Thursday, 30 October 2014

Oh, the joy of summer!

Sunday was the end of British Summer Time and the return to Greenwich Mean Time. In real terms that means the beginning of the winter months, the colder days, the darker nights....not really my favourite time of the year, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with crisp, dry days, especially if there's a bit of sunshine thrown in too! But living in the UK usually means many a dull, grey and wet day, with ever colder temperatures that never seem to end....ah, but at least there is Christmas to look forward to. 

This year I marked the end of summer by swimming in the sea!! Don't worry, I haven't gone completely mad! We spent the first half of our school holiday in one of my favourite places in the world – Puerto Pollensa in the north of Mallorca.

For those of you who don't know, Mallorca is the biggest of the three Balaeric Islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea and belonging to Spain.

On Sunday, the sun was shining brightly, the temperature happily in the mid 20's (Celsius of course!) and we had lots of fun 'en famille' playing on the beach and in the sea.

Hmmm, good memories to hold onto in the dark days of winter. So, I was thinking back over the last few months and wondering what other summer pleasures I shall remind myself of when I need brightening up....

**Sitting on a bench in the Abbey Churchyard eating my lunch and listening to the hubbub of tourists waiting in a LONG line to get into the Roman Baths. There's a busker in the middle of the square playing flamenco guitar and there are children excitedly chasing the pigeons eagerly waiting for food scraps. The sun is shining. 

**Lazing on a sunny Sunday afternoon, lying on a blanket, watching the clouds and listening to a brass band play in the park bandstand. Especially when it's Mendip Brass Band!

**The laughter of children playing in water - either at home, splashing in the paddling pool or running through the water sprinkler or on holiday, gaining confidence jumping into the pool.

**The smell of freshly mown grass.

**Using our patio as an extra dining room. I LOVE eating outside!

**The simplicity of salad for lunch and dinner - every day!! 

**And the challenge to eat your ice cream before it melts in the sunshine.

**Picking & eating strawberries until there are none left. My dad has a strawberry patch in his garden & I've picked strawbs there every year for as long as I can remember. It's so lovely to do it with my children now.

**Music: at the brilliant Cock and Bull Festival, listening to new music, meeting old friends, crazy Sunday morning dancing, crochet on the move....

And in the square in Pollensa, a fabulous rumba band enthralling everyone, especially my children!

**The sound of thunder crashing overhead whilst the rain beats on the roof? Not so much when you're in a tent!! But once passed, the storm usually brings clearer skies and a unique freshness.

**The feeling of hot sand in your toes as you walk along the beach listening to the waves crash on the shore. Oh yes, every time!! 

Hmmmm, lovely warm memories. I wonder, what does summer mean for you?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Me? Crazy?!

I love my friends, I really do! I especially love the ones - you know who you are - who, on receiving a slightly random request in a text message from me on a Friday afternoon, just smile to themselves and delve around in their recycling box hoping to help me out in my randomness! Yes, I'm like that. And my friends are like that too! Thank you.

Let me explain....

Next weekend I'm organising (or perhaps I should say 'curating' according to the new buzz word on organising events!) an Afternoon Tea Party for a friend's 40th birthday. I'm gathering vintage crockery & tablecloths, baking cakes, working out exactly how many sandwiches we'll need and just where I'm going to store the numerous tissue pom-poms required to decorate the space, as well as furiously making bunting and worrying about whether there will be enough food, and and and...the list goes on.

But on Friday I decided I needed to work out the easiest - and cheapest - way to put a few flowers on each table. Glasses, maybe. Spice jars, too small. Jam jars, maybe. In a flash I realised the answer - tin cans, covered in tissue paper with an added paper doiley! Yippee! Simple, yet pretty and pretty much cost-free. Provided I could find some cans of course!! My friends really are ace - I managed to get 8 out of the 12 needed and have now procured the rest!

Here's what I've done with them....

Start with a clean tin can, outside paper removed.

Pick your favourite colour of tissue paper and cut a piece to size.

I think for these cans the paper needed to be 110 x 250mm

Take your can and cover it in PVA glue. Carefully place the tissue paper on the can. Line it up with either the top or the bottom and smooth it around the can.

Once in place, paint some more PVA over the top of the paper to add a varnish. Allow to dry.

Next, take your paper doiley and cut it in half.

Carefully put some PVA onto the outside of the can & place the doiley on top. Smooth into place. 


Leave to dry, then add some flowers and water. 


Now I'm off to count how many vintage plates I have in my garage...

Friday, 1 August 2014

Read any good books lately??

I really love the summer holidays, I do! In the run-up with at least 101 things to do every day, I can't wait for school to break up. I absolutely love knowing that the alarm won't be going off, that I won't have to shepherd small-ish people out of the door by a certain time, and that most of the running around from here to there will calm down. Suppose I look forward to not having so many responsibilities and pulls on my time.

In my head we would have all the time in the world, every day. We girls could craft and cook and visit and play and read.... In my head I would have more time for reading. I even gathered a pile of books that I would work through (see below). In days of yore, holidays were all about reading. I'd take a pile of books away with me & often wish I'd brought more! Not so much these days with children to keep an eye on. But still I like to have a few good books lined up...

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell (because my girls are so very different, because I want to be sure they understand how much I love them, because I think it'll be an interesting read)

The Fault in our Stars by John Green (recommended by a good friend)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (this month's Book Club Book)

Ruby Redfort : Look into my eyes by Lauren Child (recommended for my 8yo. She likes me reading to her so the books need to be enjoyable for both of us!))

Spanish for Dummies (we're going on holiday in 2 weeks! Last year I vowed I'd learn Spanish before our next visit! Ha!)

In reality, time still flies by! There are just not enough hours in the day! Our days are indeed filled with craft and cooking and visiting and playing and reading, but not always in quite the relaxed way I had in mind!! C'est la vie!!

So, my reading list....suddenly I'm not so sure I'll get through any of them! 

I'm going to have a quick peruse of the Spanish book in the hope that this year I can say more than Holá! and Gracias.

Since my eldest daughter loves me to read to her at bedtime, I think Ruby Redfort is the only one I can guarantee will be finished before school starts again! 

The Fault in our Stars looks to be a fairly easy read although the topic is a bit close to my heart which makes me slightly wary. Self-preservation and all....

The Five Love Languages will be a 'dipper', I'll read a bit here and there and gradually make my way through it. Some books are good like that, aren't they?

I desperately want to read The Goldfinch since I've heard such good things about it, but wow, it's a big book with teeny tiny writing! Is it just me or do others find that daunting, too? I'm not sure I'll be able to read this in time for our next Book Club!

I've been reading more books on my Kindle app recently but I really do love holding a real book (and find reading in the bath too scary with my iPad in my hand!), so thought I'd get this in hard copy. I'm now wondering if I shouldn't have bought the kindle version after all! Perhaps this will be my true 'holiday book'. Perhaps lying beside the pool with the sounds of the kids splashing about in the water might be the ideal time.

What's on your summer reading list? Do you even have a list??

Monday, 21 July 2014

The quickest homemade gift....

It's almost the end of term and boy, are we all feeling it?! What with that, the heat and the humongous thunderstorm over the weekend, this household is on a bit of a go-slow today. And, of course, that means my best laid plans for teacher's gifts has slightly gone out of the window....well, almost...

I did manage to get the pre-school teachers theirs from from the whole class. No mean feat to attempt to get 45 fingerprints on a mug!! I managed 32 & am pretty pleased with that. 

Not the best photos but they are truly lovely in real life! You'll have to trust me on that. 

Many thanks to Rosie at Crockadoodledo for turning these around so quickly. 

And later, I'm going to string a necklace for my elder daughter's teacher using buttons and beads given by all her classmates.

Hmmm, maybe I haven't done so badly after all....

Some of their other classes are finishing too for the summer & I wanted to give a little treat to their teachers. But it had to be quick since I'm almost out of energy. And ta-dah, je vous prèsente "Citrus Curd"!

It is great on many levels - I got to use up the lemons, limes & mandarins that are hanging around my kitchen (without turning them into a cocktail, although that's quite appealing too!!), it took a total of 10 minutes AND used up some of the jam jars I keep and that drive my husband nutty!!

Wanna know how??

Take your lemons or limes or mandarins (or a combination of all three). 

Juice them to get approx 250ml.

In a separate bowl whisk 200g caster sugar with 3 eggs. Add the citrus juice and 100g melted butter. Whisk all together until well combined. 

Microwave for 1 minute, remove, stir, then cook again until the mixture thickens & sticks to the back of a spoon. I reckon 5 minutes total. 

Give it a good stir then pour into sterilised jam jars. Allow to cool before putting lid on.

Click here for a downloadable recipe.

Yummington! Now to make some labels - and resist eating all of this myself!!

UPDATE: here are some photos (albeit not the best) of the finished necklace. Charlotte's teacher loved it! Hooray!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Run for your life!

Running....hmmm, that really belongs to my life before children. To be honest, even then it was fairly short lived (keep reading for more on that)....And yet, as is my wont every June, I don my trusty Nike trainers and go for a run.

Not just any old run, you'll understand, this is my once a year participation in the Race for Life. It's a 5km run for women organised by Cancer Research UK and there are around 200 of them up and down the country every weekend in the summer months.

(In case you haven't heard of it, or would like to know more, just click here.)

I ran my first Race for Life in 2007 in memory of my friend Lyn. She lost her battle with cancer almost exactly a year earlier. I wore a red shirt (her favourite colour) and tried to remember the fun we used to have together as I ran with 5000 other women, each with their own stories. 

I was cheered on by my mum and then 1year old daughter, Charlotte. Fast forward to the following year and I ran with 3 wonderful friends in memory of my mum. We had no idea at that Race in 2007 that mum had a massive tumour on her kidney & wouldn't survive much after diagnosis. Needless to say I cried most of the way round.

Why did I run? Well, I had a crazy idea one Christmas that I'd like to run a marathon before the next Christmas. My husband's response to that was simply : "D'you think you ought to go out for a run first, to see if you like it?" !!! I went for my first run the day after Boxing Day with a smattering of snow on the ground and, it's quite fair to say, I really didn't like it!! But my mind was made up, I bought a book, devoured it & made a plan. I was aiming for the New York Marathon. The timing was perfect - it takes place at the beginning of November so would give me plenty of time to train and yet could still be done before Christmas! 

Those of you who know me well know that I'm an 'all or nothing' kind of girl. This is an extreme case in point!!

I started walking (I've always walked at quite a pace, so speed walking wasn't a problem). Then I started alternating walking and running. Run to the next lamppost, walk to the next, etc. Gradually I could run past two lampposts, then three. Perhaps this running lark was possible after all!

Over the next 10months I went from running nowhere to running AT LEAST a half marathon every weekend!! And on 2nd November 2002, I ran the New York City Marathon in 4h06m. I'd arranged to meet my husband by a certain tree in Central Park at the end of the race (he ran on ahead since he was much fitter & faster than me). He was genuinely surprised to see me there so quickly!!

And now? Now I hardly ever run. Hmm, in reality, I run once a year! The Race for Life is an important part of my year and I will do all I can to be part of it, by running and asking for sponsorship to raise money for Cancer Research. I still run in memory of my mum, but I also run for all those fighting this horrible disease. There are too many of you for my liking. And this is my small way to help.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Fancy a cuppa? Ooh, yes please!

I wouldn't describe myself as a tea-drinker - I'm more of a double espresso kind of gal - but sometimes, nothing else will do! A cup of tea, a nice piece of cake and chance for a catch-up with friends. What more could a girl ask for? 

Earlier this week I was invited for a cuppa with Pip Lincolne, my blogging teacher and all-round lovely person. However, since she's on the other side of the world, a virtual cuppa is as good as it will get for now. Maybe one day we'll get back to Melbourne... Hmm, she drifts off into thought & memories...

So, back to reality, tea and that catch-up. What did you get up to this week? What did I get up to this week??

As usual it's been a busy one but has been filled with good stuff. Mostly this week I've been loving these things:

Silly Shopping
It started out so friend needed - yes, needed! - a petticoat like this one, so off we went to Deadly is the Female in Frome. What an amazing shop! It's filled with gorgeous new 'vintage' clothes. AND Nigella has shopped there too! What's not to love?! The immaculately dressed sales woman was in her element as she selected dresses and petticoats and shoes and scarves for my friend to try. The purchasing of a new frock and new petticoat for my friend's imminent 40th birthday party (more on that in due course) must have pushed us over the edge, for pretty much everything from then on resulted in a fit of giggles. I'd try to explain but I think you might just have to trust me on this one. It was an amazing shopping experience, to say the least!!

Family Meals
I love when we all get to eat together as a family. But what with after-school clubs, early evening meetings or my husband travelling home from a far-flung city, those family meals usually only happen at weekends. Mid week dinner for grown-ups is often overlooked or cobbled together from leftovers or store cupboard ingredients (beans on toast, anyone?!). This week, though, we had an unexpected visit from our grown-up soon-to-graduate niece. And since her older brother lives nearby, we managed a Thursday night Fajita Feast (something like this). Yum and fun!!

Memory-making Music 
I was listening to Desert Island Discs this morning and Judy Murray (mother of Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray) was talking with Kirsty Young. Her first music choice was this song and I was instantly transported back to my own pre-school days. As my mum had rheumatoid arthritis & needed help at home, we had a lovely lady come in to clean. She gave me a Bay City Rollers LP for a Christmas present one year and I was hooked. My littlest has an unswaying love for Mike Wasowski from Monsters Inc and University - it's been over a year now since she first 'met' him and still it's ALL about Mikey!! I've been surprised that someone so small could have such a longstanding 'thing' going on but then, when I heard this song, I realised that whatever grabs you, does just that and there's nothing you can do to get rid of it. I hear this music & find myself transported back to a time of tartan trousers & scarves tied around my wrist! It makes me feel warm & fuzzy for those childhood days. I hope my kids will have the same feelings for their childhood when they're my age...

Being kind to myself
It's a rare occasion that I actually put myself on my 'to do' list. My daily list is always almost as long as my arm & I am almost never on it. 

But this week I treated myself to a bit of sewing. I bought some gorgeous rainbow fabric on Monday (at this fabulous shop) with the intention of making myself a frock using my new pattern from gather. But my girls literally swooned when they saw it and begged me to make something for them too...and since I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, and since it's SO much easier to sew for the girls, I opted to make myself a skirt instead! 

I am VERY pleased with the result and think I'll be making several more. Don't worry I've got some other fabric I'm planning to use for my Mortmain.

Looking forward
Em, my grown-up niece has just finished Uni & is starting her summer job whilst considering her future. There's been a lot of talk this week about what she might - or might not - do. There's a whole world out there and nothing to stop you exploring it. I'm not sure I had any great life plans at her age, but I'm pretty happy with the way my life turned out, if I'm honest. Who'd have thought when I was 21, all those hundreds of years ago, that I'd be doing what I'm doing now? Life is what you make it, I guess, but it really is all out there, if you want it.

Whilst one has finished formal education, another is about to begin it. My littlest, Isabel, starts school in September and this week has been all about that - Parents Evening, finding out who her new teacher will be (apparently it was inevitable for Isabel!), Story Time in her new class, visiting the class during time at pre-school, buying book bags & new school shirts. She is SO excited! It's really lovely to see. Right now, she's playing schools with her big sister!! It's going to be a long summer....

D'you know, it's been lovely chatting with you this morning. Now it's time to get on with getting lunch organised. 

Let's do this again soon!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Where would my life be without books??

I confess, I'm a book-lover! My house is definitely testimony to that - bookshelves in every room (except the toilet these days since it's now a wet room!!) and a not so small pile beside my bed of those books I'm either reading or would like to read.

The books beside my bed.
The box is full of books too!
But it goes beyond the physical book in my hand. When I was a child my dad worked at a printer's - the then famous Purnell's - and would often bring home books for us. I didn't realise until much later the reason they all had little squares cut out of the title page (to establish the exact paper weight when estimating costs), I just thought some books had this!

One of the series I remember most were 'Thomas' books. No, not the Tank Engine, but a little line drawn boy, Swedish, I think. There were several books & even then I appreciated the simplicity of the design, the mix of colour & black & white. It makes me feel warm inside just thinking about these books. I still have a couple & read them with my children. Both are the source of discussion for different reasons, but it's the same discussion EVERY has been scribbled in (not by me I must add) and the other shows Thomas' boy bits when he jumps in the bath! Both are of concern & hilarity!!

School of course brought many a book, but the one that stands out is 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. I think I first read it when I was 14 or 15, then 
again when I was 18. I hadn't realised until I read it again in my mid-thirties, quite how much this book had influenced my sense of social responsibility. It is definitely one of my 'go-to' books when I need a good read.

After finishing my degree & travelling the world for almost a year, I decided to do a Printing & Publishing course at the London College of Printing. And so began my own career in books. I ended up specialising in Children's Books & worked in that industry for almost 20 years before stepping out to be at home with my children. 

I have heard said many a time that everyone has a book in them. I've always doubted that since I've always thought of that book as a novel and, whilst I can sort-of write, I get so carried away I think the readers would lose the plot completely! But, d'you know, I think 'they' might be right!! Mine is definitely not a novel but a craft book for little kids. It's what I do every week at Little Me (a toddler group for 0-5's) but in book form. Fingers crossed something might happen with that.

But, the most important thing to come out of my love of books is the Book Club I'm in. We meet once a month in one of our houses and share an evening of discussion & laughter - sometimes about the book we've read, sometimes not. These women are phenomenal and beautiful and I don't know where I'd be without them. It's like a therapy session with nibbles, wine and a book! What more could you ask for?

We began some ten years ago & were all dubiously linked through the book trade - writers, illustrators, designers, creators. We used to meet at the pub or at parties but with the introduction of children in our lives, we didn't seem to get together quite so regularly. But books and a Book Club we could justify! And so began one of the greatest things in my life. Some have come & gone but still Book Club remains an important and integral part of my life. The third Thursday of the month is sacred and I will rearrange anything and everything not to miss it!

This month we'll be reading 'The Shock of the Fall' by Nathan Filer. Anyone read it yet?

Friday, 13 June 2014

So, what do you do?

I've been asked this question several times in the last couple of weeks and each time I've responded with a different answer! Which, unsurprisingly has had me thinking...what DO I do?

These days 'multi-tasking' is my middle name! In amongst being chef extraordinaire (catering for all types of food likes & dislikes), running a fantastic laundry service (bring me your washing - or rather put it in the washing basket, don't leave it in the floor - and it will be returned, washed, dried, sometimes ironed but always folded), being a travel agent (bespoke foreign holidays are my current speciality), a financial whizz (to be fair, I'm much better at spending it, but hey!), gift finder (who buys the presents around here?), post-girl (someone has to mail those presents!), events planner (mostly of the kids party variety but grown-up ones too), creative oik, I'm frequently something of a UN diplomat or perhaps an FBI negotiator... Have you guessed what I 'do' yet? Yes, I'm a mum!

I haven't worked since my smallest was almost 2. I think I should rephrase that... I haven't done any paid work since my youngest was almost 2. My current job might just be the hardest one I will ever have!

The hours are appalling - I'm on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - the pay even worse (we Brits don't tend to discuss salaries!). The payback is great though - the hugs & kisses, smiles & giggles, holding hands and singing together, the list is long and is certainly what makes my job all the more delightful.

But still I ponder that question - What do I do? How do I define myself these days? I find that a response of 'stay-at-home mum' is something of a conversation-killer. The person asking the question isn't quite sure of his/her next question. My husband is an architect and I can imagine his answer can easily lead to further conversation & interesting discussion. My response seems to need further explanation of what I did before this job. Or the need to justify why I stopped work. Or is that just me?

So, what do I do? Do I look back at what I used to do & have that as my answer? It was a massive & very important part of my life after all. I used to run a small book packaging company specialising in creating & selling novelty children's books for the under fives with customers around the world, dealing with all types of projects at various stages (& locations), I organised exhibitions & considered budgets, built databases, saw fabulous products through from concept to delivery, built amazing relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers alike. But I don't do that now & I'm not planning on going back to it....

Hmmmm, I'm still trying to find the right answer! One that will satisfy the person asking! Now?? 

I have resurrected a love of fabric & will sew at any and every given opportunity, often finding that I have to sew NOW as every detail of the project in my head has been worked out and MUST be executed before I go mad! I love that my eldest daughter has such faith in me - she flippantly asks "mum, can you make me a....?" without thought that that might not be something other daughters ask their mums or doubt that I can do it. I really love that!!

In terms of 'work' and aside from my 'proper' job as a mum, I help run a toddler group at my church with 2 others. I organise a craft every week for the littles. Since they're aged between 0 and 5 it needs to cover all abilities. Perhaps you'll do one project in 2 minutes flat, perhaps you'll take longer or perhaps you'll do at least 5 over the course of the morning! I like everything to be prepared in advance so they can get creative without adult help. Of course parents and carers are encouraged to help - or do their own! - but essentially it is the child's own creation and gorgeous they all are too.

But that's unpaid, so does that count??

For the last 18 months I have been Chair of Governors at our local Infant School. My eldest daughter has been through the school & my littlest is currently at their pre-school, starting Reception in September. I have a vested interest! But I also have a desire to help improve the school for the benefit not only of my children but of their friends & our neighbours. I was blessed with the skills and feel that I 'should' use them although I do feel that our Government is taking advantage of a vast unpaid workforce. But that's another story!! It's a good way to keep my brain active, to learn new skills & to encourage others along the way. It's hard work, especially when my other 'work' gives little free time and I'm new to Education per se (even though I've been through the system myself it was quite a while ago and when you're the student, you have no idea of the behind the scenes stuff). And it also takes a lot of my time with meetings, discussions, training etc. But still it's unpaid, so does that count?

I'm hatching plans for a new business, something I can do from home in time that doesn't interfere with taking the girls to & from school or to their after-school clubs and, most importantly, just being here for them. Maybe then I'll feel more confident in telling people what I do. 

Maybe it's just me, maybe I need to get a clearer handle on what I do? Maybe I need to quash my assumption that people only want to hear about paid work? Or maybe it's okay to 'tailor' my response depending on who I'm talking to.... 

I suppose because my norm has been to do paid work & be able to clearly explain that work, this current way of life is quite novel for me - the scope is huge (see paragraph two!) and I need to stop underestimating its value. 

Unpaid in monetary terms it may be, but in 'real' terms, it's the best job ever!!

Now, if only I could get a bit more sleep....but that's another story...

Monday, 26 May 2014

Taking Stock

Hello lovely people,

Golly, can you believe it's been almost two years since I last blogged? I really can't! It would appear that I've only been blogging in my head, which isn't really that helpful for you lovely readers now, is it?! But, you'll be pleased to know that I'm on my way back. I'm currently following the lovely Pip Lincolne's 'Blog with Pip' e-course and am absolutely loving it.

Today, I've been a good student and have completed this week's assignment, entitled TAKING STOCK. It wasn't easy but it's good to reflect sometimes....

Here goes:

Making: progress
Cooking: food for friends (Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto)
Drinking: latte (now that I've finally worked out how to use my coffee machine!)
Reading: 'Apple Tree Yard' by Louise Doughty
Wanting: to start my next baby quilt
Looking: forward
Playing: our new Stacey Kent CD
Deciding: what to do today
Wishing: we could make up our minds!
Enjoying: see 'playing' above
Waiting: for Godot (sorry, couldn't help myself!)
Liking: the sunshine
Wondering: how to get my 4yo to be more reasonable/less ungrateful....
Loving: not having to get up to an alarm this week (school holiday - yeah!)
Pondering: my future when the littlest goes to school
Considering: all kinds of things!
Watching: 'House' - my current obsession
Hoping: the rain stays away today
Marvelling: at how wonderful our wedding day was (13 years ago today)
Needing: a plan!
Smelling: coffee
Wearing: jeans and a black top - as usual!
Following: all the lovely Pipsters!
Noticing: how encouraging people can be (and how many exclamation marks I use)
Knowing: I CAN do it - whatever IT is!
Thinking: I need to hoover out the car
Feeling: sad that 'To Kill a Mockingbird' has been removed from the GCSE reading list
Admiring: Pip Lincolne
Sorting: out my excessive fabric stash
Buying: something big - maybe....
Getting: fed up with moody  kids
Bookmarking: so many things to read later (when is later?)
Disliking: the rise of UKIP in this week's elections
Opening: belated birthday presents (not mine)
Giggling: with my girls
Feeling: positive
Snacking: on almonds
Coveting: beautiful dresses in gorgeous fabrics
Wishing: I needed less sleep (so much to do, never enough hours in the day)
Helping: friends in need
Hearing: my children playing together

That's it for today, folks.

More to follow, I promise.