One Little Word 2014: Thrive

As has been my way, the last four or five years, I have chosen a word as a banner for the year. One that will be a focus and point of measure for the things I am hoping to achieve. This year I am once again participating in Ali Edwards One Little Word group after not taking part last year.

My one little word for 2014 is Thrive.

It is time to grow, prosper, flourish and bloom. A time to settle down roots and take up the blessings I have been given, using them for better and to bless others. There is so much more that is hovering on the edges to share which will no doubt come to the fore and be more relevant as the year goes on.

In 2014 my OLW album will be pretty simple. Following Ali’s prompts, examples and down loads. No reinventing the wheel, or doing it digital, or hybrid. It is about the word and the place it has in my life. The actuality instead of the craft. That said I am sure there will be a little of it sneaking in somewhere.

Like this fun little graphic I made earlier today on the iPad utilising Rhonna Designs App.

ThriveRD

One challenge is Ali and I chose the same word. Trying to be authentic and not compare my work with hers will be something to work on. Many of her reasons and things she is hoping for in choosing her word are the same ones I am wanting. It resonates with all I want this year to hold.

It was quite a process to feel it is the correct One Little Word for me in 2014 so I am sticking with Thrive. :)

 

 

New Zealand and Hobbiton

The trip to New Zealand was over before I knew it. A bittersweet time as my purpose in being there was to assist my elderly Aunt in traveling, and take her husbands ashes home to be buried. It was his wish and she wanted to carry it out for him.

The day itself was beautiful and while sad it was nice to know he was home. Though he liked Australia he always talked about his precious New Zealand whenever I had the opportunity to see him.

While most of our time there was for family and the things that needed to be done we did have a chance to get around a bit. His family took some time out to show me the place that he loved so much. They really blessed us with their time. It is always great to be shown around by a local instead of the more traditional touristy methods.

LaVieEnChic_Murawi Beach NZ

We saw wild West Coast beaches, amazing forests, Rotorua Geysers (a bit stinky :) ), and the splendid Hamilton Garden’s, all the while traveling through wonderful countryside. A day trip around Auckland and views from the top of The Sky Tower, in the middle of the city there, were further highlights.

One place I was thrilled to visit was the set of Hobbiton in Matamata on the North Island of New Zealand. Wow! What a beautiful area. No wonder they decided to film in that place. It was perfect in every aspect.

lavie_hobbiton My children were a little miffed at me getting to visit the place before they did but we hope to get everyone over there some day for a vacation. Perhaps playing the Hobbit version of Monopoly I picked up for them will provide some consolation. :)

Every area of the North Island that we visited is as stunning as you see in the tourist brochures, and they tell me over there that the South Island is even more beautiful. That, and the friendliness of the people there, is enough for me to want to visit New Zealand again.

20 Years

My eldest son celebrates his birthday today. Seems like only yesterday he was born yet here he is turning twenty.

We follow a wheat free diet most of the time so his youngest sister experimented with a gluten free cake. Did a pretty good job too!

image

 

The card was made using paper from the Pro-Player WOTG Scrapbook kit utilising the pattern and exclusive stamp set from the Laughing Lola WOTG Cardmaking kit.

My sister had her birthday this week, along with one niece. Another niece had a baby boy this week too, so it has been one long week of celebrating.

Did you celebrate anything this week?

 

Adrift

One of the fun things about living here is walking the beach and collecting looking at driftwood. Yes we used to collect it but let’s just say it started to take over the courtyard.

Little did we know when we moved here there would be a constant, at times immense, supply of the stuff. All the floods earlier in the year brought us a huge range to choose from.

LaVieEnChic_DriftWood

Now we admire and discuss and decide if a piece is something we are really going to do something with or if it’s just going to get thrown on the pile.

We do have some lovely driftwood, with artistic plans for each one. There is a bunch of smaller, well sun bleached and weathered twigs which I am planning to make some sort of garland, banner or swag type thing to decorate with for Christmas. Other than that we have a lot of firewood excess.

Today we had the opportunity to help out a friend who needed a mass collection for his business which makes and sells art sculpture based on driftwood.

We met across on the north shore of Port Macquarie and went fossicking along the Hastings River and coastline. A bunch of us met and had a picnic first. It was the first time that we had been across the river which is done by car ferry on a winch. That was an adventure for the kids in itself.

LaVieEnChic_Port-Macquarie-North-Beach

The coastal beach on this side is desolate in it’s wild beauty. Windswept, awash in coastal grasses and driftwood it was a stunning place to hang out for the afternoon.

Been feeling a little adrift lately with everything going on behind the scenes. Good busy as always, but not finding time to nurture or be nurtured with any depth. A day out like today, helping someone else, spending time in nature, was just the ticket to break that.

LaVieEnChic_Port-Macquarie-from-the-North-Shore

The view across the river back towards Port Macquarie is lovely. It must be something at night. Maybe a twilight drive out that way next time I am feeling adrift.

 

 

Wild and Windy

Loving the weather here. Usually blissful and so mild, even winter has not be too cold. We have wanted the heater on a couple of mornings though.

Today we had the most amazing storm fronts coming through and with the sun setting behind us the view was stunning.

ninejuly

The double rainbow in this image became about 4 fading in to each other.

We are so thankful for the beauty that surrounds us and natures masterpieces.

Getting back Online

This blog disappeared for a bit due to some server issues after we moved. Which explains the lack of content for quite a while.

Settling back in Australia took on a whole new life of it’s own very quickly, and utter exhaustion for me. Mind you I arrived home tired after all the packing up in such a short time.

Recapping the last 9 months…

We went from a fairly restricted life on a compound, where the most we had to go was 5 minutes walk, to suddenly having freedom at our disposal. I was once again able to drive my car to the shops. Not be driven. Not have to get a taxi driver.

Me, in the car, on my own. Bliss!

Just going out for milk is such a pleasure. The novelty has still not worn of but of course it also means I join that elite group of people known as “taxi Mum’s and Dad’s.

Of course the same freedom that opened up to me also opened up to the kids and we have been trying all sorts of new adventures. Along with our usual swimming there has been singing, drum lessons, continued piano and various other outings on a regular basis.

We also enjoyed meeting up with other home-schoolers and joined a local co-op. This was a rare privilege out there. Here it is a weekly occurrence and they do lots of fun learning activities. We made some lovely friends through this already.

We rented a home in Sydney’s outskirts. Enjoyed the area but did not feel quite settled.

So one day in December, while hubby was home we got to chatting about where we should go – or to stay. Spur of the moment (after what had really been months of research on my part) we decided to jump in the car, head up the coast to a beachside town and have a look at a couple of rentals.

Long story short – we moved to Port Macquarie 3 weeks later.

Always wanting to be by the ocean, and needing to escape the “settled for rat race” I felt we were being drawn into, it seemed like just what we all needed.

New-Home

So far it has proven to be true. It feels like we have finally come home. The weather is up and down and amazing. There is so much to see and do. We have a view of the ocean from our home and can walk to the beach in 2 mins – without crossing a road.

Older two have jobs, one is doing further study and the two younger ones are finding their feet also.

Me, still crazy busy. Loving driving them everywhere still. Not sure when that will wear off. Guess I do have 14 years with no driving (unless I was here or in the USA) to make up for.

It’s been a year of loss also. In May one of my longest dearest friends lost her husband. He was only 51 and leaves behind a gorgeous wife and 4 children. That one is going to be hard to understand.

My precious Aunt, whom I care very much for, also lost the love of her life. Being their Matron of Honour when they married was a privilege and I came to care for him very much too. Planning a funeral for him, helping her, and dealing with it all was a very big learning experience.

I decided this year that my One Little Word was to be Nurture. Not sure I have achieved it in quite the way I hoped but as I look at so many things that have happened this year perhaps it was the instinctive and right choice. Much of the time it was me nurturing others. So thankful I am able to be here and help.

Which brings me to now. June. Halfway through the year and no idea what the rest will hold. From here – perhaps slowing down a bit and trying to get some mojo back for being creative and blogging.

I might have to do a flashback series sometime down the track to document the last year.

A Whole New World

Yes, I have been very slack at not updating on here. After arriving back overseas we settled in for a rest and recuperation after the busyness of the last few months. I for one needed some down time.

Time also to get some concentrated book work with the children. It is ideal this time of year as the temperature is so humid and hot, at around 48+ most days, to go outside. At least not feeling like you are walking into a wall of warm bath water.

Most people are away for the Northern Hemisphere summer holidays so it is very quiet on our compound and not much to distract us.

After 7 or so weeks of being here, without our eldest son, my husband decided it was time to pack the other kids and I up and send us back to live in Australia. We are paying a lot of the expenses there and so we may was well enjoy that privilege. :)

Things have changed so much here. While we enjoy it there is not the same atmosphere, nor “fun” that there was many years ago. I think a lot of that has to do with being stuck out here in the desert on the “resort style” compound jokingly called Alcatraz. It’s a big fishbowl and the community has not “gelled” like it was in the old place.

It is a quick decision – and I have about 3 weeks to wrap up nearly 14 years of living here and relocate to Australia.

How apt was my One Little Word choice for this year? Whoever new it would be so much moving?

That said, with no time for anything but packing, let alone blogging – see you on the other side…..the other side of the world. :)

 

 

 

Another Move

The last 4 months have been a whirlwind of coming and going. Including a trip to Perth to sort out our stuff in storage and catch up with family.

We moved Son #1 into accommodation. He has a job, and a car, and is relishing the idea of being a bachelor.  :)

We are on the move back overseas. Leaving him behind. Lots of adjustment ahead…..

Not sure when I’ll be back…

Not the Move We Want

The time has come for my son to leave here. October last year was his 18th, and his Iquama residency visa runs out in a couple of weeks. If he remains he will have outstayed his welcome as a boy, now being considered a man, and of no use unless he is here on a work visa. Girls may stay as long as they wish – boys however must be a danger. Totally surreal but do not get me started on that. If he were here without the visa it could mean prison time.

He, my youngest daughter, and I, will be away for a number of months getting him set up back in Australia. The middle two decided they would stay here, continue with their studies and keep their daddy company.

We will be busy in Australia working towards him hopefully getting into more study, finding a job, somewhere to live, a car, and everything else he will need.

My sister has offered to share her home until we get established. That is one huge silver lining. Looking forward to hanging out with extended family for a while.

Then it will be back here without him – something else not to start me on. He, and I, will be fine. We are used to being apart and all the coming and going. Somehow though it seems the beginning of the end for the way our life has been.

Not exactly the sort of MOVE I was thinking about this year for my one little word.

For now we are packing up the last 13 years of his life and getting ready to leave late this month. Not sure how long it will be till I get internet after I leave, or when I will get back to blogging.

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Fruit Salsa

Fruit Salsa was originally introduced to us by my good friend Coleen in Dallas on one of our trips to America. It is something she keeps, on hand in the fridge, through the hot summer months for when you don’t really feel like eating in the heat. It is refreshing – and oh so tasty.

She served it to us with baked salmon – wonderful combination!

Of course I had to get the recipe. Fruit salsa is not a precise art. It depends what is in season and you can add or take away ingredients, or combinations of them, to get the taste you want for the occasion.

We were having a few friends over for a Mexican fiesta. Everyone brought their favourite mexican dish, and a side or two to share. Awesome way of having a get together with friends – and tasty lots of yummy foods. Recipe swaps often follow!

I made a Tortilla Soup and Mexican Fruit Salsa and Black Bean Double Choc Cookies. Everyone seemed to enjoy the soup. The cookie…well let’s say on the day not so much but as the week went on they grew in flavour.

The salsa however was a huge hit. Everyone took some home. One friend tried to guess what was in it but was not happy with her version. I have had requests and emails and FB prompts asking for my salsa recipe.

So finally ladies – here it is! With the following tips from Coleen… I usually use whatever is in season or looks good at the grocery store.  I usually cut the pieces fairly small, like a relish. But there is no law that says you have to cut small pieces. Fruit and vegetables – I like to get the fruit firm but not so hard you can use it as a hockey puck. :)

Now would you just look at this bowl of deliciousness. My fruit salsa – with a mexican twist.

Sharyn’s Mexican Fruit Salsa.

  • 1 medium size Jicama – diced very small
  • 2 medium size Mango’s – diced small
  • 1 punnet strawberries – hulled and chopped smallish
  • 1/2 punnet grape tomatoes – chopped into quarters
  • 1 red capsicum (bell pepper) diced very small
  • 1 orange capsicum – diced very small
  • 1 yellow capsicum – diced very small
  • 3 spring onions – sliced very fine
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – chopped very very fine (this is a large bunch)
  • 4 limes – juiced
  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt – be liberal. be very liberal.

Literally toss everything in a bowl and mix well. Make sure it is salty. Then put it in the fridge overnight. Seriously, this salsa needs to be allowed to mix and mingle, getting it’s meld on with all those yummy ingredients blending together to create an exquisite creation that you just cannot resist.
:)

Now – you may want to add a little more of something or less of something – go for it. That’s the beauty of this recipe. I know the Coleens original one had plums and nectarines in it. However for this meal I wanted to keep it less sweet. Crisp and light.

And the twist? Did anyone notice the corn? At the last minute I decided to make it more Mexican “Fiestaish” by adding some corn. Yumm!

If you make this – I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and let me know what you added, and how you enjoyed it?