglines and other such automatic readers that I don't use are killing the combox convo. If you don't check around your bloglist randomly just to see who's posting, then you don't have your memory jogged about comments you'd left previously so you don't go to check any other responses and - bam - combox convo falls down dead.

Blogger Badger said...

I have tried to do that menu thing, and it does not work for me, because I have the attention span of a gnat on meth. If I decide on Monday what we'll be eating on Friday, then by the time Friday rolls around I don't WANT that anymore and I start feeling all resentful which is just NUTS.

If I had my druthers, I'd go totally old-skool and visit the supermarket every single day, purchasing just what's needed for that day's meals (based on what was cheap/available/new/interesting that particular day).

But I'm abnormal like that.

Blogger meggie said...

Wow Bec!
Well done on the quilt! I love the colours, too.

I am too gnat headed to do menu plans, but my daughter now does, & she finds if saves the tonnes of food being consigned to the trash, as it expires useby or goes "off".
SIL is a good cook, has learnt really well off her, & he can cook a mean roast lamb dinner! With special sauces!

I have managed to get GOM interested in cooking - he did the treats for yesterday's little 'party'. Perhaps I will keep him after all.

Blogger Emma said...

Wow, what a productive family!

You may call me lovely, but I confess I am a menu plan dictator. Occasionally I ask the family what they want for dinner, and the invariable replies are "lasagne" and "chippies and nuggets". So I just make food and they eat it. We're all happy. Or maybe just I am ;)

Blogger Caro said...

I used to do a menu.

I think our grocery bills were lower that way.

It may be time to revisit the menu.

Blogger Stomper Girl said...

My Goodness, you have so many strings to your bow. (is that the right saying? I feel I may have it wrong..) You Renaissance Woman, you.

What a nice idea, to give your family their choice of meals. It's get-what-you're-given round my place and be grateful it's not burnt.

Nice wall thing.

Blogger Joke said...

The combox convos are THE BEST part of blogs.


Blogger Lazy cow said...

It took you a few WEEKS to make that hanging? It took me 2 YEARS to do a single bed quilt. You are obviously Superwoman and I hate you.
I've also started asking for dinner requests, as I don't really mind cooking, as long as I know what I'm making in advance. Done too many years of standing in front of an open refrigerator at 6pm going "what the ^*&#*&^ are we having for dinner".

Blogger nutmeg said...

Love the wood planter boxes with seat in between. And the mondo grass - gotta love mondo grass. Just bought a whole tray full again today. (see, I do 'enlarge'!)

And if my diva or darling ASKED for tuna and lime I would, I would.... Look, I can't quite think now of what I would do but it would be done with a huge smile on my face :-)

And "folding the bloody washing" is now a family event in my home too ;-)

Blogger Suse said...

You're so productive. And you work full time. While I? Still have not made the quilt I bought all the fabrics for in um, 2002.

God my head hurts.

Blogger Suse said...

And I bet you have first three chapters of the manuscript in for proofing already, don't you?

God my head hurts even more.

Jeez. I must re-read that post. If SUSE is calling ME prolific then something is clearly very, very wrong.

Blogger h&b said...

Planter box-seat looks awesome.
i see you have a 'large brick neighbour' like we do too.

Also on our agenda is blocking them out via greenery, but we have to wait for this intense Melb heat to break and some rain to fall...

Lookin' good.

I don't do a weekly menu, but I should. I should also peruse more foodie mags and actually cook something out of them, instead of just admiring the pretty pictures ...

Blogger Jazminwilss said...

It is nice to know the informative news article...
With Regards
Jazmin Wilss

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