First of all I have to report that despite all my good intentions to post a blog each fortnight, I’ve sadly failed. Sometimes I think I need to plan my time better and I do try. When I say that to Ken, he nods his head knowingly; of course he’s heard it all before. No matter how carefully an intention or project is planned, something may still cause delay. I think the saying “The best made plans of mice and men often go astray” (adapted from a line in “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns) is very appropriate.
This got me to thinking about the best way to prioritise my time so I trawled through various blogs on the net and came across the following very good advice. It’s certainly worth a read.
The Art of Mindful Prioritising (extract from an article by Marc Chernott)
The moment we admit to ourselves that we’re trying to cram too many things (tasks, obligations, distractions, etc.) into a relatively small space (24 hours in a day), it becomes obvious that we need to clear some clutter from our schedules.
Mindful prioritization is the key.
Pay close attention to all the things you do today – all the things you’re trying to fit into 24 hours. How much TV are you watching in the morning and evening? What websites are you browsing? What games are you playing? How much time are you spending texting, emailing, or updating your social media accounts? How much online window-shopping are you doing? How much time do you allocate to eating, cleaning, and taking care of others? What else are you spending the precious minutes of your day on?
What you might notice first is that you’re doing too many random things that don’t need to be done – too many time-wasters. Then you might also notice that you’re overcommitted with too many obligations – and those obligations are filling up your life.
You can start stealing your time back by eliminating as many needless distractions and obligations as possible, and saying “no” to new ones that arise. Easier said than done, of course, but the important thing to realize is that you CAN change how you allocate your time.
Next, look at your to-do list (assuming you have one): how many of these things can you reasonably do in the next 24-hours? Probably only three to five, with sanity.
Now ask yourself this: which task would you work on if you could only work on one task over the next 24 hours? That is your #1 priority. Just that one task. The truth is, you probably can’t complete everything on your list in one day’s time, and you can’t do your top three to five tasks right now. You can do only one thing at a time. So just focus on your #1 task and, once you’re done, then figure out what your next #1 task is.
Clear everything else away, and focus.
Our hidden talents – the story of the iPod birthday cake that plays music
I really love chatting with people about what they enjoy doing and frequently they reveal what hidden talents they have. I met Karen Suttie some years ago whilst visiting at Armitage Aged Care facility. Karen works in the catering department and always makes sure I had a nice cuppa and a piece of cake. I knew Karen cared for her young grandson Jordan and during one of our brief chats she told me she was going to buy him an iPod for his birthday but, as a surprise, make a birthday cake in the form of a pad which appeared to be playing music. Karen says she is fairly new to serious cake decorating but likes experimenting and trying new techniques which makes it exciting. I think you will be amazed at how she got the cake to play music.
Here’s Karen’s description of her iPod cake
First picture shows the cakes. Second picture was to show you that I drilled a hole in the cake board and threaded the speaker cords through ready for the cake. It also shows the bottom layer of the cake where I cut out a hole for the cords to go through to make it look ‘plugged in’.
Third picture, I’ve put the bottom cake back on the rack and iced the two layers of cake together with a chocolate ganache. I iced them back on the rack so I wouldn’t make too much of a mess of my cake board.
Fourth picture, a layer of red fondant. I cheated and bought ready coloured fondant.
Fifth picture I had cut a rectangle of white fondant, put that on top of the cake and then had a go at drawing the designs from the home screen of an ipod. This was hard and I wasn’t very confident. I used cake decorating textas to draw the designs and although they weren’t perfect, I thought they looked ok.
Sixth and seventh pictures – I did the screen background cover…..the worst part and the one that almost ruined the whole thing! I thought I’d try spray painting with cake decorating spray paint. Bad move! I got runs of paint everywhere. I decided to use a paint brush to try and even out the colour. I sprayed the paint into a container where I dipped the brush and finished painting. I also added a few details like the indented on/off button and I wrapped a little white fondant around the cords to make it look like the end of the cord at the plug point. I had also wrapped the two speaker cords together to make them look like one cord that split part of the way up, forming the ‘earphone’ look which I taped this to the board.
I taped my daughter’s ipod to the bottom of the cake board and with the help of a double plug jack, I plugged in the speakers to run music through the speakers so that it appeared that the cake was playing music. The two speakers were cheap $1.25 speakers that I got from China and the double plug jack was about $2.50, so the whole ‘real music’ look cost me a whole $5.00 but looked, and sounded, quite impressive. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great effect if you know what to look for!
Cycling without age
I recently became aware of a new program, Cycling Without Age, it’s not unlike the Community Visitors Scheme I volunteer with, however, instead of just visiting, the volunteers take their friends out for a ride on a specially designed bike rather like a rickshaw.
The program was initiated in Denmark by Ole Kassow and now has licensees around the world including Australia and the UK. Of course Denmark is a bike riding country and very flat, so I am not sure how it will work in Australia plus there are bound to be lots of regulations to satisfy before it could get off the ground. Be inspired and uplifted by watching Ole Kassow’s YouTube video describing the scheme and the joy that is being given to residents in aged care facilities.
Marmalade – my easy and somewhat lazy recipe
Making your own marmalade may seem a little old-fashioned or even a redundant skill but with my easy recipe, which I have used for longer than I care to remember, it’s a breeze. Seville oranges are the best oranges to use because they have such a tart taste and high pectin content but unfortunately their season is short here in Australia, only available during the first weeks of August. Not to be deterred any combination of citrus will do the job.
4/5 oranges, 2 lemons, 1 grapefruit, washed and cut into quarters. Remove pips and any discoloured pieces of fruit. Put fruit into a microwave safe bowl (I always use glass) and add a cup of water. Cover and microwave on high for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly then transfer to a liquidiser and pulse until the fruit still has chunks of rind. Alternatively if you want a smooth product continue to pulse. Place a large saucepan on your scales and pour in pulsed fruit, now add the same weight of sugar to fruit. Stir to dissolve sugar then boil rapidly for more or less 10 minutes, stirring frequently. I always put the saucepan on a trivet to save the marmalade burning. Test for set by putting a small portion on a cold plate and leave for a few minutes. If ready the marmalade will wrinkle when you push up with your finger.
I like to pot my marmalade while it is still warm so I transfer from the saucepan into a large glass jug and then pour into pre-washed and sterilised jars. Seal immediately. This way the marmalade keeps really well.
I’m going to sign off with the following quote:
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory