Posted by: corozmum | January 1, 2013

Review the 2012 Resolutions

Its always interesting to look over last years resolutions and see how you went, review things and add some new goals

1:- Lose 5 kg.

I lost 4 kg in 6 weeks doing a work team exercise challenge and promptly put it back on again because I’ve stopped exercising again! This goal will have to remain for 2013!!

2:- Get a permanent job.

Well I did do that in March 🙂 Trouble is its 1 hours drive from my home town and it takes a huge chunk out of my day and by the end of the week I’m shattered. My new goal is to get a job in my home town.

3:- Learn to use my digital camera.

I’ve explored the different settings with mixed success, but I still have stuff to learn.

4:- Master my first and very new laptop.

Still learning this too. Ok with broadband and prepaid wifi. Love One Note and Kindle for laptops.

5:- Pass my university papers.

Passed one in spite of getting a job and shifting. Failed the next so redoing it next semester. Goal is to pass both again

6:- Get back to exercising 3-4 times a week

Only managed that for 6 weeks while doing the workplace challenge. Still a goal.

7:- Make a dessert once a week.

Managed it for 8 weeks and thoroughly enjoyed doing it. The mix of job, commuting and study put paid to it fairly swiftly 😦 Hoping to try again.

8:- Join a group in my new home town.

A teacher at my husbands school invited me to go to her house each Friday night, a group from a local quilting group get together to do their hand stitching. My goal was to finish one of my UFOs (un-finished objects). If I hadn’t of had 3 months off being sick and busy I might have managed it! Still I’ve made good progress. And the ladies live in hope of me doing some quilting. Its a hoot and very entertaining conversation and my one social occasion. I guess my new goal is to finish that UFO and another one.

9:- Be more social.

That did not happen. What we have done has revolved around school mostly. We have managed alot of coffees at cafes and generally like the ones in our new town. Not sure how to upgrade this goal yet.

10:- Continue being happily married.

Somehow we’ve managed that, although The Ref says I’ve been hell to live with while studying. Its not a goal you ever complete so it will stay.

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Posted by: corozmum | December 29, 2012

Reindeer Cookies

We had an Xmas bake off at work. As I had no idea what to make I went to Incredible Edibles for inspiration. This photo caught my eye.

Reindeerz2-2231

The first problem was getting the pretzels. Couldn’t get chocolate covered mini ones anywhere. Had to settle for plain. The chocolate ones are necessary as the chocolate melts when you press them into the hot biscuits and it sets to hold them in place. I had to drop chocolate chips into the grooves to hold the pretzels in place.

The recipe was very unusual by New Zealand baking standards. It asks for 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence. I’ve never used that much so stuck to the more usual 1 teaspoon. It took a while to get used to the flavour, I kept expecting a ginger and spice flavour which I associate with Xmas rather than peanut butter. Next time I’d try more vanilla essence. I think the biscuits can carry it.

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They must have been pretty good as our Team came second with our bake off entry 🙂

Xmas bake off challenge 2012 008 (2)

Posted by: corozmum | June 9, 2012

First Weeks

My goodness, its been crazy!

The assignment that I was doing when we were shifting out of our old place came back today. I was thrilled with 71%. Just the boost I needed to keep me going with the study this week before the exam on Friday 🙂

We moved in a couple of weeks ago and The Ref has been the main unpacker while I get on with my study. There’s a small problem with that! He has no system in the kitchen. And even though he has lived with me for 30 years, he has no idea or recall about how I like things and what I like together in my cupboards. This is particularly noticeable if he unpacks the dishwasher!

Back to unpacking. If he can’t find a cupboard or shelf to put it in or on, it goes on the floor. And I’m still managing to cook meals!

We are slowly getting curtains and tracks around the house. Even though we have double glazing, curtains make the house so much warmer at night and we like not being a goldfish bowl with people peering in! The curtains and  having our personal bits and pieces around mean the house is beginning to look like ours rather than we’ve been plonked down in stark, bare,  sterile rooms. With stuff strewn everywhere waiting for homes and boxes still waiting to be unpacked its going to be a while before we are proud to show it off.

Posted by: corozmum | May 16, 2012

Packed Up To Move

The big week is here.

The Ref was  my housewife over the weekend. He did the lengthy list of jobs I’d made to be done before the movers arrived and cooked meals and made me hot drinks while I did my assignment. The movers arrived on Tuesday and we saved the computer, printer, paper and chair so I could finish the assignment. We forgot about staplers!! Luckily I had printed at a decent hour so we could call around to friends to staple the pages. I was leaving for work before 7am to hand in my assignment as I wouldn’t get it in by the 5pm deadline after work.

We have signed our life away at the lawyers and now I’m sitting on one of 2 chairs not packed, surrounded by boxes ready for the trucks tomorrow. After lots of hassles with the new house it may all come together and we can move in on Saturday. It doesn’t seem real.

I have a month till my exam, with several weeks of course work to do and some hardcore study as well. I can see boxes taking some time to unpack. I’ll have a month between the exam and the start of the next paper so I should get it all done then. Although crashing out is really tempting!

Posted by: corozmum | May 9, 2012

Moving House

The Ref got a new job in another town and moved at the beginning of the year into a one bedroom flat while I stayed behind waiting for the house to sell.

In the meantime I’ve got a job and will be swopping my 1 hour commute for a 1 1/2 hour commute! But its taken 3 years to get this job so I’m not giving it up anytime soon.

The big excitement is that the house has finally sold. We move next week! Oh boy, and I have an assignment due right in the middle of it.

We’ve been house hunting and have an offer in on a brand new, never been lived in house. The owner/ builder is overseas so negotiating has been long, slow and painful. I’m preparing myself to move in with The Ref while our stuff goes into storage and Coro to a cattery.

We have never, ever lived in a one bedroom place before! Its also been a long time since we slept in a double bed! Then there’s the cooking facilities. One hot plate  and a microwave. We bought a bench top toaster oven to help out. The Ref has been enjoying pizza in the little oven this week.

Posted by: corozmum | April 28, 2012

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream Cake

The Ref loves hokey pokey ice cream so when I spotted a Hokey Pokey ice cream cake I had to make it. It was in one of my favourite cake decorating books – Kiwiana Party Cakes.

My first problem was finding ice cream wafer biscuits. I couldn’t find them so I grabbed wafer slices. They Kiwiana Party Cakesare a pale pink so don’t contrast as much with the white icing as the bright pink of wafer biscuits. Next problem is the wafer absorbs moisture from the icing and expands. The slices have 3 layers of wafers with icing in between. The wafer nearest the cake expands and the icing and other wafers peal off the cake! It was still yummy and The Ref nicked all the crunchie bits used to replicate hokey pokey! It was his birthday after all!!

I didn’t have enough wafer slices (needed two packets of biscuits) and you can see the icing left when the rest of the slice peeled off!

Posted by: corozmum | April 18, 2012

Call Centre Trainee Blues

My new job is in a Call Centre. I’ve just completed 3 weeks training and been let loose on the phones. I spent the morning in the training room taking real calls with an experianced buddy listening in and talking me through what to do. That was my first inkling at how little I actually knew. Late in the afternoon, I was in the call centre for an hour and a half taking calls on my own. The Team Leaders were in a meeting so when I needed help I had to find someone in my team, who wasn’t on the phone, to help me.

It is 2am and I’m having a cry. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m terrified of going on the phones tomorrow (today actually! and crying won’t help me be rested and prepared). I’m bitterly disappointed that after 3 weeks I am so uncomfortable with 3 bread and butter parts of my job.

We have to prepare a call record for each call. We had a couple of hours training in the software programme and were given a list of a dozen key words to use. Selecting one gives you a list of problems to choose from and from there is a list of solutions to select. Extra details and information is put in a note. Some processes must have specific information noted.

I’ve had practise filling in a call record but mainly for straight forward processes like changing an address. For anything else I have no idea what keyword to use. If a caller has hung up and I’m doing the record I have no problem quietly taking my time to figure out which one to choose. However, if the customer is on hold to go to a Senior and I’m trying to do my call record (as the Senior will look at it for information I’ve gathered), I feel totally useless as I scroll through numerous keywords trying to find one with a problem choice that fits. Why haven’t we run through some of these key words and what to use for more common calls?

Then there’s my 2 bread and butter processes. Changing addresses and exemptions. After 3 weeks training I feel I should be comfortable and familiar with the steps as well as the notations required. I’m ok with changing an address but not at all with exemptions. I need to stop, go through the processes again, get it clear in my head what the steps are and maybe make a check list to refer to. Will they let me? If I don’t get my confidence in these 2 areas I’m concerned I’ll fall apart and I don’t want to do that at work!

Venting my fears and frustrations has made me feel better and helped clarify what I need to ask for me to be comfortable going on the phones. Hopefully that means I’ll sleep, which I desperately need in order to cope with my first full day on the phones.

Posted by: corozmum | April 15, 2012

Fusebox Cake

Piratz (like Farm Boy) wanted a special cake for his birthday like Glassies. I was flicking through Mary Fords book

And as soon as I saw the Fusebox photo, I had to make it as Piratz is an Apprentice Electrician. I have to say it was one of the easiest cakes I’ve made. You start with a rectangular cake (only needs trimming to create a flat and regular shape). Butter ice it and cover with white Royal Icing. The trimmings from the Royal Icing are then coloured and shaped to make the various components of the fusebox. My parts aren’t as vibrant as the reference photo as I use cheap supermarket food colouring. Too much colour makes the icing too wet to work with so this limits how much colour can be added to such small amounts of icing. I made a few position errors but it was too hard to move them as they’d dried by the time I double checked the photo.

Piratz was very impressed with my knowledge of what a fusebox looked like and forgave my errors. He might not have been so forgiving if he’d known of the reference photo I’d worked from!

Posted by: corozmum | April 9, 2012

Discovering ebooks

The Ref has a tablet for work and a few weeks ago was downloading ebooks. I was feeling very jealous and wondering if a laptop is a wise choice even though I’m using it all the time for my study.

Out of interest I googled ‘ebooks for laptops’ and the best result was from a page in the Huffington Post blog. They listed their top 4 and demonstrated how to download kindle for amazon. It was easy and I was over whelmed with the free books. Searching took time as I learnt how to limit the search results by making choices about genre, price and popularity.

I wasn’t sure about ebooks but I find I’m enjoying them. My eyes do get tired quicker but I like being able to enlarge the print. When I’m really tired I like not having to hold the book up! I’m also reading a greater range of books and authors from the free range and now have several books saved to my wishlist that I intend to pay for!

After mastering kindle and amazon I tried Nook from Barnes and Noble. First hurdle was having to have a US address even though I only intend buying ebooks. Luckily my sister-in-law was happy to have me use their US address. I also had to record a credit card in spite of only ordering free ebooks so far. I have to say I like Nook better. Visually I like the white background better and find the screens clearer, cleaner and less cluttered to use. I prefer the scroll bar which shows how far through the book you are rather than amazons page number of.  The search functions seem to get me quicker to books of interest. Both B&N and amazon seem to have the same free ebooks, I just find them quicker at B&N. When comparing price, amazon is the same or cheaper.

My biggest challenge with the free ebooks is identifying christian fiction. Many of the free ebooks have this bent. I don’t mind christian fiction so long as I don’t get preached at or the faith and beliefs overwhelm the story. You don’t always get a back cover or inside front cover blurb to help you identify this genre.

I still have two more ebook format recommendations to try. The more complex ones. When I’ve found the one I like best I’m going to try and get all my books into the one or two systems rather than have them spread across four

Posted by: corozmum | April 3, 2012

Dessert 8, 2012 – Frozen Yoghurt Parfeit

This is a recipe that I’ve had saved for at least 10 years! I chose it because I didn’t need to worry about serving bowls. The mix is frozen in muffin liners. You peel off the liners before serving. Sweet!

      They were really nice desserts especially on a hot day. The Refs only complaint was they were too small. He wants Texas muffin sized ones in the future.

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