the huntered housewife

our family life, our way

Getting back on track

That’s it! Technology really does hate me. I had this blog past three quarters written and was adding photos and hit goodness knows what I shouldn’t have & lost it all! If you only knew the hassles I had with technology this week, I feel like a broken record when I talk about my trials with technology! First it was our printer (yet again!) and now me losing what I had written. It definitely tests my patience!

But anyway, that’s a whole other bog post, which I’ve already written. More than once I suspect.

Today I am writing about getting back on the LCHF way of eating. That would be Low Carbohydrate High Fat. Yes, really. Throw out everything your doctor or dietician has told you about how you should eat and listen to your naturopath or do your own research. There are plenty of websites out there that can point you in the right direction when it comes to LCHF. I simply share my own experience and thoughts, I don’t have the scientific or technical knowledge behind it. It works for me so that’s good enough for me.

So, why am I needing to get back on track? There are a multitude of reasons as to why I am writing the year of 2016 off. What with Dad being ill and passing away, I managed to put on over 8kg with all the back and forth that was going on (Dad lived 5 hours away from here & I was driving back & forth every second weekend). Most recently, hubby had a motorbike accident & has a few broken body pieces that thankfully will repair. Maybe these are excuses for me to not eat properly, but whatever they are, they are what they are & I take ownership of what I chose to eat these last few months. As I have talked about before, all the back and forth with Dad saw me eating McDonalds because it was easy. Even the kids were sick of McDonald’s meals, so that’s saying something.

So how do you get back on track?

Start.

That’s all it takes. Start by having an LCHF breakfast. Here’s what I had today:breakfast-idea

 

A fry up of white sweet potato (I had run out of bacon), eggs, kale, haloumi cheese and that would be a knob of butter on top! Over 1000 calories on my plate and I’m proud of it!

I didn’t photograph lunch but it was leftover salad of cos lettuce, green capsicum, avocado and red onion with sliced steak on top, drizzled with a yoghurt & dill dressing. It was yummy!

Here’s dinner:

On the left is a pork steak, with a knob of butter melting on top, with some fried asparagus on the side. The pic on the right started as a Caesar salad until I thought I didn’t have any Caesar dressing in the fridge (which it turns out I did), so I improvised and it is constructed of cos lettuce from our garden, red capsicum, grated cheese, hard boiled eggs, an avocado and fried haloumi cheese as croutons. Topped with the (then located) Caesar dressing (no low fat version allowed). It was very tasty.

You don’t count calories when you eat this way  – you count fat and carbohydrate grams – and the higher and lower, respectively, the better. More fat and fewer carbs. That’s what works for me!

I have toyed with the idea of purchasing a set of books for a while. If you have too many books you will get confused about what you should eat, yes?

Here are the books I am reading at the moment, that have re-inspired me:

must-have-books

If you see them, I highly recommend you buy them. Simple explanations, realistic testimonials, recipes, and much more. They are available online if you have a look around her Facebook site here. What Christine says just makes sense.

So I am two thirds of my way through the 3 book set I bought and am feeling suitably reinspired. Hence the knobs of butter on my kale at breakfast and my pork steak at dinner. Christine eats 100 -150 grams of butter every day. Sounds like a winner to me!

Anyway, here I am – 8 kg heavier than I was in July but willing to do something about it.

I can do this. Hot weather has arrived. That means plenty of meat and salad meals. Like chicken wings, sausages, rissoles, steaks, there are so many options!

Will keep you posted as to how I go.

Karen xx

 

 

Leave a comment »

A very sugary, gingerbready afternoon

Today I went to the annual Gingerbread House Workshop in town, my 3rd time out of the 4 years that we’ve been here. I missed one year because we were away at a family wedding.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, a women only event, where everyone begins with the same framework yet no two people’s finished product are the same and there are no right or wrong ways to decorate your gingerbread house. And it’s nice to spend time with friends.

You mean I can’t go wrong? That’s my kind of thing!  Some people are very steady of hand and can do beautiful piping, others can visualise and create gardens and outdoor furniture from their lollies, but not me. And that’s okay. If you cover your gingerbread house with as many lollies as you can, it’s still going to look great. As long as you follow the demonstration on how to secure your walls and roof so you can actually construct the house, that is. It comes as a pre-baked kit. I seem to have this bit mastered.

Here are my efforts this year.

 

Ta daaa!! All cellophaned up & ready to be cracked open when we have our street Christmas party. Inside the house are dark chocolate Maltesers and some Freckles.

finished-product

Of course, there are many lollies consumed to sustain whilst we are working.

And I had a delicious piece of pavlova for afternoon tea.

Lots of sugar – ignoring the LCHF way of eating this afternoon! Because that was my choice.

Do you have a Gingerbread House at Christmas time?

Karen.

 

 

Leave a comment »

Have you started yours?

Have you started your Reverse Advent Calendar?

I talked about it here a couple of weeks ago. The concept is that you put an item into a box or basket each day of the Advent season and then donate it to charity to give to a needy family. Given that Advent finishes right at Christmas, it would be unreasonable for whichever charity you choose to have time to deliver it so we decided we would do it in November and donate it at the beginning of December. So we are collecting for 30 days and at the end should have a nice hamper for someone in need.

Today is the 3rd already, so we were late starting, however, this afternoon we bought a tub from the cheap shop and put 3 items in it.

We have tea, soap and chocolate peanuts. I am at the shops every few days, so will need to program myself to remember to look out for things that we can add. We’re hoping the kids will get involved and come up with suggestions too.

3-nov

I’ll keep you updated a few times as we go through the month.

A few of you commented that you were interested in doing the same. If you are, please share your pics!

Cheers,

Karen.

Leave a comment »

My love/hate relationship

Technology.

Love it.

Hate it.

I regularly refer to myself as “techno idiot”. It’s a title I am happy to own, I find no shame in admitting that I don’t know what I am doing when it comes to technology.

It’s great when I want to look up stuff. Like businesses (except in the country not so many businesses have websites), real estate, accommodation, holidays, etc. Like paying bills, booking tickets to events, checking emails. Like Facebooking. Like blogging.

It totally sucks when something along the chain breaks down. Like the printer goes offline and won’t go back online. The only way we’ve discovered to fix it is to uninstall and reinstall it. Except my computer then doesn’t find it. All of a sudden a job that would have taken 5 minutes has taken 20. Or 30. Or 40. Frustrating when I want to print a recipe because I am about to go shopping to buy the ingredients. Frustrating when trying to print the new menu I created for the canteen. Frustrating when you volunteer your time to do the book club orders for the primary school and then can’t print the copy that needs to be sent away with the payments. I may have to email it to the school and ask them to print it. So it then becomes extra work for them too.

Like I try to upload some photos to my blog and I am supposed to be able to insert them and click where I want to type & then be able to type and it won’t allow me to do it. This is why I have some posts with no photos. Because it takes me SO long to figure out how to do it properly. I have to delete and reload the photos a couple of time before I get it right, it is surprisingly time consuming. Maybe not, if I wasn’t a techno idiot!

Were things easier when we had a desk with a computer sitting on it and a printer plugged in? I am so close to going back to that it’s not funny.

Like when we have to reset my phone to it’s factory settings because it keeps shutting itself down. So hubby backed up all my contacts and photos and other important stuff an reset it for me. And then it mixed up some of my contacts – I had some people’s email addresses under other people’s names. So I think I have lost some in my correcting them. But with the world of Facebook, it’s not such a big deal. There’s more than one way to contact people. More than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. And then it doesn’t let me get into my work emails. But when I tried it just now, it did. Go figure.

Like when I turn on my computer and it comes up with some run time error, which it allows me to continue through, then decides it won’t recognise my mouse so I can’t click anything. It won’t recognise the onboard mouse either. So, after I’ve waited too long for my computer to start up, I then have to do a restart to get it working properly. Something that should take less than 5 minutes ends up taking 10 or more. And that’s just to turn the computer on, before I actually do any work on it.

First world problems or what?!

I sound like my Mum when I hear myself saying “I’m meant to be able to turn it on and it works”. It should work. That’s all I expect.

Surely that’s not too much to ask?

What are you like with technology? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Or are you somewhere in between?

Karen.

 

Leave a comment »

Our food garden

It’s been nearly two years since we moved into our house. I shared our garden and landscaping as we did each bit, so I thought I’d share with you how it has developed.

Our plan is that almost everything growing in our back yard has a purpose other than just looking pretty. Most of our plants’ produce is edible. And for a couple of foodies, that is winning!

Almond nut tree. We have two of these, both producing nuts – we don’t know how to tell when they are ready to eat, but hubby picked one the other day & it was far from ready, so we’ll give them a while longer.

almonds-growing

Row of trees –  front is a fig tree (the almond tree in the pic above is before the fig, just not in this photo), then a lemon tree which replaced the macadamia tree which was killed by the winter frost. The far tree is another almond.

right-border-trees

Strawberry plants make a great ground cover. We also have blueberries growing in this garden bed. On the shelf below is a curry plant and Ray planted radishes the other day. New veggie patch in the background.

corner-garden
A day’s harvest of strawberries.

daily-strawberry-harvest

 

Plenty more will be ready in the next few days.

plenty-more-strawberries-ahead

 

Vegetable patch planted on the weekend. Carrots (seeds not seedlings, so you can’t see them), mini capsicum plant, cauliflower x 4, roma tomatoes x 4, mini cos lettuce x 4. Behind the veggie patch (to the left in this pic) we have a couple of native plum trees and a chilli plant, which are not visible in the photos.

vegetable-patch

 

Doing our bit for the bees – they won’t become extinct on our watch! Lavender hedge along back fence is growing well. Every plant has bees. I knew lavender attracted bees, which is why they are along the back fence. If they were close to the house, the kids would see them and never go outside again. This way, the bees can do their thing and they are not bothering us and we can do our thing and we are not bothering them.

lavender

 

There is still oodles of room for the kids to play.

backyard

Down the track we may get some chooks. There is something peaceful and therapeutic about having back yard chickens. Plus they eat the spiders! We just need to make sure we are not encouraging snakes or foxes. Because we certainly don’t want them in our yard! Foxes are cute when you see them in the distance and I wouldn’t care if they came into our yard at the moment (which they don’t), but if we had chickens they wouldn’t be welcome at all. And sorry snake lovers, but I don’t like the thought of snakes in our yard. At. All. Never. Ever. And we have built on land that used to be a known snake path. We had snake sightings last summer and our eyes on the lookout already this year.

So that’s where we are up to in the garden.

What do you have growing?

Karen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments »

Reverse Advent Calendar

I found this pic on Facebook recently.

reverse-advent-calendar

 

It’s from a page called Countdown to Christmas, which I hadn’t heard of before. I am giving you the link to their page out of courtesy, since I have used a picture from there. You will see on the pic there is a website, called mum in the madhouse, which you can check out here. Because I am not one to use other people’s  content without giving them credit. I don’t for a minute presume that my little blog is so widely read that they would see it, but that’s not the point, it’s about being respectful.

Anyway……..we think this Reverse Advent Calendar is a great idea, however Christmas Eve is a little late to be trying to donate a basket of goodies to a charity to distribute, so we are going to do it for the month of November and donate it at the beginning of December. That way it has plenty of time to find its way to a needy family.

So, what kind of things go in such a basket?

There are the practical things – pasta and pasta sauce, rice, tea, coffee, sugar ( just because I keep sugar to a minimum doesn’t mean that everyone else does), breakfast cereal, soap, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, etc.

Then there are the other things – something that’s a bit “pampery” – lipstick, hand lotion, a dearer shampoo or body wash, a nice block of chocolate, fancy tea, there are plenty of options out there.

When it comes to donating items, I always tend to think of the Mum. I have a hard time thinking of what a Dad would like to receive. It can be hard to include something for kids as you don’t know the ages of children in the family the hamper will end up with, but sometimes you just have to take a punt.

I would love it if you would all join in by setting up a basket in  your own home and adding something to it each day (or even a couple of items a week) so that you can then donate it to charity to distribute.

Remember that food items must be in date and non perishable. Do not include frozen or chilled items, even if you purchase these last minute on your way to donating as they probably can’t be accepted due to food safety regulations. If you want to donate meat, buy a gift voucher at the butcher instead.

Who’s in? What sort of things would you put in such a basket?

Karen.

 

 

Leave a comment »

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

I shared on my personal Facebook page the other day how I feel lucky to work in a country school. Our Agriculture Faculty had sent some chickens off to be butchered and I was able to buy a couple, raised and cared for by students as part of their schooling. No nasty chemicals or growth hormones in these chickens. I was also able to buy a few dozen eggs (I have eggs as part of my breakfast every day) and some salad greens – lettuce leaves, spinach, rocket and kale. All produced onsite, all natural, no nasties.

So, being the weekend, with plenty of cooking time available, tonight was the night for our chicken dinner.

Of course I am not going to talk about it without sharing photos!

Forget Colonel Sanders with his 11 secret herbs and spices………I beat him with 14! Which came about because I couldn’t decide what seasonings I wanted to use. Yes, all of these went on the chicken!

14-secret-herbs-and-spices

Almost ready for the oven……(the chicken on the left looks like a demented pig!)

theres-something-still-missing

But I decided there was still something missing! Aaaahhhh…….butter……

ready-for-oven

I ate all of my dinner.

finished

But we did have more than just chicken. I baked some sweet potato and carrots, which are “sometimes foods” on the LCHF plan of eating, some cauliflower and some kale (which are “go for its” with LCHF). I didn’t have any regular potatoes so I the kids had chips (from frozen) and I made a salad.

Tonight’s salad consisted of leaves from the school’s Ag farm, with some capsicum, cheese, cucumber, red onion, carrot, cheese and pickles thrown in. Topped with a squirt or two of kewpie mayonnaise (the lowest sugar mayo I have found on the supermarket shelf). Leftovers below. (Notice there is no leftover wine in the bottle! – that’s not low carb).

leftover-salad

We still have one chicken left, which I have pulled apart for lunches and snacking over the next couple of days.

leftover-chicken

And I have kept the carcasses to make stock or soup tomorrow.

carcasses

Which I haven’t tried before, so hopefully it works! Google is my friend.

What was your Sunday night dinner?

Karen.

 

Leave a comment »

Proof that LCHF is right for me.

In the past 13 weeks I have put 8.5 of my 30kg weight loss back on.

Why is it so?

Because I haven’t been following the LCHF way of eating the way it is meant to be followed. I have been all over the place, on holidays, staying at other people’s places whilst helping to look after Dad and comfort / emotional eating.

Hey, when your terminally ill Dad wants to have Baker’s Delight for lunch, you enjoy it with him. When your mother in law puts a steady supply of lollies in front of you, you enjoy them. When you are on holidays you probably will relax the rules a touch. Or more than a touch. When you are on the road it is sometimes easier to just eat what is there rather than lose time by “being fussy”.  I’m not blaming anybody for my weight gain. It’s my fault. I choose what I eat. And I knew I was choosing the wrong foods and decided to deal with it later. “Monday is next week!”.

Not all the food I’ve eaten has fallen under the junk food category. I have eaten what is considered healthy food – fruit, wraps, yoghurt, vegetables……….they just weren’t always the low carb version. And when I start the day with bacon and eggs, the higher carb foods later in the day don’t play well with them.

Well, later has arrived. I am getting back into the LCHF way of eating and have started losing weight again. I want to look how I did 14 weeks ago. I want to lose this extra weight, plus the 10 -15 kg I still had to go. Let’s say I want to get down to 65kg. I have 18.1kg to lose.

I’m going back and revisiting the basic rules to refresh my mind. I am scrolling the Facebook pages filled with people’s comparison pics and tips/questions/recipes. I’m doing this.

Who’s with me?

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

As Executor, what happens after the funeral?

I filled you in with my last post that Dad passed away in September.

I shared my hiccups that occurred when organising his funeral. I think Dad would be pleased at how it all came together and humbled that over 200 people attended.

So what happens now? I haven’t done this before so I am learning as I go.

The Funeral Director will order the Death Certificate. This takes about 3 weeks to arrive and it comes by registered mail so you have to sign for receiving it. It’s not something they want to go astray. It is a legal document.

Get the mail redirected. Once you have a death certificate you can have the mail redirected for a year for free. You need to do this in person at the post office, it can’t be done online like a regular redirection. In the meantime I have paid for a month to allow time for the certificate to arrive, which was made simple for me as I had Power of Attorney over Dad’s affairs. They asked if he had a concession card but I didn’t have it with me at the time so when I go back this week I will ask if he is entitled to a refund or discount for the month that’s been paid for.

Cancel things. Health fund, telephone, electricity, newspaper delivery, etc. These can be done over the phone (no death certificate needed) and any refunds will be sent by cheque to “the estate of………” so the right person gets the money. More on this further on. As mail arrives, ring and get your loved one removed from mailing lists. If there are bills due, you can pay them and then claim it back from the estate, otherwise get extensions on the due dates and get them paid from the estate. Dad had already passed his car on, so the registration and insurance were already in the process of issuing refund cheques. I do need to return the disabled parking space permit to the RMS.

Unsubscribe from email lists. I have Dad’s computer passwords so am able to get into his computer and emails. Marketing emails have an unsubscribe link which makes it easy. Go back through emails in case there is something you haven’t thought of. A lot of bills arrive electronically these days, so you won’t always find a paper trail.

Find out how long you have to vacate the premises. It took a few intense phone calls to management and a plea for them to see reason and have compassion but I was able to negotiate a little bit of extra time to clear out the villa. As we all live away, we couldn’t go back and forth, it had to be a one trip job for each of us. And as a team we did it.

Make sure the funeral bill gets paid. Dad’s was prepaid, so I only needed to pay the organist. Banks will release funds from the bank account in the form of a cheque to the funeral home when the executor takes the bill to them. The bank will then freeze the account so no other funds can be drawn unless they authorise it. This now becomes a legal / estate issue so the bank is restricted on who any funds can be released to.

Get in touch with your loved one’s legal people – solicitor, accountant/tax agent. Give them a certified copy of the will if they don’t already have one. And give them a certified copy of the death certificate. The word certified is very important. It means the photocopy you are waving under their nose is a true and correct copy of the original and has been stamped and signed by someone who is legally allowed to say so. Those people would be a Solicitor or a Justice of the Peace and there will be others but off the top of my head I can’t tell you who. You can google that one if you like.

Decide if you want to handle the estate or if you want the legal people to do it. I have chosen (with Dad’s okay) to have his solicitor do it because know the process and the laws. I know it will be done right if they do it. Now that the death certificate has arrived, I can get some copies certified and send one each to the solicitor and the accountant and they can do their thing. When someone asks if the will is going to Probate and you replay that you don’t even know what Probate is, you know you are doing the right thing by handing it over to the professionals! It’s a term I heard when I was in banking but I never had to deal with it so I never bothered to learn what it was about. That was handled by a whole other department interstate. If you are going to DIY, you will need to set up a bank account in the “estate of the late……..” and that is where refunds and other monies will go. If there are shares or investments to cash in, the proceeds will go into this account. Superannuation needs to be released into this account. If a solicitor is handling it, they will have a trust account set up for receiving funds. Once everything has been gathered and any legal matters been dealt with  and debts paid and anything else (tax return to date of death for example), then the estate can be dispersed as per the will. Using a solicitor means they do all of this.

Write everything down as you do it. I probably should have put this one first. You make so many phone calls and will have trouble remembering who told you what. And you forget if you rang the electricity company or the phone company and who was sending a refund cheque and who was sending a bill to be paid.

Notify Centrelink, the tax office, electoral office, Medicare, etc. I think they are all linked up these days and when you notify one government department, it will carry through to the others. That’s what happened when we moved and I changed my address. I updated it with one and I got confirmation letters from others. I imagin I will need to take the death certificate with me. I will start at Centrelink as Medicare is in the same place these days.

There will be things that I have missed in this post. Like I said, I haven’t done this before and I am learning as I go.

I know that I do need to organise a “Return Thanks” notice in the newspaper. I also need to email the Parish Secretary to ask the size of the memorial plaque that goes on the wall with Dad’s ashes so we can choose the wording. We tried to have a look at some prior to Dad’s funeral but the gate was locked. So google it is. I will put a suggestion forward to the family and see if they would make any changes. It’s not something that is mine, it is for all the family so they need the opportunity for input.

So that’s a bit of a run down of what you do as an executor. It’s not hard, it’s just unknown territory. Hopefully it will be a long time before you need to step into that role.

Karen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Organising a Funeral

Okay, so those of you who are friends on my personal page (almost all of you) would know by now that my Dad passed away from cancer on 7th Sept.

As Dad’s cancer advanced, his goal was to reach his 78th birthday because his own Dad passed away at 77. Dad turned 78 on 1st Sept. He did it! Then he let go, too tired and weak, with little quality of life to warrant continuing the fight. He spent less than 24 hours in hospital. He was ready to meet his God.

There was a wonderful team of family, friends and nurses helping to care for Dad, without whom he would have had to go into a care facility as life has seen his 3 offspring spread around the country and globe. Neighbours popped in or called out as they passed his place to make sure he was okay, the women cooked meals and baked cakes to keep his sweet tooth satisfied. You know when someone says “let me know if there is anything I can do”……..I sent some very ripe bananas to a neighbour and asked her to bake something with them or else they were being thrown out and within half an hour we had warm banana muffins in our hands. Something to offer visitors as they came.

Dad was a very practical and organised man. (I wonder if that has rubbed off on me?!) He prepaid his funeral, had his readings and hymns for the funeral chosen, had me authorised as his Power of Attorney and Medical Guardian for when he could no longer get around and/or make sound decisions, made sure I had contact numbers for anyone he has professional services with, went through is financial records with me, ensured I have access to his computer, introduced me to the lady at his Church who puts the funeral service together, organised catering for his wake and did almost everything he could except book in the date.

Which is where I came to my first hiccup!

I rang the funeral directors and organised an appointment. We chose a date and time and tried to ring the Priest to make sure it was okay. After two days of leaving messages and escalating it to the Bishop’s office we discovered the Priest was away on retreat and as a result the Parish Secretary was not needed to be in the office, hence the answering machine hadn’t been checked to be able to return my call. A few more phone calls between a few people saw Father ring the funeral home (great timing as I had popped in and was there at the time) to advise that the original date didn’t suit.

In the meantime I had been to the venue where the wake is to be held to put Dad’s plans into place with the tentative date and to pay a deposit. The caterer had already told me that it would be no trouble to change the date, so we did.

Cue me making a phone call to the funeral coordinator at the Parish – only to leave a message on her answering machine. I have since discovered that she is away! Dad, you were so organised, we couldn’t have everything run smoothly, could we?! Another lady at the Parish is helping with what needs to be done there.

Dad lived in a complex owned by a local aged care service but the complex was completely independent living, with no staff onsite. I have a name and contact number to ring but guess what? That lady is away until Monday!!!! We have two weeks from the date of death to clear out the villa – I know this because Dad had already called to ask. I’m sure the company will have heard along the grapevine by now but they would need to be officially notified by the family.

So my next job is to organise pall bearers. I have teed up 4 out of 6 so far and may go with a 7th, depending if those I have in mind are able to attend Dad’s funeral. That is something I would rather ask people over the phone rather than by email, so those calls will be made tomorrow. Dad was happy with the list of names I came up with when he asked me to take this task on.

Anyway, we have a funeral. It’s a bit like organising a wedding in that everything has to line up and you feel stressed until you have everything in neat rows.

I haven’t had a big cry yet, just a couple of times with a few tears. Like I said to Dad, the emotional side will catch up with me later. First, I have jobs to do. I am very much like him in this regard.

My writing tonight has been a brain dump – there is so much bouncing around in there I just had to get it out to make sense of it.

Hope you don’t mind Dad!

Karen xx

Leave a comment »