Christmas (Xmas) in July Grainger Style


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I love Christmas, well Santa’s really.

I have loads and loads of Santa’s and his helpers, some hand made and some bought, but I love them all.

10 years ago our  sons moved out of home and that was the last time that my Santa’s and his helpers saw the light of day. Last November, due to major health issues my in-laws moved into our home, and Grumpy Grainger decided that the Santa’s and his helpers could move to our lock up, poor buggers, banished to the cold and damp. So he picked them all up and took them down to the dark and damp lock up, where they sat waiting patiently for me to set our house up at Christmas time, that wasn’t going to happen or organise a  Xmas in July.

What started out as me wanting to set up our home with the Santa’s and his helpers turned out to be a wonderful evening.

I initially put up an expression of interest for our friends on Facebook, expecting no more than about 20 of our friends, and all of our friends said that they wanted to come, so I decided to contact our club and see if we could hold the function (the numbers had grown to about 40 people at this stage and we didn’t want to have that many people in our home on a cold winters evening) at the MOFSC, well it took a bit of pressure on my part with a lot of pressure from Grumpy and we finally agreed on a cost for the meal and the night so I then created flyers and tickets, and each Thursday and Friday evenings I put flyers around the club and on the Saturday evenings, the girls from the restaurant put more flyers on the tables.

Well the numbers got to 72 on the evening, however 1 couple were not able to come as poor Marina broke her arm on her bike the previous weekend, so we had 70 attendees.

It was so much fun, the theme for Secret Santa presents was naughty or nice, and everyone had to buy a gift for the same sex to the value of $15, wrap it in newspaper and put a B for boy and G for girl on it, some people didn’t read the instructions very well and wrapped then pressies in pretty or Xmas paper.

We had a big blow up Santa on a Harley Davidson in the corner, on loan from Diane & Coleman, Anita borrowed some fantastic reindeer (Some were handmade) from her art class, we had a true Aussie Christmas tree (a potted green ficus), with g strings attached, decorated in true Christmas form and Santa’s and their helpers everywhere. The dinner started at 6:30 and once it was dark outside and the lights on the setting was like a true Christmas grotto.

Some of the pressies were a real laugh and everyone got into the spirit of the evening, I even dressed up as Sassy (my friend Bryan called me Sexy) Mother Christmas with my lovely short dress, stockings and broken suspenders.

A big thankyou to the ladies who came and helped me set up the Santa’s and the tables.

All we have to do now is book again for next year, I am thinking the theme might be hand made or DIY??

The secret to keeping flowers fresh is simple


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The  secret to keeping flowers fresh in my opinion is simple, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the idea from. This photo was taken last night 23/07/14, the flowers were given to me by my good friend Shelley for my birthday on Saturday 12/7/14, more than 1 week ago and they are still beautiful.

We were at a Christmas in July dinner at MOFSC and she brought the flowers in to me, as the table was full, I had to put them on the floor, when the dinner was over, we had to clean the restaurant and pack up all the decorations for collection the next morning. When we had cleaned up, packed all the Santa’s in their bags and crates, we went down to the boat to go to bed, I put the flowers 0n the galley bench until we got home the next morning, we woke up, went up to the club, after several trips with wheelbarrows back to the boat with the Santa’s, we finally go home around 9:00am when I put the flowers in as vase, I added the secret ingredient and look at them now.

Aspro clear soluble tablets is my secret and it really does work to keep flowers beautiful and fresh.

 

Thermomix Degustation – Grainger Style


The idea started last year when I commented to one of my friends that I haven’t used my Thermomix as much as I should.

Terry, my friends husband said that they would invite us over one free weekend to have a Thermomix dinner, however 12 months on and we still hadn’t organised something.

Thermomix. Receta MiniMagdalenas

Thermomix. Receta MiniMagdalenas (Photo credit: chocolatisimo)

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So I thought I might have another Thermomix dinner party with a few friends, after mentioning to a couple of friends, it has now turned into a Thermomix Degustation dinner, Grainger Style.

One of our friends sells the machines, so I asked Margy what she thought of the idea and she thought it was fantastic, so I mentioned my idea to a few more people, ladies who don’t have a thermie, and they too were excited.
The general consensus was great idea, so I decided on a date 12th April (Terry & Marina were on holiday until 11th and so were Diane & Coleman) and we have other friends going away on the 16th, so the 12th was the date.
I sat down and went through the Everyday cookbook (the new one), wrote down a whole list of recipes that I thought we could cook easily.  I was short a few, so rang Margy and asked her to give me some ideas.
Between the 2 of us we came up with a fantastic menu for our degustation.  By this time, I had loads of people asking if they could come, due to space, unfortunately we had to limit the numbers to 28.  Including Greg and myself after the invites and responses we have 25 attendees.
We decided that we would have our dinner party at the club (MOFSC), however, I won’t go into details, but the powers that be decided to put up too many  roadblocks, in my opinion unwarranted, (they obviously did not want us to be there), so now we are having it at our house.  Since starting this, we have had that many people ask if they can come to the next one, so hopefully if everything goes well tomorrow, there will be plenty more to come, but we will have to limit the number to 25 if we have a sit down meal.
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Greg set up all the tables and chairs last weekend, cleaned the windows and is generally being a good sport about the whole thing, given that he does not think much of the thermie.
I have spent this last week sorting out menus, ingredient lists and quantities, emailing all invited and asking for donations of food, that we require small quantities so that we  don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy stuff especially if we only need 50g of something.
I cant believe how generous everyone has been, I think that everyone has donated something to the mix
We now have 6 machines coming, wow!! I am sure it will be a fantastic evening.
We wanted to create and cook a large variety of food to be able to utilise the machine as much as possible, hence the degustation.
I have sorted out a few of the pantry items,both out of my pantry and some of the invited guests have given me their donations early.
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Table cloths, table settings, the table pretties (balloons & marshmallows) organised by Shelley and Marina, meat by Margy, groceries by Greg & Lee, thermies, and accessories by Marina, Shelley, Margy, Lee, Michelle and Julie, name place  settings by Maxine,lots of donations from all of the other ladies.
Thanks girls.
Our menu for our inaugural Thermomix degustation :-
Cocktails
Midori Splice
Strawberry Daiquiri
Peach Bellini
Tropical splice daiquiri
Home made lemonade
Appetisers
Sundried tomato dip
Herb & garlic dip
Capsicum & sundried tomato dip
Chicken liver pate
Foccacia – dukkah
Pizza Bianca
Entrees
Chicken Valute soup
Pumpkin feta zucchini field mushroom
Herbal chicken hors doeuvres
Arancini with saffron aioli
Mains
Chicken Valute meal
Lamb rack with port sauce on mashed potato
Beef stroganoff & mashed potato
Curry chicken & rice
Mushroom risotto
Desserts
Sweet chocolate & strawberry pizza
Lemon coconut pudding
Simple almond cheese – dairy free ricotta cheese with quince paste
Sticky date pudding / butterscotch sauce & custard
Fruity berry dream

Camp Quality Grainger Style


Camp Quality Grainger Style

On Sunday we participated in Camp Quality at our club (MOFSC, Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club). It was our first time as we were under the impression that it was only for house boats and pontoon boats.  because they are able to do crabbing and fishing up the estuary and we are not.  I  have since spoken to a lot of bigger boat owners at the club and all were disappointed that they were not aware of the need for different types of boats to be involved and I am sure that next year, they will try and keep the date free to be able to get involved.

Our club co-coordinator approached us a few weeks ago and asked if we would consider using our boat to take some families of the Camp quality kids around the estuary, we did explain that we didn’t think our boat was suitable due to the draft (the amount of water we need under the propellers,)  we were advised that ALL boats are suitable.  We said yes we will join the others. We had 4 families on our boat, and  we had a fantastic day. Even Grumpy dressed up.

The theme for our Camp Quality day is pirates.  There were that many pirates at our club on Sunday it was not funny.  There were  over 200 people that our boating members took out on the water for a few hours.  Water fights (water bombs, water guns, pistols, hoses and by one cheating pirate, buckets) were the highlight of the day. Unfortunately for our guests, I didn’t prepare very well (Grumpy’s words) because I didn’t fill up any water balloons so we had one of the boys, one of the mothers and 1 of the fathers filling up and getting ready the water bombs, to our detriment, however, we kept running out of ammunition and we wore the brunt of most of the other boaties firing lines.  In other words, were got soaked the entire time.

My friend Shelley and I made 100 lolly bags, one for each of the kids, we had to ensure that all children received a lolly bag, as it would have been unbearable for any child to be without. We had a lovely BBQ lunch with lots and lots of crabs, (250) that were donated by one of the local fisherman. One of the local supermarkets donated and fishing rod and reel for every child, we had bread rolls donated, someone made a huge cake with Camp Quality on it. It never ceases to amaze me, the generosity of our community.

Nearly all the boaties dressed up in pirate gear and we were no exception, I did go to the fancy dress shop and found that I wasn’t impressed with the selection of the clothing so  I went through my closet and found a red and white striped shirt, a black vest and a pair of harem pants, Grumpy wore his Maritimo shirt and Braandi was all dressed up in a pirate outfit.  We had so many comments about her as ran around the boat in her costume and just look gorgeous.

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We had 2 mermaids come up on the beach and I took the little girl down to have a swim, big mistake, she wanted to swim and look for fish, so the rest of the afternoon while we were sitting having lunch she whimpered and made all sorts of whiny noises, until I noticed a border collie swimming in the beach, so I let her go down and swim for another hour or so before it was time to go home.

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50’s inspired dresses for high tea


HIGH TEA

This post is inspired by my beautiful daughter in law Natasha (Tash, or Trashy as Kyel calls her), she just loves anything from the 1950’s.

After the second World War, there was a movement to have women go back into the home and the kitchen, to do “women’s duties” raising their children cooking and looking after the house.

1950s fashion was an enormous part of this movement. Unlike the severe styles of the 1940s clothing, 1950s fashions emphasized femininity, with softened shoulders, stilettos, wrist length gloves and full circle skirts with petty coats and pearls. Even working women’s outfits hinted at femininity, with pencil skirts and tiny hats with veils and feathers.

In truth, the New Look for 1950s women originated in the 1940s, with Christian Dior’s collection Corolle. This collection was a complete contrast to the severe, “make do, and fix ” aesthetic of 1940s fashion with full skirts, softened shoulders, a tight waist, emphasizing the bust and the hourglass shaped figure, thus creating the perfect feminine figure.

Dior went on to invent more haute couture 1950s fashions, including names like the Princess Line, Profile Line, A Line, and the H Line. His influence remained high all through the 1950s and Other fashion houses were forced to follow his originalities.

However, this perfect female figure was not possible in nature. Corsets, and “corselettes” made a comeback at the same time that those horrid conical bras became popular. ” Advertisements described them as “comfortable,” and even “innovative.”

When Tash was thinking about her kitchen tea, she wanted all attendees to dress up in the 1950’s, everyone looked fabulous.  And for Mother’s day last year, Mummy, Tash and I had a high tea at the Duxton. The experience was wonderful with lovely petit fours.  For Tash’s birthday she wanted to do the high tea idea again, this time with a 1950’s theme. The girls (Tash and her friends) all wore dresses with the 1950’s in mind.

She showed me a Facebook page of a lady in Bunbury Red Leopard Photography http://redleopardphotography.com.au/ who does 1950’s photography and has decided that she would love one of these photo sessions for her birthday and I decided that I would love to join her

 

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Casual Friday


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Some companies allow employees to wear casual dress on Fridays. While not all companies allow it, it is becoming a growing trend.

If your workplace offers casual Friday, it can be something to look forward to at the end of the week. Not knowing what to wear and how to dress for it can sometimes make it more of a headache than a bonus.

If an outfit is something you would wear to the beach or an outfit that you would wear to a night club is something that would not necessarily be considered suitable to wear to the office. Leggings without a long top covering your bottom is NOT acceptable  as a work outfit.

 Some Ideas

  • Read your employment agreement or company policies to find out what is and isn’t acceptable attire for casual Friday. Follow the guidelines closely, you don’t want to risk your reputation or your job on something as trivial as the clothing that you wear.
  •  Ask other workers for some ideas of what they wear, especially someone who has worked for the company for a reasonable length of time
  •  It’s a good idea to stay professional and respectful even if it’s casual Friday. You don’t want to dress too casual, however, you can wear less formal clothes, but you still want to retain a level of professionalism.
  • Most companies will allow jeans and T shirts, and generally both men and women care wear these items and still look professional. You can also choose a casual skirt, however ensure that you don’t wear anything shorter than an 2.5cm or an inch above the knee. Ballet flats or low heels are also always considered appropriate. Men don’t necessarily have to Tuck their shirts in, as even a nice looking T shirt can look neat and tidy, shoes should always be worn by men, NOT thongs, loafers, deckies (deck shoes) or lace up leather shoes, even a decent pair of joggers can look professional, but leave the old rotten joggers at home.
  • If there is ever a possibility to be called in to meet a client or attend a business meeting, ensure that you keep a change of outfit suitable for the occasion, eg. Swap the t shirt with a blouse, and even a pair of jeans can look professional and if you do need to change clothes for whatever other reason, you will be prepared by bringing corporate / professional clothes to change into in an emergency.
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