Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh, what a night!
December again, and it's time for the annual school Awards Night. I am certain the mosquitoes spend the whole year preparing for the night's feast. I also know that the children and their teacher's spend hours preparing the performances. The quality was quite high this year, a vast improvement on some years. Samara's class rock and rolled to Splish Splash. Seven year olds dancing with each other is always an entertaining sight. Christopher's class sang a couple of songs, one from Africa, and one from the Torres Strait, as they have been exploring other cultures this term.
An additional surprise was that both our delightful children won Quiet Achiever Awards! Samara's was a little expected, she has had an outstanding year of progress, and we have been thrilled with her effort. Christopher's was even more remarkable, coming out of the blue. He's a bright boy, but has always been a bit restless and spontaneous for the classroom. One of the things he's gained from his involvement in the Youth Choir is an increased attention span, and it's starting to really show! As I said to him (and the grandmothers I spoke to on the phone afterwards), "Wow! You managed to be quiet and achieve, at the same time!" I am simply bursting with pride at the moment :)
Above is a photo of the kids with their prizes - gift vouchers for a book store. We will have a very nice time spending those! The blurry guy in the blue shirt is Paul Lucas, the Deputy Premier of Queensland. The kids were impressed with his title. He donates quite a few prizes to the school each year.

Christopher enjoying a slushie at the sausage sizzle before the formalities.

Samara, cute as a button, even with tomato sauce on her cheek. She was much admired by a friend of mine who only has sons.
I am very annoyed at the 'wall of text' that is this post. For some reason my paragraph breaks are not showing today, and I am too lazy to figure out why. Oh, and Grandma, if you are reading this today, the photo will be taken tonight, once the tree is decorated for a background.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It has been an exciting week for little old me. Last weekend Darling Hubby's work Christmas party was held at the Marriott, a taste of five star living that will linger for a long time to come. The party had a seventies theme, which I was at first very dubious of, but on the night the theme turned out to be inspired. People wore everything from mini skirts to safari suits and kaftans. Inhibition was checked at the door (though not in the stereotypical, can't face your coworkers on Monday kind of way), and we all laughed through a wonderful night of music, memories (though not so many for the younger crowd) and disco balls. It has to have been the best party I have ever been to, and when going home meant an elevator ride, city lights and exquisite sheets, with room service eggs benedict in the morning AND NO KIDS, well, need I say more? Perhaps I should just say thank you so much to Grandma and Pop, who are fabulous inlaws and enabled us (and particularly me, a worrywart, very attached mother) to enjoy a grown up evening. Thanks G & P!

Let's just say I am looking forward to next year's Christmas do!

Monday brought a new joy. I am published! An article I wrote and emailed to a local parenting publication, Brisbane's Child, has been accepted and came out in this month's edition. And they are even paying me! So now I am thinking that I had better start making a little more time for my writing and see where it can take me. It's all rather exciting, really. Today a short article in a local rag, tomorrow the next Kate Granville or Lian Hearne!

So, as you can see, I am a bit giddy at the moment. I am sure I'll return to earth soon, probably to a mountain of laundry and unswept floors.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Daddy not sharing the cake candles.
We are all back on deck at last. Joshua went back to his 'kindy' for the first time in almost 3 weeks. The others are all fighting fit, emphasis on the fighting. Sadly for Josh, the little party with our friends has been cancelled a third time, this time due to the ill health of the guests.
I am looking forward to the election on Saturday. I cannot wait for an end to all this campaigning. Hubby and I spend a lot of time shaking our heads an asking each other whether people are truly that gullible. Our local MP was standing outside the school gates with a bevy of attractive young supporters a couple of days ago (BYO fans). They took up all the best parking spaces! I was tempted to tell him that lurking around the front of a school when you don't have kids there is generally frowned upon. I didn't because I figured he'd probably think I was joking. Actually I didn't get out of the car, because I already know how I am voting and he wouldn't like it.
Come on election day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We still have illness in our house. Joshua is still suffering from last week's tummy virus. We have been quite concerned for him, but have doctor's reassurances that it's just a slow recovery from a particularly nasty bug. It's been hard to see our usually vital and sweet little boy so sad and tired. Not to mention the horrendous amount of cleaning up and laundry he is generating single handedly.
Worst of all, we've had to postpone his 4th birthday celebrations indefinitely.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's been a long, and somewhat distressing, few days.

The Good: A pleasant weekend (for the healthy ones, more on that soon) spent with family. We celebrated a baptism and two birthdays. Babies were cuddled and cousins abounded. We always enjoy getting together with you all! Photos to come.

The Bad: We sadly lost our Cleo in an accident over the weekend. The kids and I are very sad. I really have nothing more to say on that.

The Ugly: A particularly nasty stomach virus swept through the extended family during the weekend. Turns out we were not immune to that one. All three kids and I were hit hard, fortunately Brett was well enough to keep us all in heat packs and cool water. All on the mend now, but still home from school.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Brisbane Kite Festival.
The festival was held last weekend, at a large park, just a few minutes walk from our home. We couldn't resist the temptation to walk down and have a look, even though the wind seemed a bit gentle for kite flying. The park is designed as a large common, with a cycling track and trees around the outside rim. The common is a huge raised flat area, and just perfect for kite flying.

Most of the kites being flown were most definitely grown up toys, though there were a lot of families who'd brought along their dinky little kites too.

The sky was full of kites. The larger ones, once launched, were anchored to sandbags, and, in a couple of cases, parked cars. The size of some of the kites was incredible.

We were also impressed with the aerobatic performances of some of the kites. They darted, swooped and spiralled through the sky.

It was very hot, and we couldn't stay long, but it really was the high point of a very busy Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sushi and Jacaranda Blossoms
It has been a relaxing day today. A sunny morning, a flash thunderstorm in the early afternoon and then lovely fresh sunshine again. Everything is washed clean and smelling sweet.
I have made (and taken some very dodgy photos of) sushi for dinner. Sushi?? Yup, it's my latest craving. Of course, in a house populated with picky eaters, making sushi can be a very fiddly task. I have made some with everything for My Darling and Myself, some with almost everything for the non picky Samara (who share my sushi love), some almost everything except the seaweed (ewww) for Christopher, and some with next to nothing but definitely not seaweed and chicken for hyper finicky Joshua. The non seaweed sushi is made with rice paper wrap instead. Yeah, I know it's barely sushi when you take away the nori, but that's what you get in a houseful of kids!

Meggie, from Life's Free Treats, was bemoaning the failure of her jacaranda tree to bloom this year. I simply had to flaunt my next door neighbour's tree. My very favourite thing about October is the way that Brisbane goes purple. As you can see, Meggie, I too have very ugly power lines, and let's not even mention the very ugly street. The jacaranda makes it all worthwhile.

When I was little I would imagine that the flowers were used as fabulous ball gowns by very tiny fairies. The long tubes, with delicate frills around the bottoms seemed perfectly suited to evening gowns.

My earliest memory of my Dad also includes jacarandas, and holding his hand as we walked down a spectacular purple carpeted avenue of trees. It seemed like the whole world was purple. I think Mum has a photo of that day, an old black and white shot of my Dad and two little bonneted girls. Even though the picture is not coloured, I see purple.

And now for something completely different; orange. Here are some of the lillies in my friend's garden. She and I are a bit sentimental about the lilles, because when Joshua was born she brought me a huge bunch of these flowers. When her twins were born her husband and older children brought her the same gift. When the lillies flower it's time to remember how cherished our littlest children are.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Double Trouble.

My favourite identical twins in the world turned 1 yesterday. Here they are with their Mum and Dad, who probably deserve the cake even more than they do. I think they were pretty relieved to have survived that first year. The older boy pictured is their cousin.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

loltiger - sry I skare u. I not rly goan eet u.

We have discovered the hilarity that is I can has cheezeburger in our house. I can't pick a favourite, though this repentant tiger ranks pretty high up there!

Friday, October 12, 2007

10 Ways to be Green at Home

Everyone knows that we should recycle. But there are many other ways that we can help preserve both our local environment and make our own small difference globally. Here are 10 of my favourite ideas for greening up our homes.

1. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products to reduce the chemicals finding their way into our water ways. Baking soda and vinegar are excellent cleaners. Vinegar not only works well as a glass cleaner, but makes a very good fabric softener, making towels lovely and fluffy as well as neutralising odours. Baking soda provides a gentle scouring action, and is great for taking hardened food debris off baking pans and even for cleaning your oven.

2. Plant a vegie garden. It's common knowledge that freshly picked home grown vegies taste better than the store bought options. Fewer people realise that by growing their own vegies organically they are reducing pollution by eliminating the transportation of food (sometimes hundred of kilometres) to the stores. You are also able to ensure that your vegies are truly organically grown.

3. Plant trees. I am a rabid tree planter, and have added trees to the gardens of every house I have lived in. Every tree makes a difference.

4. Plant species native to your area in order to encourage native wildlife.

5. Reduce your rubbish output by purchasing bulk products with less packaging. For example, buy the big bag of rice and store it in a container, or buy the big yoghurt tub and give children smaller serves in reusable containers. Home baked treats don't come with individual packaging.

6. Say no to plastic bags. Everyone has heard of this one. I keep my cloth shopping bags in the car, so that they are always available for groceries.

7. Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it is full. I used to worry about having a dishwasher, and its impact on the environment. I have discovered, however, that the dishwasher actually uses less water than handwashing dishes. Water conservation is a hot topic in our drought stricken region, so I only scrape plates, rather than rinsing them before washing, and I never run half a load. I line dry clothing almost all the time, only using the dryer when there are multiple days of rain.

8. Share the wealth. Donations of clothing to charities, passing furniture and clothing along to other families all reduce the need for everyone to buy new, and is a great way of recycling. Freecycle is a fabulous way of passing unwanted stuff to those who can use it.

9. Don't leave TVs in standby mode. They are still using power while in standby mode, so by turning the TV off properly you are saving electricity, thus reducing both pollution and your power bill.

10. Use a tea pot. It all comes back to the individual packaging thing. Leaf teas are less processed, and frequently taste better. And the used leaves make excellent compost. Pot plants like the last of the tea in the pot too.

There are so many easy ways to make our lives a little bit more environmentally friendly. Not only do they help the world, but they are good for our personal health too. Reducing exposure to chemicals and additives is good for our children and ourselves.

For an amazing list of ways to green your life, take a look at

Everyone can make a difference right now!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Environmentalism has always been an issue close to my heart, and as the world changes for the worse daily it is growing more imperative that we take action. It seems like a huge problem, and while our governments are not facing the magnitude of the issue it is so easy for the individual to question their ability to make a difference.

The Blog Action Day is a great way for all of us to help make a difference. Blog Action Day is the 15th of August, so watch out for my post on saving the world from home then!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

This week it was time to bite the bullet and fulfill a promise ...

After Samara's birthday excursion to Dreamworld, Christopher decided that only Movieworld could assuage his pain at not having a party this year. Hmmm, a houseful of nine year old boys, or Movieworld, tough choice.

Shoulda went with the party.

First we cured Christopher of his roller coaster obsession. But somehow fed Samara's passion for same. Road Runner has a lot to answer for.

Daddy took the kids on the carousel, so that I could take some dodgy photos of that ride. As you can see, he had soooo much fun!

There were some very entertaining things to see. The Police Academy Stunt Show had two of our kids on the edge of their seats, and one under his seat. The explosions were too much for Joshua (who had somewhat of a traumatic day, actually), but fulfilled every boyhood fantasy for Christopher.

But the real drawcard was the grand parade, and in particular, our family favourite, Scooby Dooby Doooooo! After the parade we went and saw the Shrek 4D movie (which has 3D glasses and adds feeling, in vigorously bouncing seats, sprays of water and air puffs on the back of your legs which sent poor Josh, already frightened by the 3d effects, shooting into the air. I had to take his glasses off and cuddle him tight, and he trembled through the whole show. I felt terrible that there was no way to take him out of the theatre. Thanks Heavens it was short.

The kids had a firm budget of $20 each, with whatever other money they brought with them. Samara had saved 5 dollars, and Christopher had $10 birthday money, so they felt quite flush! Christopher loved the Harry Potter shop, as did Samara, and Josh spent his entire budget on a stuffed Scooby Doo. All were happy with their loot.

We only lost one child, but found her again after a brief panic. We were in a particularly crowded area, and were only separated moments when I noticed, but it took about 20 minutes to find her. My kids have only given me a handful of heart stopping moments (so far) and this was one of them. She's learnt a valuable lesson about hand holding and paying attention to her parents.

The kids enjoyed Movie World very much, but we found that the rides were more suited to older children (and bigger children) than ours. It was also a hot day, 32C, and there was not a lot of shade. Super cautious me brought copious quantities of water and juice and we managed to avoid any sunburn, but heat does not agree with me. Ridiculous considering the places I have lived all my life.

Next we hit up Seaworld in November for Josh's birthday celebration, and we know that that will be very suited to a small boy who loves animals and getting wet.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sasha and Brad's Wedding

A very elegant affair. We travelled up to Cairns for this auspicious occasion, and enjoyed a lovely weekend at the Cairns Colonial Club. I managed to leave my camera at home, so the photos I took were on a borrowed camera. I failed to get a single worthy photo of the bride and groom, but here's a small collection of my more successful shots.

We all enjoyed getting gussied up for the big day. I was very proud of how sweet my little ones looked.

Waiting outside the church for the bride to arrive. Samara and her little cousin, Lailah were perfectly behaved young ladies for the entire day.

Samara was anxious about her flower girl role, and the weight of the flower arrangements they held was astonishing. She wasn't sure she'd make it.

After a wedding at 3, then photos and dinner, it all became to much for Joshua. He's such a good little boy, though, and just put his hands over his ears and fell asleep in spite of the loud music.

At the end of the night, the flowers were a bit bruised, as were the feet of many ladies I spoke to. Now I just have to hurry up and sort out the present, which was almost complete before an unfortunate incident with a tea cup. I need to redo some of it. It will be in the mail soon, Sasha!!

The wedding was beautiful, and the vacation much needed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home...

The end result of a project for Samara's classroom. They are studying insects, spiders and creepy crawlies this term, and as the grand conclusion, they had to make a model of a minibeast. Samara chose a ladybird. It had to have the right body parts, so we made the head and thorax from Fimo, and the abdomen (which has a fancy name I don't actually remember) from paper mache. Much glue, paint, beads and buttons were liberally applied, and we were very satisfied with the end result. I went up to the classroom to admire the whole collection, and I must say, we parents excelled ourselves!

Our new patio is finally complete, no photos yet, as there are still plans to be implemented, regarding furniture, gardening etc. It is bliss to sit out there, as the days are warming up, and inhale the scent of orange blossoms (our neighbour's tree, but it keeps trying to move in with us). Spring is so sprung, and summer is looming in the not too distant future. Ladybirds aplenty, we even saw one come out of its pupae thingy the other day!

We're off to Cairns for a wedding on the weekend, then hopefully I'll have some new crafty pics to show you, as well as a plethora of delightful holiday snaps! A weekend in a tropical resort is just what I need.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I could not resist these violas while at Bunnings with Mum the other day. Spring flowers always suck me in, even though our winter is scarcely colourless nor extreme in any sense of the word. The flowers always make me feel hopeful that the summer will be lovely, though in my heart I know I will still hate the heat, and that by February I will be gasping for reprieve!

Still, I can hope, can't I? MAybe this summer will bring the rain we still need. Last week we enjoyed a whole week of rain, but still our region only received a few weeks of water in the catchment. Just an hour north of us, enough water to fill our dams flooded towns and flowed out to sea. It's enough to make you weep.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I cannot believe I am the mother of a nine year old. How did that happen when I still feel like a kid myself half the time?

Christopher has enjoyed his birthday celebrations very much. On the weekend we drove down to spend a day with Grandma and Pop. It was great, as always. Grandma is a good cook, and the honey chicken Christopher requested was fabulous. The sticky date pudding was also wonderful, and I am looking forward to eating the last of it today, while noone is watching me.

We always take cupcakes to school for a treat on the day of a birthday. This year's batch was easy, as I had a lot of buttercream left over from the cake we took to G & P's place. I feel like the Pied Piper when I walk into school with a tray of cupcakes. All the little ones follow hopefully.

Christopher was very impressed with his gift from the solar system. We moved the dining table and chairs outside, and sat in the cold to eat pizza and cake under an eclipsing moon. I spent a lot of time trying to photograph it, took about 100 photos, and eventually got some satisfactory ones. I don't know much about the settings on my camera, usually just use the auto setting and the extra zoom in one (whose name I have forgotten). Last night, though, I fiddled with everything to get these shots.

Oh, and the big gap in my blogging can be blamed on a flu epidemic, we all had it pretty bad. We're all well now, though, and trying to pick up where we left off.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finally I have finished my first ever knitted sweater. It's a good thing I stuck with the smallest kid! It took a couple of tries to get the whole thing stitched up, but we got there in the end. I also cast off the collar too tightly, so had to unpick a seam and I'll add a button. Joshua is thrilled, after months of hovering over me asking if it's done yet. Of course, the extreme cold snap we experienced last week is over now, but the sleeves are so long he'll get a couple of winters out of it.

A boy and his dog. Joshua adores dogs, real or ootherwise. How can you resist such a cute pair of 'puppies'?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cold and tired here. I feel bad for not updating lately, but life has been getting in the way.

Last night Christopher (and the Australian Youth Choir) sang with the Keystone State Boys Choir, who are touring Australia at the moment. It was a fabulous concert. The boys sing so beautifully, and the integration of movement into the performance really added to the overall effect. Not to mention the fact that it's darn hard to keep boys still! They seemed impressed with our choir, and made a very big deal about the boys who are involved. Boys are very much outnumbered in our choir. It was good, I think, for our boys to meet such an enthusiastic male choir. In all it was just amazing. Voices like angels!

We're having a slow start this morning, as it was such a late night.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I have not been planning our food again ... I fall into this slump on a regular basis, I know. Here we go again. Brand new week, fresh start!

Monday: Portugese marinaded chicken breast, baked potato, silverbeet, corn. Dessert: Lime jelly (jello, for you international types) and custard

Tuesday: Beef casserole, polenta, broccoli and carrots. Dessert: Bread and butter pudding.

Wednesday: Chicken and lemon spaghetti carbonara, baby spinach salad. Dessert: Cup cakes

Thursday: Home made chicken nuggets (using tenderloins), chips, carrot and beans. Dessert: Fresh fruit salad.

Friday: Lasagne, fresh bread, salad. Dessert: Brownies.

Saturday: Crumbed fish pieces (from a box ;), chips, salad. Dessert: Jelly and icecream.

Sunday is the Cook's day off. She gets stroppy if she doesn't get it. I need to hire better help ;)

Edit to add: Silly me, I forgot to link to Laura's Organizing Junkie blog, without which there would be no Menu Plan Monday, and I would still be dithering somewhere in the back of my freezer!
Creativity Abounds

On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, feeling breezy and relaxed, I finally got together the things I needed to embroider some linen. It's a project I have been wanting to do for a while, so it's a joy to actually begin. I spread myself out on the floor, with my light box, sheets, pillow cases, patterns, two kids and a packet of felt pens (aargh! Not near Mummy's sheets! No!!), and got artistic. Well, no, I just traced - I am not a good artist, by any stretch of the imagination.

Joshua thrilled me this week with his first drawing that wasn't a blob of scribble. This is a picture of Blue, from Blue's Clues fame. The blue blob is her body and the balloon part is her head. The artist's endeavour is now hanging in pride of place, under the Superman magnet on the fridge. Up high, so that the artist can't get it down and wreck it. He's a temperamental little artist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You should see the other guy!

Christopher is in the wars at the moment. His mother's heart can't take much more. This morning as we walked to his classroom, his usual bout of enthusiastic scampering ended in disaster. He lost his balance and landed face first on the concrete step. Of course, the broken arm didn't help, and he had no way to break his fall. He came up with blood pouring from his nose, and an impressive collection of grazes on every limb excepting the one that's plastered from shoulder to finger tips. (That cast was optional, and I must say, one of the better decisions of my parenting career!) Ice, painkillers and back home to bed was the prescription for the day. As you can see, his eyes are blackening. I have nearly chewed through my tongue in my efforts not to say 'I told you so!'.

Poor kiddo, maybe now he'll slow down!

Monday, June 11, 2007

No pictures to show, due to flat batteries, but Darling Hubby and I have been on a bit of a demolition derby in our house this weekend.

We planned to remove an accumulation of larger rubbish that the regular collection wouldn't take, also to remove a concret ramp leading to our back door, in preparation for a slab to be poured for our new patio. We ordered two rubbish skips, one to be taken away last Friday for the regular junk, and then replaced with a special concrete collection skip for us to fill over the weekend. All went as planned, except that the first skip was not removed.

So we did all the work we'd planned, and sat down for a well earned Sunday evening's rest. Darling Hubby looked down and said 'We should get rid of this carpet sooner, rather than later'. That was all the encouragement I needed, since I have loathed the living room carpet for years. By 8:30 pm, we'd rolled up the carpet and put it and the underlay into the overdue-for-pick-up skip. Glad they forgot to get it! We unearthed some rather tolerable floorboards, so now I need to get them clean. Darling Hubby has gone away for work (on a public holiday, grrr)

Needless to say, we're a bit tired today, after getting a little over excited with our skips. Darling Hubby says next time he'll order a really small one, so I don't get carried away trying to fill it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Queensland - Beautiful one day, perfect the next.

Could this be the rain we've been praying for? Overnight we have almost reached the magical 50 mls we're told is needed before any runoff heads towards our dams. Water supplies in Brisbane are down to 18 percent of the dams' capacity, and rainfall is desperately needed. The outlook for today is wet, wet, wet, so we can only hope!

My garden has gone green overnight!