Friday, October 29, 2010

Family Distances...

10 240km is a long way. When I was 8 weeks old my parents left their country of birth and moved to Australia. They knew no one.

As a child this fact was just part of our family story and I didnt think too much about it. As a mother I have recently been giving it more thought. Two weeks before MiniMe was born we moved 9.5km down the road to be 0.8km from Aunt, 0.8km from SIL, 1.7km from Mum and 5.6km from MIL. Help was (and still is) always at hand.

I think back to when MiniMe was 8 weeks old and what it would have been like not to have my family and friends around. To pack up my life while recovering from child birth and move away from my support network. To enter motherhood for the first time is daunting. To move to a new country is daunting. My mother did both simultaneously.

They moved by choice. They moved for me and their children to come. I am very grateful to have been brought up in this country. Very grateful for the childhood they gave us.

The only thing I feel I missed out on was knowing my extended family. I have another 4 aunts and lots of cousins who mainly all still live close to each other overseas. The few times we visited when I was younger I was amazed at how I seemed to be related to so many people. Every time I met someone my Granny managed to find some familial relation.

This is why I feel so blessed that our girls are surrounded by their grandparents and cousins. I love the extra input they put into their lives and seeing the great relationships they already have with them. And I love seeing the delight they can give someone else. I use to come back from work and Mum would give me a run down on everything 6 month old MiniMe had done that day as if MiniMe had performed swan lake at the opera house. Delight.

Swings and treats from Gramps are a great hit.

Mardi is close at hand with a brush to keep their hair in line (something I am at a lose with). Goofy asked the other day when Mardi was coming over to do our ironing as the the basket was getting quite full! She looks after us all very well in many different ways.

Things that are broken are left for Pa because 'he can fix anything'.

SIL and BIL will be able to teach our girls things that are not our strong points but are theirs which I am thankful for. They have children the same age as ours (within a few weeks mostly) and they are our children's best buddies. There is many an imaginary phone conversation with them as they play pretend.

The A-team (my brother and his wife) will also have much to teach our girls and give them valuable insight into what it means to be full time ministers of the gospel. I hope our girls will also learn how to look after their younger cousins, however many there end up being!!

My Aunt and Uncle are two of the most generous people I know. We have had to buy very little for our girls thanks mainly to them. I am glad they moved here too as they are great people too.

One day soon I am sure my two cousins will be babysitters!

As U2 likes to say - 'I love us!".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something sweet...

This is what I am loving today.

I found out at lunchtime that we are having dinner guests. I have dinner sorted (chicken and leek casserole with tarragon and mustard dumplings) 
but what to have afterwards?
(I come from a family where dinner is not complete until some sugar has been consumed).

Spin some apples through the slicer and they come out peeled and sliced ready for a crumble.

The weather has turned a bit chilly, perfect for an apple crumble!

I am trying a bit of ginger in the crumble just to spice things up!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fruit and Veg...

A few years ago now we joined a fruit and vegetable co-op. For $10 a week we get a reasonable amount of fruit and veg delivered to our door.

The catch is that every 12 weeks we have to go to the markets and do the shopping and deliver it to the other 11 families. We figure that the amount we save each week makes up for the Saturday morning we lose once every 3 months.

The idea is that we get tomatoes, 2 green vegetables and 2 fruits every week, with potatoes/sweet potatoes/pumpkins/onion/garlic/carrots on a rotating roster. Most weeks I need to top up our fruit as the girls could eat an apple tree each week!

So while we know basically what we are getting there is always an element of surprise and sometimes we get a lot of one thing. This week we have a whole pumpkin. I need to increase my pumpkin repertoire. I have a standard risotto and some pumpkin fritter but then my mind goes blank. has given me some ideas but anyone else have any good ideas?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's not about me...

'It's not about me' has become my new mantra.

JollyJumper has a cold and was struggling to sleep last night. All I wanted to do was be in bed and have some quiet. I kept thinking this is not what I want to be doing.

But then my new catchphrase managed to worm its way into the front of my thoughts. Right at that moment being a mother was not about what I wanted, it was about looking after the needs of my sad little girl. It wasn't about me, it was about her.

And most of the time that is what being a mother (or father) is about. A lot of the time it is about putting aside what makes you the most comfortable and doing what is best for your child. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes it isn't. But I guess that is what is means to love someone whole-heartedly.

What helps you get through the harder parenting moments?

Monday, October 25, 2010


Mr and Mrs Brunch?!
The sun was out on Saturday morning and we were brunching, loving it.

We have some good friends who also have young children so we decided to do a Saturday morning brunch to work with naps and children's happy time.

We had eggs (from our chickens), bacon, roast tomatoes, mushrooms (cooked in garlic, butter, thyme, parsley and cream), spinach (from the garden), potato cakes (mash potato, egg yolk, cheese, chives, parsley), toasted sourdough and sunrise mocktails. Followed by some fruit and coconut bread.

It was a feast and very simple to prepare and cook on the BBQ. I think it could be my new favourite way to share a meal with friends.

So much so we have invited friends around this Saturday to do it all again!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Storage room..

The room downstairs is 5cm too short to be called a room so it is labelled as storage on the plans.

The storage room is finally in order. It may have taken me 5 years but this week is has finally got to a point were I am happy to let it be.

As you can see from the photos it is the girls play room and they can finally play in it as I have decluttered.

I realised clutter was my enemy. Because we had the room to store lots of toys in this room I did. This meant that whenever I let them loose to play in the room they would cover every inch of floor space with toys. We then had big fights to clean it up as it looked like an insurmountable mess. And it probably was. There were too many toys.

So i got rid of a lot. I realised that I really should have said no when we were generously given bags of hand me down toys (with similar toys to what we already had) and that I should have said no to myself when I decided to keep a lot of my old childhood toys.

I have learnt that less is more.

Now to tackle the craft room.....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Goofy?

I am in the kitchen and hear a continuous thud thud coming from Goofy's room.

I hasten to see what is happening.

Why is this fun? Why?

It is not the first time.

Oh well, good chance to spring clean the books, again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A night of craft....

Last night I decided I needed to partake in a little bit of craftiness.

This little cuddly for JollyJumper to take to bed as she tries to learn to sleep unwrapped was the result.

I cut out the front piece of a baby suit Mum had bought for MiniMe when she a newborn and was just out of hospital. The suit never was a great fit (wide and short) but the pattern on it I always liked.

I included my sewing basket in the photo as this is one of my favourite gifts (it has lost a few buttons unfortunately). SIL gave in to me when I was getting into sewing. She knew I had my sewing things downstairs so she made me a little basket to keep all the essentials so I could leave it upstairs or carry it up and down in one trip. It was pretty, thoughtful and not something I needed but has made life easier. A great gift.

JollyJumper has just taken the cuddly to bed for the first time so will be interesting to see how she likes it! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sppellling Miztacks...

This is an apology (and thanks) for those who read this and must endure my bad spelling and bad grammar.

My mother gave me an out when I was in year 6 when I overheard her tell someone that she blamed my year 3 teacher for my poor spelling abilities. I did not need to hear any more, I quickly walked away pleased with the knowledge that it was not my fault I could not spell and made no further attempts to improve the situation. Thinking back now I wonder what I did hear as my mother was trained as a primary teacher so surely she had a large input into my early spelling/grammar lessons and would not have trusted this job solely to my year 3 teacher!

Spell check has been my greatest friend but maybe also contributed to my downfall as I soon learnt that it didn't matter if I couldn't spell as the magical computer would go along and correct all my mistakes. I also got Mum to proof read a lot of my assignments and she served as another spell check as she was a rather talented speller.

Which had leads me to wonder - is spelling in our DNA? Did I just miss the spelling gene? Or am I just lazy and could do better?

MiniMe wrote me a note this morning - 'sori'. Maybe we can learn together?!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Twice Designs....

I love me a bit of hand made prettiness so I was excited to head with SIL to a shopping afternoon that her friend was putting on.

Her business is called Twice Designs. Very clever as she uses recycled materials that once had a different design! For example she felts old jumpers and makes them into clips, brooches etc.

I purchased some lovely felt hair clips, one of which MiniMe is modelling in the above photo.

 (An aside for those who know MiniMe - can you believe this is the same head that took two years to grow any hair!?!).

You can check out more at her blog Twice Designs.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I do realise that in order to loose the muffin top it is going to take more that reducing my chocolate intake.

I do realise that I will need to exercise as well.

Not quite at this stage...

I now realise how opposed to that idea my body is.

20 sit up and my abs are yelling - leave us along.

A  quick 1.5km walk with a 200m jog after dinner and my legs are not happy Jan.

Not sure if jogging is for me. Jury out.

On the plus side I didn't feel like snacking as much after dinner.

Baby steps.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Muffin top...

There is nothing like trying on your old pants to give you the kick up the butt you need to start eating better.

While startled to see just how pronounced the muffin top had become it really should have been of little surprise considering my diet. There has been a whole lot of chocolate consumed in the past year. A terrible sweet tooth combined with comfort eating has meant that my tummy has popped out (or not popped back in post JollyJumper).

So I made an immediate decision that it was time to get healthy. Cutting out the treats is my first step. But due to for mentioned sweet tooth I think it unwise to go cold turkey as I will not go the distance and be tucking into a Club dark chocolate bar before you know it.

So I turned to my weight watches cook books. I made a date and pecan slice which is ok but not great. It looks very chocolaty but when you bit in it is disappointingly not. Still thinking about the Club chocolate.

I looked up some recipes online and found one for banana bread which isn't too bad. Doesn't taste too different from the full of fat version.

But I am still searching for something that hits the spot and stops me from wandering to the confectionery aisle.

How do you break a life long habit without going crazy!?! Will power where are you?!?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


MiniMe has been taking dance lessons this year. She really loves it and has taken to making up her own routines. Generally they involve making up actions to the song lyrics. Very cute.

She has a concert coming up and I am surprised by the time and cost involved. At her level it only requires me to go and pick her costume up on a designated day and to take her to a half an hour dress rehearsal. The costume is costing us $55 but I then have to get white boy leg underpants and special make up! Tickets are $22 for an adult and $15 for 3 and up! If we want the privilege of watching the production again we can pre-order the DVD for $45 (my concern here is the MiniMe might get stage fright and we will have a DVD of her looking at the floor!).

How do people do this for multiple children and multiple extra-curricular activities?!

I would like to give them the opportunity to experience different things so that they can find what it they enjoy but I get the feeling that you need to be a little thought out in how and when they try things.

MiniMe has already expressed that she wants to keep going to dancing next year whereas I had thought we could change and maybe try a team sport. One activity at a time seems reasonable to me. 

I am thinking of the years to come when I will have three that I am trying to taxi to various activities. It makes me tired just thinking about it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I forgot my dancing shoes...

I took the wrong shoes to the podiatrist this morning. I wore my practical-get-things-done-no-nonsense shoes. I should have packed my sparkly-see-the-bright-side-of-things-dancing shoes. Maybe some ballet shoes that could be beautifully criss-crossed and laced up in a pretty pink bow and then used to calmly breath through some elegant stretches.

I was less than 5 minutes late for my 2 minute appointment and as I approached the door, hand on the handle, I saw the podiatrist enter his room with a young family. Great, I thought, he is running a few minutes late so I need not be angry at the trucks and red lights that cost me those 5 minutes in the car. 20 minutes went by and I asked how late he was running as I had enlisted the help of MIL to babysit and had promised not to be long. The reply, 'you weren't here'. He had taken in the next person who was a new patient who I knew from my previous appointment was about 45mins.

The skyline turned very dark and the rain came. The pressure from the rain broke the dam wall. If I was Rachel from Friends I would have started flapping my hands in front of my face to stop the tears. I am not Rachel so I gave in. Months of not enough sleep and physical exhaustion meant reserves for coping were at a low.

If I could go back in time I would (be on time) relax and enjoy the few minutes of quiet that had unexpectedly been given to me. I could have closed my eyes and pirouetted, lept, glided to a whimsical orchestral piece and left rejuvenated.

You live, you learn.

Next time, ballet shoes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

French days..

My father has boarded a plane for a trip to France. Tres tres jealous.

It was a few years ago now that U2 and I boarded a plane with an 18month old and headed to gay paree. I must admit that I had never had a burning desire to see Paris. I definitely liked the idea but it was not on my bucket list! However, SIL, BIL and DJ (sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their then 18 month old son) were going and we needed a spoily holiday as my Mum had died a few months earlier. What better place to be distracted than Paris so off we went!

We spent a week in Paris and I loved it. It is such a beautiful city with so many beautiful things. I cant exactly pin point one thing in particular that I liked it, it was just the vibe of the place. I remember wandering around the streets, absorbing the atmosphere and feeling content.

A market street we frequented near our apartment
We then spent a week in the French countryside. Drinking wine and eating well. Particularly cheese and baguettes! The owners of the house lived next door and we enjoyed some great wood fire pizza's and limoncello (yes, we were in France not Italy!).


Besides having my eyes opened to the beauty of France and learning that it is good to enjoy good things I also loved spending time with SIL and BIL. Mixing four adults and two 18 month olds for two weeks in a foreign country could have been a disaster but it was the total opposite (well for me, might have to ask SIL and BIL for their opinion yourself!). They had great ideas on things to do and places to see, we babysat for each other so we could enjoy Paris at night, we were all sympathetic to the difficulties of travelling with a toddler (there were some particularly noisy car trips), we shared meals, we shared a car, SIL and I looked in the 'girly' shops together, MiniMe had her favourite companion to play with and we came home with great shared memories. Great friends and great people!

While I may not have had a burning desire to visit France originally I now have a desire to return. Hopefully I will have some more French days before I kick the bucket!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1907 days ...

There are 1907 days till the year 2015, but whose counting?!

Well, the United Nations is. It has some pretty big promises to fulfill in relation to global poverty in the next five years. It aims to halve world poverty!

 In 2000 world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration. It lays out 8 goals which as such are neither new nor unique but what sets them apart is the fact that the MDGs (Millennium Declaration Goals) are definite and set in a time-frame and measurable values to accomplish. The MDGs seek to reduce extreme poverty, hunger, inaccessibility to opportunities of education and health services and promote sustainable development by the year 2015.

Today the Micah Challenge are holding a 10-10-10 campaign (10th day of the 10th month 2010!). They are raising awareness that there is a lot of work to be done in the next five years to halve extreme poverty. They are asking Christians to pray today for the poor.

They want people to learn about the issues, find ways to reach out and help the poor, and to fight for justice. If you have a spare moment check it out.

A worthy cause indeed!

ps - if you are visiting for the first time, maybe check out some older posts too as they are a little less weighty!!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Today I thought I would share my favourite online fabric shop. Such beautiful fabrics....

Kelani Fabric Obsession

I am feeling a bit of a desire for all things French at the moment so here are a couple of fabrics I found ...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The joy of babysitting...

It was a very calm house I walked into last night at 6:15pm to babysit for a friend. The toddlers were in the bath and the two older boys were happily drawing. They got in the bath when asked, played quietly, hopped out and got dressed when asked. The toddlers read a couple of books, said night night and went to bed without another sound, the boys played snakes and ladders and then when to bed and were quiet.

It was a pleasant evening. It was nice chatting to the older boys, getting to know them a bit better individually. That was what I was there for, to look after them. So I just sat and listened to them tell me stories or patiently played games with them. I wasn't wishing that time would go faster so I could get on with my 'to so' list.

Maybe my house would be calmer over witching hour if I just focused on the job at hand rather than thinking ahead to what else has to be done?

Now, I do realise that children are generally better behaved for other people. I also have to admit that I was not babysitting alone and had arrived after dinner. My friend had very kindly organised a babysitter to come and help till all the children were in bed. I also had JollyJumper with me who was not quite as calm as she was out of her normal routine, so it was not quite so serene.

But it was nice to be given the hope that witching hour does not need to be so witching!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Camping in the rain..

Some people like to sing, others like to dance, we like to camp in the rain!

 It would seem that if you mix camping, the October long weekend and us the recipe is not complete unless you add water, and lots of it.

It rained and rained, stopped for a brief moment and then rained some more on our latest camping trip. The same thing happened the last long weekend too.

 While the rain was a nuisance we still had a great time.

 The girls loved jumping in the muddy puddles (peppa pig style!) and MiniMe took off her training wheels and enjoyed riding around (and through the puddles).

 It was great to just have a break from the everyday routine. The girls didn't leave toys lying around as we didn't take them, the tent didn't need to be vacuumed, the dishes were done after each meal as you needed them to eat off again, dinner were organised before we left so they just had to be reheated and all you could do was sit under the tarp as the rain drizzled around you. And I love going to sleep with the sound of rain falling on the tent.

 The food was good, the company even better. It was a beautiful spot. So all in all a successful camp despite the damp.