26 March 2011

My day off

I love Saturday. It's our day off, our day of rest after a usually busy week.  I like to lie in bed and think about the week that was and the week that is yet to be.

This morning I woke up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at 4am. I tried to go back to sleep, I really wanted to stay in bed, but I'd been dreaming about my new book (the one I'm working on now) and just could not shut my mind off so out of bed I climbed.

Which is why I'm sitting here at 7am, typing away, with two and a half hours of solid, uninterrupted writing done. Hopefully Jo (my wonderful publisher) will like what I've come up with. I do love getting up really early and just listening to the quiet of the house and neighbourhood.  It's such a peaceful way to wake up and start the day.

 Everyone should have a day of rest, a day where you can relax and unwind and put the happenings in your life back into perspective. If you go, go, go seven days a week you burn out. You wouldn't expect to be at your paid employment seven days a week without a break, and you shouldn't expect to do your home work seven days a week without a break either.

It's easier than you might think to give yourself a day off. It does take a little re-organizing to be able to have a day off. I cook ahead if I can and clean the house on a Friday so there's very little housework to be done. I'll often put a load of washing through on Friday night and hang it on the clotheshorse so I can keep up and not spend all day Sunday catching up.

It's tempting to use the weekend to play catch up, especially if you work outside your home during the week.  Women, especially those with children, tend to do this. They spend all weekend cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping, cooking, taxiing children to sport, gardening and so on, without stopping. No wonder they look on their paid employment as a break!

If that is you, perhaps you need to renegotiate your work conditions, even if it's just with yourself. If you have a family they can all help with the housework. Even tiny children can pick up toys. We have always taught the kids that they are a part of our family and live in the family home so they are responsible for it's care too. Don't get me wrong, there have been grumbles over the years. They're good kids, but they are still kids. We simply explained that they could help and we could live in a nice, comfortable, clean home with a happy mum and dad, or they could sit on their tiny tushies while mum and dad did all the cleaning etc and they'd have a grumpy dad and a mean mum. They've seen me in mean mum mode so they always pitched in, they just needed a gentle reminder of why we all pitch in.

Saturday is the one day of the week I don't do housework. Ok, I do the dishes and make the bed (the kids make their own beds) and get meals ready but I don't wash, iron, shop, scrub, vacuum, garden, bake or any of the other chores I do on the other six days of the week.

Saturday is our day to spend time together as a family, and with friends and extended family, relaxing and rejoicing in our lives and being thankful for the many blessings we have received. I start praying for the next Saturday to hurry up and get here as soon as I wake up on Sunday morning.

It's the one day of the week I can sit down and read and listen to music without feeling the need to have something in my hands or to be off doing "something constructive". It's my day off and I love it and I thank God for it every week.

On a Saturday our meals are a little turned around. We have our main meal at lunchtime and a snack meal at dinner time. Saturday lunch is a special meal, we often have visitors eat with us so I like to prepare and serve a meal that is a little more exotic than our regular fare.  This week we don't have anyone coming for lunch. Wayne and AJ are at trains, it's the club's Open Weekend. They were up and off at 7.30 this morning.

I made Impossible Quiche yesterday so Tom, Hannah and I will have that with salad for lunch, with pumpkin soup for a starter. And for dessert I made a flummery with a raspberry jelly and evaporated milk (I make my own using powdered milk, it's a lot cheaper than buying a can). Flummery is an old fashioned dessert my mother used to make and we loved it. It's also very easy and deliciously cool.

I have fresh fruit - rockmelon, watermelon, peaches, white nectarines, grapes and apricots - cut up in the fridge to put on the table to nibble on after we've finished lunch. Our local greengrocer had some fantastic bargains on fruit yesterday so I splurged on all our favourites. We tend to stay at the table talking and laughing on Saturdays so having something ready prepared for afternoon nibbles makes my job a little easier.

The other special thing about Saturday lunch is that we eat in the dining room. I use my best linen tablecloth and good dishes. There's no point in having lovely things if you don't use them and using them is the best way to teach little ones how to care for and appreciate best things too.  Our kids have grown up knowing that Saturday is family day, and even now they are older, they still like to be home for Saturday lunch.

Much like the birthday person choosing dinner on their special day, Saturday lunch has become a family tradition.  Our kids are growing up so fast. No, let me get that right. Our kids have grown up so fast. AJ is 20 already! It won't be long and they'll be off making their own lives and creating their own little niche in this world and I'm thrilled for them, it's and exciting time and I'm pretty sure that when they have their own families they'll keep it up. 

Saturday is definitely my favourite day of the week.

Raspberry Flummery

375ml evaporated milk, well chilled
1 packet raspberry jelly crystals
1 cup boiling water
1 cup ice water

Dissolve the jelly crystals in the boiling water. Add the chilled water and set aside to thicken. When the jelly has thickened so that it won't run off a spoon, beat it with an electric mixer until it doubles in volume, about 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl whip the chilled evaporated milk until it resembles whipped cream.  Gently fold the whipped milk through the whipped jelly. Pour into a wetted jelly mould or serving dish and set in the fridge.

This is the lightest of desserts, so fluffy it just dissolves in your mouth, but tastes wonderful.  For the milk to whip up properly it needs to be very, very cold. Chill at least two hours in the fridge, overnight if you think far enough ahead. You can use homemade evaporated milk to keep the cost down, I always do. The sugar and fat content can be reduced by using light evaporated milk and sugar-free jelly crystals.


  1. I love your Saturday Family Lunch idea; it brings back long forgotten but fond memories of Sunday Lunch at my Grandparents House when I was a little girl growing up in the late 1950's, early 60's. I treasure those memories & I wish I had been able to give my children those same fond memories. Unfortunately, a sad statistic of these times, is that my kids come from a broken home & I really wish things could've been different. But at least my kids still talk to me & we see each other when we are able & all of us are only ever a phone call away - so I guess that's better than no contact at all

  2. Thanks for the recipe. I love it. Mine is slightly different using some canned fruit and substituting some of the water with the canned juice. Everyone except my husband loves it. Pat

  3. Ah ha - I found it - what a great read.

    1. We've taken our day off a bit more seriously this year and declared from Friday night until Sunday morning technology and social media free. You won't believe the difference is has made. Saturdays were peaceful before, but now they are truly peaceful and genuinely relaxing. We're not constantly looking at phones or computers or tablets and stressing about missing out on something. I thoroughly recommend at least 24 hours technology free once a week for everyone :)


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