MY KINGDOM FOR A BISCUIT

The traditional ANZAC biscuit, a sweet biscuit made from rolled oats and golden syrup, is my favourite biscuit. I love the crumbly, crispy outer texture and the slightly chewy centre. I adore desicated coconut mixed with that buttery taste.

So when my husband suggested that we make ANZAC biscuits to commemorate ANZAC Day, I was all on board. I sent him off to the supermarket with a photo of ingredients needed for the recipe.

He came home with a packet of Monte Carlos, a packet of Butter Snaps and all of the ingredients for ANZAC biscuits except the most important ones – golden syrup and desicated coconut.

It appeared that every other Australian was commemorating in the same way, which was fair enough. This pandemic had restricted Australians to holding dawn services at the end of their driveways and baking ANZAC biscuits. We were just too late to the party.

Almost a week later, I tried online ordering golden syrup, coconut and treacle (as a substitute, just in case). I had my heart (and stomach) set on making and eating ANZAC biscuits. Plus I had a surplus of rolled oats that would never be eaten otherwise. Imagine my disappointment when only coconut made an appearance.

I thought to myself, “What kind of weirdo conspiracy is this?”

By this stage, it became a matter of principle. I was getting that golden syrup. I wasn’t about to let a pandemic or supermarket shortage stop me. I spent days trawling aisles at different supermarkets. I visited local grocers and natural food stores.

It was as though the Universe was taunting me. “You don’t need those biscuits, love.”

After searching for almost two weeks and on the verge of throwing in the towel, I finally found the object of my desires. By chance, while at my local supermarket, I found two precious bottles of golden syrup tucked right in the back of the top shelf. The only problem? I could not reach them.

Being vertically challenged, I had to get creative. Tippy toes. Jumping up and down. Using my phone and other grocery items to tease the bottles forward. Trying to chase down unwilling and unhelpful store assistants.

In the end, an elderly lady who was browsing nearby took pity on my short ass. She reached over, grabbed a bottle of golden syrup and put me out of my misery. We had a lovely chat afterwards about ANZAC recipes.

When I finally sat down with a hot cuppa and took a bite of the biscuit… well, let’s just say it was worth the wait.

So to my neighbours and friends who received a pack of my home-made ANZAC biscuits, the secret ingredient was… time.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Why are personal statements difficult to write? Being the sole expert in the subject matter of me, it should be a breeze to write a highlight reel. Alas, it is like drawing blood from a stone. It’s worse than sitting in the dentist’s chair.

The last time I wrote a personal statement for a university application, I was a sheltered eighteen year old girl with tall ambitions. Now, I am wiser, wealthier and womanly. Ok, that’s far-fetched, I’m a whole lot of woman and maybe a touch more wiser. At the very least, I have a wealth of work and life experiences to write about.

After staring at a blank computer screen for ages, I took the easy way out and googled how to write a personal statement.

Sell yourself. Highlight achievements. Make it interesting. Be concise. Show the admissions team why they should accept your application. Focus on relevant work and volunteering experiences.

How do you even sell yourself these days? I’ve been out of the game far too long being in my last job for almost a decade. And spruiking my strengths and achievements feels conceited and boastful. It doesn’t come naturally for me. After much deliberation, I wrote my first draft and read it to my husband for a second opinion.

“You’re a mature aged student. No one cares about your high school score or your university grades.” Slashed that section out.

“I think highlighting work experience and achievements isn’t necessary. It’s in your résumé.” Slashed that section out.

“It sounds like you’re trying too hard to sound clever. People will see right through that and think you’re a chump.” Simplified the language. Stopped googling synonyms for every second word.

“Get to the point. Don’t use unnecessary words.” Edited text to be more concise.

“Meticulous, quick to learn, independent… everyone uses them. The reader has probably read thousands of these.” Removed trite phrases and words. Tried to be original.

“Think of who might be reading this. Who is your audience? What are their incentives to say yes or no?”

At this point, I got mad at all the feedback and cracked the sads. I demanded my husband tell me the answer and stop trying to get me to think critically. I don’t know who will read my personal statement but they probably want people who are capable of completing the course and can pay the fees.

“What do they want to know about a non-school leaver who obviously has the capabilities to do the course?”

I scrapped the whole damn thing and started again. In fact, I scrapped many drafts and slept on it for a few more before it finally dawned on me.

Know your audience. Why am I applying? What has led me to this point? What is my story?

I left my job to become a primary caregiver to two young children and started volunteering at the local neighbourhood community centre. That is when this journey began and so that was where I started my personal statement.

I wrote about how I enjoyed the challenges of helping students from diverse backgrounds. I highlighted my admiration for the dedicated teachers who taught the courses. I chose to remove the fluff of achievements, work experiences and skills to simply express my passion in seeking a career in education. I showcased my desire to make a difference in the community and to help others.

Hopefully, by being authentic and truthful, whoever reads my personal statement will look beyond grades, scores and experiences to see the capable woman who is really excited for the next chapter of her life.

As proud as I am of what I’ve written as my personal statement and the lessons learned from the task, I’m nervous about the outcome. I’m checking the email every day for that rejection letter.

Update: I got in! Come July, I’ll be starting a course to become an adult and vocational educator. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I had the kind of courage needed to dr


Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/

THE MAGIC WAND

Have you watched ‘Bluey’? It’s our favourite animated children’s Australian TV series.

The main characters are Bluey, a six-year-old Blue Heeler puppy and her sister Bingo, a four-year-old Red Heeler puppy. Together, they go on adventures through their imaginative role-playing. The parents, Chilli and Bandit, often engage the pups in their games, supporting and encouraging their curiosity at the world surrounding them.

The show focuses on the importance of play-based learning, constructive positive parenting and emotional validation. It realistically depicts the modern-day nuclear family, with both parents working, sharing the housework and child rearing. There is no gender typecasting or parenting role stereotyping. The father is emotionally intelligent and portrayed as a positive father figure.

There is a great deal of resembalance between Bandit and my husband – in character not appearance! He is Bandit minus the Australian twang and goofiness. He has patience in spades, dives into role-playing with ease, and has the right balance of discipline and love. He’s funny, smart and a very hands on co-parent. He’s a great dad.

Bluey gives my children, Mandy (7 y.o.) and Henry (3 y.o.) lots of ideas to incorporate into their own imaginative role-plays. One episode in particular, called The Magic Xylophone, involving a xylophone that has the ability to freeze the dad, was inspiration for an ongoing game in our house.

Like the magic xylophone, the children have a special magic ‘wand’ that can freeze people. Saying the word ‘magic’ has the power to freeze and unfreeze. My husband takes his role-playing very seriously, never ever breaking from character… under any circumstances. It’s funny to a point. And then, it gets incredibly annoying. Especially, if the children refuse to unfreeze him and only they have the ability to wield this magic wand.

I could be talking to him about an important matter and the minute he is frozen, not even the seriousness of the conversation will make him respond. I could be needing a fresh towel and be stuck cold in the bathroom, and he would not break character to save me from catching pneumonia. Absolutely NOTHING will break him from character unless it’s the magic wand. It has gotten so annoying, that now I hide the wand and pretend it’s lost. Until the children find my hiding spot, wreak a bit of wand havoc and then it’s conveniently lost again.

Recently, I was on the phone with a medical receptionist, trying to organise the family’s influenza vaccinations. I had been quite anxious about getting an appointment and organising our injections to be performed in the medical clinic’s car park to avoid COVID-19 exposure. With the phone to my ear, I glanced over to my husband and asked if the available appointment worked with his schedule. To my horror, my three-year-old had located the wand. With a wave of his hand, an excited squeal, Henry uttered the five-letter word that I’ve come to despise. MAGIC! In a jiffy, my husband was frozen.

“Henry, unmagic your dad.”

Giggles. Giggles. More giggles. Two unrelenting kids. A frozen dad. No answer to my VERY important question.

“HENRY! Unmagic your dad.”

“Gary! Can you make the appointment or not? GARY!!”

All the while, the medical receptionist was huffing and puffing in my ear. She was talking of stock shortages, lack of appointments and pressured me to make a decision. If you can, imagine me with steam coming from my ears and nose. I lost my cool.

For the first time, my husband broke character and responded. I got my answer and made the appointment but at what cost? I broke the magic. I diluted the power of the wand. I destroyed their game of make-believe. The kids were mighty upset with me.

This was a game that brought two fighting siblings together, nurtured creativity and imagination, helped them share and co-operate and supported their emotional and social development. The magic wand was a powerful tool of learning. I had to fix the problem that I had created. I thought to myself “What would Chilli do?”

The next day, as I was sweeping the floor, Henry walked past with his magic wand. He pointed the wand in my direction and said MAGIC! I froze and to my delight, Henry yelled out to his sister “Mandy! Mandy, come quick! I froze Mummy.” Something that has never happened before. We ended up playing Magic Wand until we couldn’t keep the laughter in anymore.

“The magic is back!” I heard my three-year-old whisper to his sister.

I finished sweeping with a huge smile on my face. Who knew I’d be happy to hear that word again?!

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/