Monday, May 7, 2012

An update

Poor neglected blog.  It is fairly low on my list of priorites so when life gets busy it just falls off the radar. 

April was a super busy month with university assignments, an Easter camping trip to Mount Gambier, 2 weddings and a 40th birthday.

Things have calmed down a bit now and I have a university essay due soon so I am procrastinating by writing this.  It's amazing how important unimportant jobs become when there is a deadline looming.

My biggest job for April was to finish the three flowergirl dresses for my sister's wedding.    They turned out beautifully and the girls looked gorgeous.

The 40th birthday was a dress up party.  We had to go as something beginning with the first letter of our first name.  I chose goldilocks.  I sewed the dress and bought a wig - costume done! 

Chris went as a cosmonaut.  I didn't make his costume though.  I just wanted to put in a picture  because it makes me laugh.

I also finished Reuben's blanket.  I love how it turned out and I'm glad it's finished so I can move onto my next project which is finishing this jumper for me I started last Winter. 

I've also been sewing some clothes for the girls and myself, but I haven't taken any pictures yet so they'll have to wait for the next update.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Inside Outside


I have been wrestling with the 5 metres of tulle I need to sew 3 flower girl dresses for my sister's wedding in a few weeks.  And we have been taking it in turns putting it on our head pretending to be the bride.


I have been weeding, digging in manure, turning over the soil and planting autumn seedlings (beans, onions, beetroot, spinach and broccoli).


I have been writing essays and listening to Kate Nash.


We have been gobbling strawberries as soon as they ripen


We have been finishing off the last of the strawberry jam we made back before Christmas.  It's gone already!  Such a shame.


I have been playing with the lovely vintage florals I received in Green Tea's swap.


I have been making zucchini relish, french toast (by popular demand), free-tatta (free because we don't pay for the eggs!) and lots of meals in the slow cooker.


I am trying to figure out how to tell when pomegranates are ripe and hoping their readiness coincides with my pomegranate-loving sister's arrival in a week or so.


I only have one and a half more squares to crochet before I can start putting together Reuben's birthday blanket


I have been reading Tell me I'm here, the latest issue of Country Style magazine and some new to me blogs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yummiest cookies EVER

We've had half a block of dark cooking chocolate sitting in the fridge for several weeks.  If it was real chocolate it would've disappeared in a flash but none of us really fancy cooking chocolate.  Funny that.

So when I saw a recipe for chocolate chip cookies using dark cooking chocolate on Nannette's blog I had to try them straight away.  Unfortunately the first batch got burnt.  Unbeknownst to me the baby had turned to oven up to MAX.  Bugger.  I don't encourage this level of involvement from my kids when baking but the oven is at floor level and she likes to play with the knobs. Luckily the oven door never gets so hot that it would actually burn a little hand.

After the first failure we decided to make some more and I'm glad we did.  These are the yummiest cookies EVER.  And this is how you make them:

125 grams softened butter
1 and a quarter cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 lightly beaten egg
1 and a half cups of plain flour
half a teaspoon baking powder
biggish pinch of salt
150-200g dark chocolate bashed up into bits (I, or one of my helpers, put it in a plastic bag and smash it with a rolling bin).

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Put butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and combine. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until just combined. Gently fold through bashed up bits of choccy. Put tablespoonfuls onto a lined baking tray with plenty of space between each one because they will spread. Cook for 15-20 minutes. They are done when they are pale gold.  Then put them up high on a shelf out of reach of hungry fingers!

Monday, March 19, 2012

On the weekend...

~ early morning baking and beater-licking (someone needs to invent an
electric mixer with three beaters so no one misses out)

~ swimming lessons

~ a visit to the toy library followed by TOYFEST 2012 in which all three children
played happily for almost an hour and Chris and I got to read the paper. 
 First time that's happened in oh about 7 years. 
I see many more visits to the toy library in our near future.

~ onion planting

~ a night out with good friends and no children

~ a sleep in and breakfast out with my love and no children

~ an afternoon at the Garden of Unearthly Delights bunjee bouncing,
 ferris-wheel riding and cider drinking 

~ a roast lamb dinner complete with live entertainment

I feel like we need another weekend to recover. 
Adelaide is absolutely the best place to live in the whole world in March, agreed?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A new old favourite

I made this dress for myself last Summer but I didn't wear it much for two reasons.  Firstly, dresses just are not breastfeeding friendly.  Pull it up?  I honestly think the sight of my tummy is more offensive than the sight of my boob.  Pull it down? A bit tricky in this dress. 

And the other reason I didn't wear it is because the 4 year old daughter of a friend of mine has a coat from a popular American brand in the same fabric and I was struck with the idea that maybe it is kids fabric.  And I was wearing it as a big person's dress.  And I became a bit self-conscious about that and stopped wearing it.

But this summer I got over my self-consciousness and I finished breastfeeding (7 years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding was enough for me) and now it's in high rotation.

It's another Anna tunic.  But I'm wearing it backwards and without the buttons. 

In other news...

~ I am making good progress on the squares-in-the-round blanket.  Half way there.  Touch and go whether it'll be finished in time for the birthday next week.

~ The painting is finished!  Abby and I went out yesterday and left Chris to paint while Erin napped and Rory watched a DVD.  Rory was still in his pyjamas from the night before when we arrived home at 5pm.  I guess you can't have a painted room and well-looked after kids.  He tells me he fed them at least.

~  I have signed up for Rhonda's apron swap.  And I bought her book too. 

~  I'm twittering.  It's great to be so up to date with all the news.  But I don't tweet much myself.  By the time I boot up my computer to post a tweet I've forgotten what the tweet was going to be.  I think it's designed for people with those fancy internet phones.

~  I just finished reading Anne Deveson's book about her schizophrenic son.  Wow.

~  We are hoping the $1 a day reward we have put in place for Abby will be enough incentive for her to actually keep her room tidy.  We are OVER it.  And what I read here about bad habits really resonated with me.  We also removed 90% of the crap that was in her room.  She's been left with clothes and craft stuff and that's it.

~  We had a wonderful time grooving, eating and people watching at Womadelaide on the weekend.  One of us however did not listen to her tummy when it told her it was full.  She listened to her taste buds which told her how yummy the food was.  Needless to say, we left early.  Peaks and Pits people.  Vomit aside, Adelaide is the best place to live in the month of March.  Never mind that nothing else happens for the other 11 months of the year. 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goodbye Brown

We've lived in this house for nearly 6 years now and although I didn't realise it when we bought it, there is a whole lot of brown and a whole lot of beige going on.  I don't do brown or beige.

It didn't bother us at the time.  Infact we were quite pleased that everything was neutral and we didn't have to 'fix' anything.

But over time (and especially since we've decided we're not moving) I have really started to dislike the brown and the beige.

I need colour!  And character.  There's nothing wrong with beige but it's just not very exciting is it.  And I want to live in a house I love and not in a house I just like.

Slowly we've been saying goodbye to the brown.

First, the cubby.

Next, the kitchen.  Which was 'intermezzo.'  I decided I needed a feature wall which I painted pink but that only lasted a few months before we painted the whole kitchen yellow (Dulux Straw).  WHICH I LOVE.

The pink didn't last long
Deciding which colour
Dulux Straw.  LOVE.
And then...we have very nearly finished painting our living room.  It was (ugly) mushroomy brown with timber skirting boards and picture rails and now...

Dulux Cream with Lime White trim
And our furniture isn't safe from my paintbrush either....

Formerly BROWN IKEA highchair
Bookcase (formerly BROWN timber)
Erin's bookcase (formerly BROWN MDF)

I have grand plans but (lack of) time and an ultra conservative brown-liking husband are my two biggest hurdles.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Precious little people

We try to keep our kids safe.  We remind them about looking both ways before crossing the road, and tell them not to run inside, and stay away from the hot oven.

But accidents happen.

Rory has had approximately 472 falls off his scooter.  And today on the 473rd fall he got hurt.  Really hurt.

Which is devastating as a Mum.  To know that no matter how hard you try you just can't keep them safe all the time.  He was wearing his helmet.  He was stopping at the corners.  He was looking for cars reversing out of driveways.  He wasn't racing.  But he hit a dodgy paver and went flying and somehow the scooter ended up whacking him in the forehead.

Blood!  A fountain of blood!  And tears!

He is fine.  As fine as you can be after 4 stitches and concussion.  He was so brave.  And I held my shit together quite well at the hospital but now I'm losing it.  I can handle the coughs and the colds and the bee stings and the gastro.  But I'm not cut out for this ER business.

They are so vulnerable.  And the what ifs are torture.  What if he'd whacked his teeth.  What if he'd flown off his scooter and onto the road.  What if he wasn't wearing his helmet.

And this is minor.  We can fix this with some cuddles and a a box of smarties.

The photos are from a happier day when we visited the park and I noticed my kids were all wearing clothes made by me.  And I had my camera.  Abby is in one of these peasant tops made with fabric from Spotlight.  Rory is in some shorts (reversible!) from this book made with Anna Maria Horner fabric.  And Erin is in bloomers made with fabric from Spotlight.

No one got hurt that day.

Have you had any visits to the ER lately?
How can we keep our kids safe (besides buying cotton wool in bulk)?
And do you agree that the ER doctor could do with some sewing lessons?!!

More creative spaces over here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Today I ran

Not me.  Image from here.
Today I ran.

I ran for the first time since high school cross country. I ran for the first time in nearly twenty years. I ran for 1 minute at a time interspersed with 5 minutes of walking. I ran for 3 minutes total.

It was hot and I was sweaty and my face was red but I ran.

I did not think I could even run to the letterbox.
Inspired by my sister who recently ran her first half-marathon, I ran. Inspired by my friend’s overweight husband who runs 5 kilometres a few times a week and is currently training for a 12 kilometre run in May, I ran. Inspired by a bookish not-the running-type (or so I thought) school mum who passed me when I was out walking this morning, I ran. Inspired by Nanette whose post made running sound like a pleasant and enjoyable experience, I ran.

Because I want to feel energised. Because I want to be healthy. Because I want to lose about 10 kilos this year. I ran.  And because I like food more than I dislike running.  I ran.

And I liked it. And it felt good. So I plan to do it again. And again.

And in May I'll be running the 4.5km Mother's Day Classic.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not my usual weekend attire...

But I wear them to chop onions and it really works.  My eyes didn't sting but the goggles did fog up so after a while I couldn't see.  I could've chopped my finger off with the knife.  Lucky I didn't.  I don't know what's worse.  Sore eyes or sore finger?

Anyway all the onion chopping coincided with a whole lot of tomato chopping.  So. many. tomatoes. Again.  Last weekend I turned approximately 4 kilograms of tomatoes into tomato sauce (ketchup) and today I turned another 4 kilograms of tomatoes into pasta sauce.  Aaaagh.  Why do they all ripen at the same time?!!

We had a crazy skin-splitting disease (too much water?) in our tomatoes this year so they were really only good for cooking.

The sauce I made using a bottle of Ezi-Sauce which is a complete misnomer.  There is nothing easy about chopping 4 kilograms of tomatoes, 2 kilograms of onions and stirring it while it bubbles on the stove for 3 hours.  Not easy at all.  But it is yummy.

My Grandma used to make tomato sauce (in fact she made heaps of yummy things) and it is a great regret of mine that I never asked her for the recipe before she died.  I asked my Mum about it a few years ago and she said she thought Grandma just used Ezi-Sauce.  Ezi-Sauce?  From a jar?!  My Grandma is a fraud!  I thought she made everything from scratch!  But my sauce and her sauce taste remarkably similar so I think she probably did use Ezi-Sauce.  And I'm ok with that because it's yummy.  Hello BBQ season!

Today I made oven-baked pasta sauce using the recipe in Stephanie Alexander's book.  This was a bit easier because I didn't have to do as much chopping because I pureed the sauce at the end.  It took ages to cook though.  8 hours in the oven!

And next weekend?  I'll probably have another 4 kilograms of tomatoes by then so any suggestions?  Something without onions please!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Operation house beautification

March is operation house beautification month. Our house is currently (still!) a shambles. In September we moved all the furniture out of our main living area so that the old ugly tiles could be removed and new timber flooring could be installed. The furniture was moved to the hallway, the back veranda, a corner of the kitchen and Erin's room.

And it's still there. Waiting to move back into the living room. Which can't happen until we finish painting the living room. Which can't happen until we have a spare minute. And we never get a spare minute.

Each night we sit (NOT watching TV because it was removed back in September along with the rest of the furniture) on the couch exhausted looking at each other talking about how we really should paint.  But neither of us can be arsed and off we go to bed.

But the walls won't paint themselves. So we will be painting them during operation house beautification.

But that's not all. Oh no, that is not all.

Once the painting has been finished, all the furniture needs to be moved back in.

And once all the furniture has been moved back in, we need to organise Erin's room.

And there are a few pieces of timber furniture I want to paint.

And I have a whole heap of empty frames I need to fill with photos and hang up somewhere.

And there are assorted piles of crap on every available surface which need to be sorted.

And there is some major de-cluttering to be done (I've already taken 3 big bags of toys to the op-shop and the kids haven't even noticed.  Well actually that's not true.  Rory noticed his noisy plastic  yellow car was missing but he's so used to not being able to find anything amongst all his mess that he gave up looking for it pretty quickly).

And we need to finish off our veggie patches and plant our new mini-orchard.

And do six years worth of pruning and weeding.

And then our days months of CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome) will be over.

OK.  Painting time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hooked. Literally.

My sore wrists and poor little thumb only had a few days rest.  I've started my next crochet project.

I had trouble settling on a design (and colours) but I decided in the end on a squares-in-the-round pattern I found in a crochet book I borrowed from the library.  Because I need step by step visual instructions.

Actually it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it and now I just can't stop hooking.  It's been really hot here in Adelaide which is surprisingly conducive to sitting on the couch under a mountain of wool.  No really.

I've set myself a tight deadline for this one.  It's for a special little boy whose first birthday is in less than a month.  Failing that, it will be for his second birthday.

Ravelry details here.

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