Saturday, May 27, 2006

This is the fairy toadstool cake I created for Samara's party. It's a little lopsided, but tasted great! I ran out of vanilla, so the butter cream icing was flavoured with rosewater.

Here is a photo of our little fairies, gathered in the back yard. Thirteen very excited girls! The fairy toadstool cake, with rose flavoured icing, was a hit. Each girl made a fairy wand to take home as her party favour. We played Pass the Parcel, Musical Statues and an impromptu round of Torment the Older Brothers. We also blew bubbles, played in the sandpit and cubby house and on the swings. I am exhausted, and as I type this I can hear the birthday girl snoring in her bedroom.

I could not believe the amount of food those little girls consumed. We had barely any leftovers at all! I usually overcater for parties, but this time I hit the exact amount we needed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Today has been one of those days when it hits home that I really am a mother. My darling princess has been feeling poorly a couple of days, and at 2 this morning my day started with spending an hour or so at her bedside, dosing her with cough mixture, applying chest rub and eventually resorting to steam inhalations to try and settle her coughing. It was worrying, especially as I was the only adult at home, and had no way of getting her to a doctor. She did finally get back to sleep, and this morning I granted her a day off school as she was not much better.

I have spent much of the day preparing for the previously mentioned princess' birthday, which is tomorrow. Birthdays seem to be a much bigger deal than I remember them being when I was a girl. First I had to do the shopping for the weekend party, to which all the little girls in Samara's class are invited. We have planned a couple of craft activities and party games, and had to get the necessary supplies. Cake ingredients, party food and paraphenalia were also on the list. I also paused to gaze longingly at the lovely boots at Colorado, while Samara told her life story to the sales assistant, but that wasn't actually on my list.

Home again the two day cleaning frenzy began. I am not a great housekeeper, and struggle daily to keep up with the creative messmaking of my family. I also had to bake and ice cup cakes for Samara to take to school tomorrow to share with her class.

So between laundry, cleaning, baking and nursing the sick I have felt like quite the domesticated wife and mother today. Pity about the Literature essay that I scarcely have had time to glance at. I need a duplicate me just to get through what I am supposed to achieve in a day. I am so glad I have decided to lighten my study load next semester.

The photo, by the way, is one I took at Palm Cove, far north Queensland, at Christmas time when we were up that way visiting my family. It's my favourite beach in the world.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Joshua with his Daddy, Southbank, Brisbane.

He's such a photogenic little boy. When I took this snap he said Chheeeeeeeeeeeeeese!

The three kids together, being silly. It's not a very good photo, but they look so happy it's a keeper in my book. I love moments when they are clearly loving being together.

Christopher is a member of the Australian Youth Choir, and on Saturday had his very first concert performance. He was on cloud nine when he came out afterwards! I have never been so proud of him (or shed so many quiet tears) as I did seeing my little boy doing such a great thing, and singing like an angel.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another long week...

We have had a lot of ups and downs this week. Brett was away for his work, which is a huge downer. It proves to us every time he goes away how much we all rely upon each other. I was lonely, here being a single mum, and he's been lonely there, living without all the chaos and love. He's coming home in the morning, so I'm having trouble getting to sleep tonight.

All the children have colds, especially poor Samara, who took the day off school today. She's not a happy girl. They squabble so much when they aren't well. Christopher was a total grump this afternoon, so I am expecting him to get worse. I doubt anyone will be going to school tomorrow.

Sent out the invitations to Samara's birthday party today, so I am starting to feel anxious about that! She wants a fairy theme, so we will have to put some thought into how to achieve that. I am thinking of turning the clothes line into a fairy bower, by draping it with sheets and decorating with streamers, tissue paper flowers etc. We have instructions for a fairy toadstool house cake, and lots of cute food ideas. I need to get a recipe for a nice pink drink, suitable for 6 year olds ... maybe cranberry juice and lemonade? I'll keep thinking! I thought we'd make wands with lots of glue and glitter, and we need to come up with a few games.

So much to think about!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Last night I was rereading Proverbs 31, and was thinking, in particular, about verse 12, which reads "As long as she lives she does him good, and never harm". It reminded me of a piece of wisdom I heard somewhere (I have no memory of where), that, no matter how frustrated or angry a wife/mother is, she should never speak poorly of her family, but praise their good points when speaking with others. Since I was told this I started to notice just how often women criticise their spouses to friends and family. Sometimes it even turns into a bizarre competition of trying to prove that her own spouse is more inconsiderate or lazy than the others'.

Marriage needs to be a safe place, where you know that you're loved in spite of your flaws. It is sad to see that women can lay out the flaws of the man they are supposed to cherish for all to see. What a wife says about her husband colours the opinions of others. Complaining about him diminishes him in the eyes of the listener, and really causes him harm. Of course, I wouldn't advocate remaining silent in a truly bad relationship, it is vital to seek the assistance of others in extreme situations, but I am saying it's not right to complain about the small aggravations that exist in every marriage from time to time. Dwelling on the little things rapidly turns them into major issues, but by praising your husband to friends you are keeping in mind his good points, and therefore strengthening your marriage.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cooking has always been a favourtie activity of mine. I truly enjoy time in the kitchen, creating a nourishing, delicious meal and knowing that each day I am doing something that positively affects my little family. I have a vast collection of cook books, which I read as enthusiastically as any novel, but I don't use them so much when I am actually cooking. Often I follow a recipe once, but find I need to make a couple of substitutions, the next time I make it I vary it a little more, and soon I find it's yummy, but very loosely based on the original. I cook without measurements a lot. The one exception is baking, where I am not quite so confident.

We have been eating a lot of risottos, pasta dishes and one pot meals lately. I think for winter I will introduce soups as a regular feature. The children have never eaten a lot of soup, but the last couple have had a better reception, so it will be a good cheap and easy meal! I don't use recipes with soup at all. For us, pumpkin soup is just onions, softened in butter, half a butternut pumpkin, cubed, 6 or so cups of vegetable or chicken stock, oregano or thyme (fresh is nicest), and I put it all through the blender once the pumpkin's very soft. My cauliflower soup and potato and leek soup are very similar! We make fresh bread rolls using the breadmaker, and there you have a delicious and very healthy Friday night supper.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

These are my beautiful children, Christopher, Joshua amd Samara. This photo was taken at Christmas time, while on holiday.
It has been one of those weeks that leaves you feeling really, really tired.

Samara broke her arm on Saturday, and has spent the week home from school, partly because I have been giving her paracetamol and partly because we are still waiting to go to the fracture clinic and find out about the treatment. She fractured just above her elbow, and is in a cuff and collar sling. She's been so lively and cheerful, and she waves the sling around with such abandon that I started to wonder whether there was anything really wrong at all. Then yesterday she was playing and managed to accidentally pop the sling apart. Well, the look on her face said it all. The sling is clearly holding her arm at an angle which eases any pain a lot! She has a wonderful teacher, who gave me plenty of work to keep Samara busy during the days (my first taste of homeschooling!)

Brett is very stressed at work. He has to travel as part of his job, and has a couple of trips coming up. He hates going away, and it really shows. He's like a bear with a sore head!

Joshua and I have both had colds for the past couple of days. Poor little soul, he's so cranky when he's sick. And I wasn't much better. It was the first bug I've had in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten what it feels like. Now I remember!

This seems to be just a string of complaints, but I am quite happy with the way I have handled the week. I have been thinking a bit about my role as wife and mother. I haven't been meeting my own expectations by a long shot, but that's a whole other story. I have had a better handle on things, in spite of the set backs. I have been trying to organise a To Do list each morning, and I am forgiving myself for the stuff I don't get to. Both these steps are great progress for me, as I have spent some time paralysed by the massive sense of failure I got looking at myself. I have been doing well this week, especially with all the extra work!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

What a lovely Monday we are having. Other than the disappointment that Brett was called into work on the public holiday (fortunately he had the problem resolved quickly) we have had a nice family oriented day. This morning I got the floors mopped and sheets and towels washed and then we made a picnic of chicken sandwiches, from the chickens I roasted last night, and crisp red apples and headed out to a nearby park. The children ate fast, they were anxious to get out and play! They dug in the sand, played on the slides and ran through the obstacle course about a thousand times. Then we took the picnic rug down by the river, and sat in the shade watching boats sailing past.

Now, during nap time, I have been reading blogs and relaxing beside my sleeping baby. What an absolute joy. Samara is napping too, she broke her arm playing on our backyard swing on Saturday, and could use a rest. I can hear Christopher and his father, heads together, repairing a computer at the dining room table. Soon I'm going to get up and make fettucine for our dinner. Brett gave me a pasta maker for our anniversary, and I really enjoy getting back to basics, and making delicious pasta from eggs and flour! We'll make a sauce out of bottled pesto, cream and more of the roasted chicken. I am feeling creative today, so I think I'll even make a butterscotch pudding for dessert.

I love long weekends with my family!