Raising Girls

This morning over a cup of coffee, which was luke warm at best, and feeding my toddler and baby breakfast – I had an epiphany. Well, maybe not so much an epiphany, but a thought. I forgot about this blog which I had started writing more than two years ago. And my thought revolved around which direction I may want to take this blog and how I am going to make it meaningful for myself and potentially others.

I thought to myself what do I do all day everyday, 24/7. It’s raising my to beautiful girls. And having just celebrated International Women’s Day around the world, and seeing so many motivational pieces about women and the amazing things they can do and achieve on their own and working together. And then I thought to myself – what type of girls do I want to raise? How can I teach them to be brave enough? Strong enough? Soft enough? to make it through this life…all I can do is try.

This particular post really got me think. A dear friend of mine posted this quote:

Oh,
You have the tale twisted,
I am not what you thought.
You had me down as the damsel?
Darling, I’m the wolf.

-s.r.w

And my response to her was that I can only hope to raise my girls to be strong women who are the wolf and not the damsel. Her response made me smile. “Oh you will definitely raise a wolf pack sister. This we both know for sure”.

All I can say is thank you for the vote of confidence and for starting the kindling for my fire and journey, documenting my life on raising these two beautiful girls.

 

 

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3 minutes of downtime

What do you do in your 3 minutes of downtime? Sure you’re probably thinking what is this woman on about…3 minutes of downtime…she’s a stay-at-home mum she has heaps of downtime. Ya right! I wish.

Between taking care of my beautiful baby girl, housework, cooking, car seat rentals, event managing the Central Otago A&P show, and managing our small farm, I get about 3 minutes of downtime, that are just for me. And in this time I am usually trying to gulp back a latte, peruse facebook, pinterest,twitter and instagram at the same time, or I am working on my photos, editing and playing with my camera. It’s my time. I can do with what I want and I enjoy it. Although it may be short, it’s re-boosting and invigorating and I need it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining here. I love being a stay-at-home mum and love managing the farm and all of the other jobs I have taken on. It’s busy but that’s how I like it. But it does mean I just need these few minutes of me time a day to enjoy everything I do just a little bit more. And in today’s 3 minutes I wrote this blog, and the baby is up again so here we go. 🙂

Lots of love out there!

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Stop Asking Mums These 3 Questions…

As a mother of a newborn or young infant there is a lot we are going through, from sleepless nights, to dirty nappies, to figuring out feeding cues and just generally trying to keep our baby happy. Do not add fuel to the fire by asking these three seemingly harmless questions.

1) Is he/she a good baby?
In short, of course she’s a good baby! She’s my baby and I love her to bits. She could be screaming like a banshee and in my eyes she’s still a good baby. What would you do if I said no, she’s a little shit and is very naughty? It would shock you and disgust you. Although, I probably should next time though as it would end the conversation and I would not be asked the following two questions.

2) Is he/she a good sleeper
NO! Of course not! She’s a baby!!!! But if you say no then they have advice for you on how to get your baby to sleep, mostly ‘oh you should just let her cry’ (WTF this is not the 1960s we know so much better now). I have said yes before too, and then was told ‘oh if shes a good sleeper now, she won’t be when she’s older’. Thanks for that, I needed to hear that tidbit of information from you, older pompus male!

Babies are not meant to sleep – they are actually programmed to wake up frequently to protect them from falling in a deep sleep and reducing their risk of SIDS. They need us to come check on them during the night to make sure they are not too hot or too cold, or blankets aren’t over their head and generally just comfort them and perhaps feed them. This misconception that babies need to sleep through the night needs to change. Sleeping through the night for a baby is 5.5 hrs. I consider it a blessing that my daughter still gets up, as I know she is safe and I can comfort her gently back to sleep. Sure we have some rough nights where the waking is all to frequent but there is usually something else going on at that point like illness or teething. So STOP asking if my baby is a good sleeper! You have probably been there yourself and know very well they are not.

3) Are you feeding him/her?
Yes of course I am! Does she look like she’s starving? Now if you mean breastfeeding or bottle feeding you have just entered a whole different ball game and your judgey eyes can take a step back before my lack of sleep blurs my judgement and I throw a punch your way. Bottlefed or breastfed, FED is ALWAYS BEST! If I say yes I am still breastfeeding, I would sometimes get rounds of applause or a pat on the back, or the look of isn’t it time you weaned her. If a mum said she was formula feeding then the looks would come out and judgey eyes would appear and be like why you not breastfeeding? It is a no win situation for anyone! There is no taboo against breastfeeding just as there is no taboo against bottlefeeding. STOP judging these amazing mothers and start supporting them!

So in order to keep the peace and leave a new mothers sanity intact! PLEASE stop asking these degrading questions, that only really make her question her own parenting skills and what she knows is best for her child. After all it is her baby, not yours, so really its none of your business. So unless you are going to tell her what a fantastic job she is doing and that her baby is the cutest darn thing you have ever seen in the whole entire world, and here let me buys those nappies for you (disposable or cloth) (sidenote: True story a lady did buy nappies for me at the grocery store, amazing act of kindness)  KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and let the mummy be.

Gumboots & Love

As I lay awake in bed last night, after tending to bubs at 2am, I thought it was time to change the name of my blog. ‘Country Crossings’ makes sense to me but not necessarily everyone else. So I have decided to entitle my blog ‘Gumboots & Love’, because really that’s what we are all about here.


I’m a stay-at-home-mum, helping to run our small farm in rural New Zealand. Our gumboots are always muddy and blocking the front door, and before I know it there will be more little gumboots everywhere. And we get by on a whole lot of love. It only really seems fitting to describe my writing in this manner.

I’m finding my writing is changing or at least my train of thought is, and I find it very telling to what stage of life you are in, with what you are writing about. Our interests and focus changes with time, and when we follow and nurture those interests that is when we grow as individuals, and for me as a mother. Life is constantly changing and we will never follow one path, but rather take many diversions and sometimes shortcuts along the way. I’m loving where I am right now and know that who I am today and what I am doing is shaping who my daughter (and myself) will become tomorrow.

Putting lots of love out there today. Kia Kaha

Weekend Love

I love weekends. Not because I work and have time off on weekends – as I’m a stay-at-home mummy so my job is never done. But because we have daddy home on the weekends. And it’s also not because he lets me sit and do nothing and takes care of everything – haha -far from it. I end up doing most of the chores on the weekend because someone else is there to watch bubs.

No, I love weekends because at least once we have a lie-in and snuggles in bed with bubs. I love this time and precious moments we have together and the smiles she gives her daddy as if he is the only man in the world (and I hope it stays that way a very long time). And then I’m usually up with bubs for a bit getting her dressed and sorted for the day and just as she is going down for her first nap, daddy gets up and cooks up an amazing breakfast, usually bacon and eggs fresh from the neighbours chooks (cannot wait to get our own soon). I love it. I don’t think he realises how much I do love it. It’s an hour of ‘us’ time and he does all the cooking and makes me a fantastic latte and I get to sit back and enjoy. Sure I still have to do dishes and the washing and the vacuuming and get myself sorted for the day, but at least we have that time with each other. Conversation is good, food is good and the company well it’s the best. It makes me smile and I love that we can enjoy this time together – I know these days are fleeting and soon there will be little rugrats joining us at the table and wanting to eat what daddy has on his plate and not on their own plate. And this will bring a whole new level of joy to our lives.

Until then I’m going to enjoy those weekend breakfasts and time together of just us.

And duty calls, baby is crying and dishes still are not done. Off I go!

Feeling Guilty

Where do I begin…I guess there is lots to feel guilty about as a mother and always wondering if you are doing the best for your child. And please know that you are. You are their mum and you know what is best for them. Never doubt this.

But in this case I am feeling guilty for a very different and hard reason. Being a Canadian now living in New Zealand, I am feeling very guilty about my family and all of the things they will not get to experience with my children (I say children as I know we will be having at least one more). It eats away at me somedays and it can be really hard. Sure Skype is great and at least they get to see my little bubs grow up a bit, but its the moments that they will miss out on and so will Little Miss A. No Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpas, they won’t be able to come out on a Saturday morning and watch her play rugby or netball or whatever she chooses to do. No sleepovers at their cousin’s and growing up with each other. This is what makes me sad and feel guilty. I loved all of these things growing up as a kid, and to know that my daughter and future children only have one side of their family in the country makes it really hard.

We are lucky enough to be travelling there in September, but it is 24hrs+ trip just to get there, and with a 7 month old it will be a rather interesting trip. I am excited to see everyone and visit, but again it will not be the same as if we were living only an hour apart. But this was a choice I made when I decided to move over to New Zealand and I have to live with it. My grandparents left Europe to move to Canada at a time when the Internet and telephones were not mainstream. My Grandmother told me she left Holland thinking she would never see her parents again. That is a hard thing to fathom. I left Canada for New Zealand knowing I would be able to skype with my family whenever I wanted and travel back and forth (perhaps not as often as I’d like, but still doable).

After Little Miss A was born, my parents and grandparents made the trip over to see us and stayed for a month. It was great to be able to share our new baby with them and our home. We had moved to the farm and no one had been over yet – so they didn’t really understand all of the things I was talking about and where we were living. But now that they have been here I feel a bit more connected to them and know they feel the same as well.

They will watch Little Miss A grow up through emails and pictures and videos and skype. It is not quite the same as being there hands on and being able to be a part of the things she does, but at least I know I can share some of the magical moments with my family and friends back home. And I will cherish the visits from them and know that the majority of our family holidays will not be exploring exotic new places, rather travelling back to my roots and letting my children learn a bit about their other heritage and family. This is important to me that they know were they come from and that they are loved on both sides of the world.

30 Day Photo Challenge

I am embarking on a 30 Day Photo Challenge with a few others in a farming group I am a part of. The original idea is not mine (ie. the list) and is from another blogger and farming mum, Just A Farmers Wife (#jafwphotochallenge). But I also wanted to share my photos with my readers, so here it is…

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Day 1: self-portrait. Who am I kidding I love selfies. But how to come up with one that was a wee bit artistic and showing who I am today. Well. I’m a mum first and foremost. It’s amazing how quickly one can settle into that role. But I do enjoy taking a small time out when my wee button is sleeping and enjoying the life I have created. This mornings sunrise and hard frost was gorgeous, made even more amazing by a delicious coffee and knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Life is good and I am happy and nothing beats looking over the paddocks knowing that you worked hard to get here with your partner and that everything is as perfect as it can be. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 2: something new So I decided my new ‘project’ would be learning to crochet. I saw some patterns I thought were so cute so now I have to learn to do it!

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Day 3: something cold. Well fairly easy to get a good shot this morning, a minus 6 start and a hard frost. Out breaking the ice off the water troughs for the cows and lambs. You know they were thirsty when they all go running for it. Brrrr need to add that to the morning routine now #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 4: food A midweek roast at our house tonight #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 5: symmetry. I love these windows in my house. Give it so much character and they will be something I will miss when we eventually build our new home. But single pane windows are cold in the winter. Brrrr #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 6: water. It’s a rainy old morning here in Springvale. Definitely will not be hanging out the washing today #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 7: shadows. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 8: something orange. Took this yesterday when out for lunch with my sister and her beautiful twins had a great day #jafwphotochallenge #somethingorange #orange #flower

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Day 9: animal. My first fur baby. ‘Look I’m sitting so where’s my treat?!?’ #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 10: scenery- The Hawkduns. This was taken a few weeks ago when I went to visit some friends. We used to live out this way and had these beautiful mountains as our view everyday. Now I can just see the tops of them from our new place #jafwphotochallenge #scenery

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Day 11: something old. This is an old family milk churn. Love that it has been passed down and has original tags. #jafwphotochallenge #milkchurn
 

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Day 12: animal again. This is our working dog Ra. Tough when he needs to be but such a big suck. Loves sleeping on the porch in the sun and playing. #jafwphotochallenge #animal

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Day 13: flower. The last rose left in my mother in laws garden. Winter has set in here #jafwphotochallenge #rose

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Day 14: what you wore today. This seems to be my go to outfit lately. Super comfy and easy to breastfeed. Can dress it up or down with the right boots. But when we are just mucking around the farm gum boots and wooly hat are the way to go. And my best accessory of course is Little Miss A! #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 15: love. Sunday snuggles in bed with my beautiful family #jafwphotochallenge #love

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Day 16: black + white. The mailboxes On Keddell Rd. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 17: it makes me happy. It makes me happy to be able to enjoy time with loved ones and friends over a cup of coffee in the winter snuggled up by the fire. There is so much that makes me happy it’s hard to choose just one thing. And I cannot wait to catch up with family and friends back home in September. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 18: what’s happening at 4? Sorting out end of year financials with this wee button helping me #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 19: nature

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Day 20: art. One of my favourite art pieces I own. A painting by Matt Durant (2009) a Toronto artist. He used reclaimed timber to paint this one. I like the message it portrays about what we as society are doing to the environment. The crane removing the last tree from the city. Should be a wake up call to all of us. I loved it so much it was shipped across seas from Canada when I moved to New Zealand. #jafwphotochallenge #mattdurantstudio

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Day 21: begins with ‘t’. Tides. Low tide at Moreaki Boulders. Away for the weekend and loving being by the ocean #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 22: lines. Feeling very uninspired today unfortunately. Took this photo a while back in Dunedin. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 23: i spy. #jafwphotochallenge

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Day 24: bag. My ‘I can’t leave home without it bag’. Always packed and ready to go. Change of clothes for bubs and a top for me (just in case) extra nappies, toys, spew clothes, hand cream, hats mitts and booties, wallet, lip balm, Plunket book, and probably everything else in between. #jafwphotochallenge #bag #lovethisbag

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Day 25: winter. I was secretly hoping to wake up this morning to gorgeous snowfall so I could post a winter picture. But alas that did not happen. So I thought I would post pictures of the stereotypical Canadian winter. I spent Christmas in the Yukon Territory one year dog sledding. Here are some of my favourite shots from that trip. I do miss the snow! #jafwphotochallenge #dogsledding #winter
Day 26: movement. Took this timelapse yesterday when shifting the calves feed break with bubs. Movement of the break and us moving. #jafwphotochallenge. See this link for video

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Day 27: body. This little growing body continues to amaze me every single day. Can’t wait to watch her grow into an amazing girl #jafwphotochallenge

So this is Motherhood

So as you anxiously await the arrive of your first child, you drift off into a daydream of what life will be like once your little bundle of joy has arrived. And I can honestly say that nothing can prepare you for how your life is about to change. Your life is going to change in the most amazing way possible, and you will quickly take on the role of ‘mummy’ in no time, and it will seem that this little mini person of you has been there all along. Now I am not saying it is all fairy dust and roses, because it certainly is not, but the journey is incredible and I keep learning every single day.

However in saying all of this, your life is going to change in ways you never thought, or you might be thinking to yourself ‘I’m not going to be the mum who discusses her child’s bodily fluids in public or I will always have time for a shower and to put myself together’. I’m here to tell you sister – this is not going to happen. You be talking poos, pees, barfs and spews within hours of that baby being born and guess what it’s ok – because it’s completely normal!

I’ve come up with a list of 10 ways your life is going to change…

1. Sleep -you will only have a distant memory of sleep and what it means to have a full nights rest. This will become a dream for you. I think that’s why in the last month of pregnancy your body wakes you every couple of hours to use the toilet – it’s preparation! And don’t let those first couple of weeks fool you into thinking this is not that bad. Bubs is ‘playing tricks’ on you during those first weeks. Not really, but they are sleeping pretty good – I would to after a traumatic event like being born, but after a week, it hits you and bubs is up for a feed and waking every couple of hours. You will feel like a walking zombie and not know what day or time it is sometimes…but I will let you in on a secret – you will get through. It’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts to running on little sleep. And I know everyone says it, but I will say it again. Sleep when baby does! I mean it. Dishes can wait, washing can wait, cleaning the house can wait. SLEEP!

2. Poo, poo and more poo – before you know it you will be talking poos, pees and spews like it’s nobody’s business and comparing with other mums just make sure your kid is ‘normal’ and doing what they should be doing. And guess what…it’s perfectly fine. Sure the random lady at the supermarket probably does not want to hear about it, but talking with your other mummy friends, it just comes along with the territory. And you will probably be sporting the new look of the ‘baby badge’ which leads into conversations of wind and gassy babies anyways…And it won’t just be babies bodily fluids being discussed either – if you’re breastfeeding, your own body will also come up in conversation quite a lot! Again perfectly ok, as long as it does not mean talking to the checkout lady about it.

3. Babies don’t know what a schedule is – so don’t even bother – at least for the first bit. Get to know your baby and get to know your new role as mummy. Forget reading all the things about how to make your baby to sleep through the night, and when to feed etc etc. All well-intentioned I’m sure, but honestly let your baby be your baby. Everyone is different and every baby is different. It does not mean you are a good or bad mother if your baby won’t sleep – it’s just them adjusting to the world outside. For the first 9 weeks my little one was up from 6pm-11pm. Talk about a tiring 5 hours. Not only that daddy couldn’t console her because all she wanted was to feed and lie in my arms. It was tough, but we got through and eventually she started going to bed at a more reasonable hour. So even though I wanted bubs to be asleep she had her own ideas about things.

4. You will learn to eat fast – and probably not even realise you are doing it. All of the sudden there is something else in your life that requires your undivided attention and if you are lucky they may nap over dinner tie, but chances are they will be screaming their head off and you will be shoveling food into your mouth faster than you ever though possible. Because let’s face it – you’re hungry too and if you’re breastfeeding you’re starving! My partner and I only realised how quickly we were eating our tea when we went out for our first ‘Mother’s Day’ dinner to the local pub. Dinner, dessert and some chat and we were back home within an hour…oops so much for getting out for the night.

5. You will be late…sure you will try to time it right to get to where you need to be on time, but it is almost impossible to get to anywhere you need to be on time anymore. And you can bet that if it’s important bubs is going to have a big poo blow-out just as you walk out the door, causing at least a 10minute delay cleaning, changing and getting bubs sorted again. But don’t worry most people understand.

6. Coinciding with the last point…everything takes longer. Not only because are you now getting two of you ready to head out the door, but once you are out and about people will stop you to have a chat and talk about how gorgeous your wee little button is and if they are sleeping through the night yet (I hate this question, babies need to get up to feed and for their neurological development, they shouldn’t be sleeping through the night right away, so don’t make me feel like a bad mother because my child wakes to be fed and cuddled). That quick trip to the grocery store is no longer quick, you will be stopped by random strangers to discuss your gorgeous wee bundle and they will coo and caw over them. (If you don’t have time for this, might I suggest wearing your baby – makes it harder for people to get in their and have a look at bubs who is ‘sleeping’ nicely cuddled up to mum).

7. People want to help you – all of the sudden you are not just a woman doing the groceries, you are a mum and for the most part people will go out of their way for you. I once even had a lady pay for my groceries. Yup you read that right – I was as shocked as you when it happened. Bubs was only a few weeks old and the lady in line behind me asked if she could pay for my groceries especially the nappies because she knows how expensive things are. Now this probably will not every time (and it doesn’t) but people are all the sudden very helpful when they see a mum with bubs in tow trying to get things done. I have had the people at the grocery store offer to get me sacks of potatoes because they are heavy and I’m wearing baby, they open doors, help with the pram and are just generally more considerate. Now that’s mostly about strangers, but remember your family and friends want to help to, and as weird as it may be to sit down and relax when people are over -do it! and let them make the cuppas and do the dishes. It’s ok, and a good time for you to rest.

8. You will learn to do almost everything one handed. Make a coffee (notice how this one is first), making dinner, cleaning up, brushing your teeth, doing the washing, all these jobs will seem difficult at first with bubs in your arms, but then all of the sudden you will be doing these things no problem with your one free hand, and maybe even breastfeeding and talking on the phone at the same time. It’s amazing how you will adapt.

9. Hanging out with friends is no longer at the pub on a Friday night. It’s Friday mornings at the music and movement class or Tuesday for lunch or at the swimming pool while you give your bubs some much needed tummy time and different experiences. Your friends without babies may not understand this change, but your friends with babies will be right there beside you taking it all in. As much as you may mourn the loss of your Friday night sessions, recall that you have already had 9 months of not drinking and probably not partying like a wild child and that your new wing man is a cute little bundle of cuddles.

10. One is never enough…if you feel anything like I do, bubs is only 4.5 months old and we are already planning number 2, and maybe even number 3. I can’t wait to make my wee button a big sister and grow our little family. There is something about this time that is so magical with a little one and as much as I may be tired and still trying to navigate motherhood, I can’t wait to have more babies.

Welcome to the sisterhood of Motherhood, it’s messy and trying, but it is one amazing journey. xx

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My random thoughts about breastmilk…

Breastmilk. I use that $&@! On everything!

So before having children I never thought I would become so fascinated with breasts. Well maybe not breasts, but in particular breastmilk and the amazing things it does. Honestly that stuff is liquid gold. It’s a super power all women develop after having a baby. To say the least I am pro breastfeeding, but I will not judge anyone who does not (unless of course you never tried but that’s a different story). Happy mum, happy baby, I say. As long as bubs is being fed that’s the main thing.

So back to breastmilk and it’s amazing super powers. Did you know your breastmilk changes with the gender of your child! Yup different milk for boys and girls. And while your baby is suckling away its creating a suction and your breasts can actually determine through your babies saliva what your baby needs. So your liquid gold is constantly changing based on the needs of your baby. If bubs is sick than it will produce antibodies to help them get better. It’s incredible stuff really. I breastfeed and pump for the freezer to use after bubs is weaned and it’s incredible when you see the colour change of your milk because baby is sick. My little one just had a nasty cold and my milk changed from an off white to almost yellow. Helping bubs to fight off her infection. Good thing I had it first as my body already knew what antibodies she needed. So that’s the first thing I find so amazing about breastmilk.

Next it’s the cure all liquid. Honestly I don’t know what I will do when I stop breastfeeding. That $&@! fixes everything. Babies belly button isn’t healing. Throw some breastmilk on it. Healed up in two days!!! (After six weeks of oozing). Baby has gunk in her eyes because of being sick. Squirt some breastmilk in there. In less than 24 hours her eye was cleared up and never got the other one infected. Baby has cradle cap. You guessed it! Breastmilk that stuff away. Ear infection. Boom. A few drops of breastmilk at the opening of the ear should do the trick. So you can be classy and pump some and use a syringe or eye dropper to apply it (I would if using in the ear) or you can be like me and just squirt some on wherever needed. Knowing that aiming is not so easy. It doesn’t come out one hole in a nice straight line does it ladies? Haha. Who knew your nipples were like a sponge and breastmilk can just spray in every which direction. Look out!

But honestly I could go on and on about the benefits of breastmilk and feeding. Not only that but the bond formed and closeness I have with bubs is incredible. I love feeding my little girl and love knowing that she is getting the best start I can give her right now. I am even pumping for the freezer so she can continue on breastmilk after she has weaned.IMG_1755IMG_1756
Good luck to all of you mamas out there and remember if there is ever an ailment with bubs I bet that breastmilk is the cure. xx

The unexpected lunch guest

I love having people come by for a couple of reasons, a) I’m a really social person and looooove to talk, and b) being a stay at home mum it’s really nice to have some adult company once in awhile and have a conversation that isn’t just jibberish (I love baby gagas but I still need to talk). So I’m posing this question to you my readers – what do you make for your unexpected or late-notice lunch guests?

I was lucky enough to know last night when our stock agent invited himself over for lunch today. I still had enough time to think of something easy but delicious to make which included crumbed chicken, a green salad, and a sweet chili rice salad with roasted cashews. But even then I didn’t have all the ingredients and sent the other half out to the grocery store this morning to grab a few things (a luxury at the moment because he has the week off of work -but that will not always be the case). It was delicious and everyone loved it, even Pop enjoyed his lunch and he is a pretty simple eater.

So that got me thinking – I need to have some go to meals that are quick and easy on hand for the unexpected lunch guest. Rice salads are always easy – we always have rice in the house and even just a little bit of sweet chili sauce will spice things up quite nicely. Bacon and egg pie is also usually a big hit around here – although I need to make sure my eggs are stocked up and running down to the neighbours to get some from her chooks does not always work out. May need to invest in some of my own chooks in the near future. But I am honestly at a loss of some quick, easy and delicious lunches? Help me out people -hit me with what you would serve up at your country kitchen…