Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Dare I Mention.......

.....Christmas?! Well, I'm going to be brave and courageous. Yes folks, in our household preparations are now officially on their way, thanks to this little project. Perfect for a 2yo little girl, don't you think? I know my girls at 2yo would've loved a little bag to tote their pack-ratted objects around in!!!!! For now it will grace the little basket on top of my sewing cabinet and give me some moments of pleasure!

We've also overcome the obstacles and hurdles of when to get together with my family. One brother alternates with his in-laws, being that they are in Gippsland, so we've tackled that and succeeded in a manner that satisfies us all, I think. It's now up to me to decide on a roast or a BBQ!!!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Book Reviews

I have neglected my book review posts here! My dear friend Rel has had me reading and reviewing for her of late and all the reviews have now been posted. I think I mentioned 'The Moon in the Mango Tree' when it went up, but have been terribly slack with the others!

Rel is very organised and she has a label just for me, so if you click here you'll find all the reviews I've done will pop up without you having to try and find them. Isn't she wonderful!?!!!

Apparently there is another bunch of books being prepared for me so I'm going to work on my own TBR pile while I have the chance LOL.

Menus and Wonderful Weekends

I'm all set for a week of vegetables, fruit and wholemeal bread!!!!! A weekend deviating from our normal standard diet has left me feeling a little deprived.

So...since we skipped the homemade pizza and had bacon wrapped chicken last night and we missed a few meals because of the weekend I think this might be what we'll eat....

Monday: Homemade pizza
Tuesday: Gnocchi with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce
Wednesday: Roast (whatever's cheaper)
Thursday: Herbed Ricotta Fritters, vegies
Friday: Yum Cha lunch / Homemade Pasta & bolognaise sauce for dinner
Saturday: Vegie Soup, homemade dinner rolls
Sunday: Honey & Orange Chicken, jacket potato, salad


Wonderful Weekends...

This weekend saw us visiting with good friends who moved to Shepparton. It's a country town in the central north of the State. The town's parks and gardens have these cows. Lots of different cows. Footy colours, Aussie flags, Aboriginal paintings, there's a brown cow with the words 'How Now' on it! I kinda like this one. If you want to see more of them you can browse here. It's all very imaginative!

We also went and visited SPC, otherwise known as Shepparton Preserving Company. SPC is a well know brand in Australia for tinned fruit & vegies, tinned spaghetti & baked beans etc. Jam at 90c a jar, rather than the $3+ in the supermarket was a worthwhile buy. As was the brand of bread flour we use at $5 off supermarket prices.

And we enjoyed spending time with our friends, whom we hadn't seen in 6 months. It was good to see them happy and settled where they are and yet it was surreal. So many things the same (we knew exactly where to look for the bandaids!) and yet so many things different. A different church family and new friends. Somehow I think our friendship will remain firm and strong despite the distance. We have lived and experienced too much together....not to mention 12 years of camping and seeing each other in PJ's LOL.

The rabbit and bird are still alive and the guy who popped in to check on them also mowed the lawns. What a lovely surprise!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Another Bloggy Break

This weekend we're going to be rather taken up with visiting and I doubt I'll make it to the computer. But I'll be back to blogging on Monday!

I've been madly organising a couple of little stitching projects for the weekend. Besides the fact that it's more sociable than blogging or reading, the AFL grand final is on Saturday. One word ~ B O R I N G. I'm not a footy fan. Stitching will enable me to endure an afternoon of wishing I could watch the grass grow instead! Both projects will end up being Christmas gifts. The little 'Wren's Nest' project I mentioned the other day has been put together and just needs the embroidery to be done. I'm also going to do the 'Fruit of the Spirit' stitchery again for my SIL, since she fell about all over the place in admiration when I was doing it earlier in the year!

We are now the proud pet-sitters of a little birdy and a little bunny. Featherfruit and Mischief have come to our place for a holiday whilst their family has headed off to Queensland for 3 weeks. I hope we can keep them alive. They tell us it's really easy and just keep their food and water containers filled. I dunno...they haven't remembered how I can kill ivy, daisies and lavender! I'm sure I've told them! We'll also be visiting their chooks to top up food & water and retrieve eggs :)

Despite my lack of pet appreciation, it is kinda nice to listen to Featherfruit chirp away. It has me wondering though, what on earth is the purpose of pets that don't desire human contact?!

Spring has Sprung

One of the true pleasures of buying the house we live in now is that only two months after moving in things started happening. Bulbs popped their heads up and we watched with anticipation to see what they were! Daffodils, Jonquils, stunningly deep burgundy tulips. I'd never planted tulips before, but here they are! The trees that had been dormant over winter started to bud. What a treat! The above picture is a tree in our front yard. Some weeping form of something or other that is awash with white blossoms right now!

The picture below was taken on my phone so it really doesn't do justice to the view. This paddock is one that we pass every day to and from school. One day we looked over and were amazed at the vast expanse of beautiful hues. The paddock sweeps up towards a house at the top of the rise and the whole area is just filled with all my favourite colours. They might by hyacinths I think. I've not gotten close enough to see. It is private property after all, and I'm a rule follower!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Stitching The Days Away

One of the things I like about school holidays is that we're home a lot. Being home a lot, I have more time to do frivolous things that I don't normally get to do during the day. Rel will be thrilled that I'm getting through my 'Books to Review' pile :). The other thing I love to do...and is far less anti-social...is to stitch my way through days where I normally wouldn't be able to do so! Today we're going to a friend's place for a play ~ I'll take this cute little stitchery with me and I'll still be able to chat.

'Tea Party for Madeline' is from Cinderberry Stitches, an Aussie designer. I love her whimsical style and the colours. I'm rather taken with the 'Monet's Garden' variegated thread! One of these days my buttonhole stitch will be more even ~sigh~. I was looking at Natalie's website the other day and discovered a new freebie pattern. I always love a freebie ~ don't we all?! Blue Wren's Nest is a gorgeous little tote bag with a very cute little stitchery on it. There is a free pdf file to download if you want the pattern ... even if it's just to get the stitchery outline! I happen to think a little niece might just like this for Christmas!

What a shame little boys aren't into cute little bags!!! Then again, a bag like this with a 'digger like Daddy's' stitched on it may be quite the thing. Master Nephew is quite taken with digging machines, seeing as how his Daddy owns one.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Moments of Pure Bliss

There are many times when Mum's, no matter how much we adore our children and being mothers, just really need a break. Being a Mum is a full time 24 hours a day, 356 days a year job. You don't get a holiday, although everyone in the house being asleep could be deemed such.

A weekend away is the absolutely most perfect little break I think a person could wish for! All you need is a small group of very precious friends and a place to be. For me, that was three other very like-minded, most precious gems of women that I have the privilege of calling 'friend'. We sewed, knitted, scrapbooked, read.....ate, slept (not so much!), ate, watched DVD's, ate, walked on the beach, ate. You get the picture. We were oh so tempted to stay another day. We had enough food to last us, after all!

I realised in the car on the way home, as Miss Mischief was dibber dobbing about something Dh had done, that for two days I found the normal woman beneath the meany mother! I had absolutely nothing to frustrate me and no reason to feel cranky. I was able to just be the person I really am! Now that is something I intend to keep in the forefront of my mind as we have school holidays and the requests for food and something to do will be non-stop!

Gals, do you think maybe six monthly would be too often?!!!!!

Monday, 22 September 2008

School Holiday Menu Planning

It is the first official day of holidays for us. We had a day off on Friday, but we were at school for a little bit.

So how does the first day of holidays begin? With a sleep in (for me, that is about 7am!), to catch up on much lost sleep over the weekend. Ya know, I'm not so good at 2am and 3am LOL. A little reading in bed to finish a book before getting up ~ finally! A slow start is a marvelous way to begin two and a half weeks of routine-less meandering through beautiful Spring days!

I tend to plan meals that take a little more preparation time during the holidays. After all, it's not like we have much else to do!

Monday: Meat Pie, vegies (using Maggie Beer's sour cream pastry recipe)
Tuesday: Creamy Chicken & Corn Casserole
Wednesday: Quiche, potato wedges, salad
Thursday: Oven Fried Chicken, baked spuds, vegies
Friday: Baked Tomato Gnocchi
Saturday: Mexican Tortilla Pie, salad (if I can find the recipe!!!!)
Sunday: Homemade Pizza (yet another lesson for Miss Sunshine on that one)

Of course, during the holidays we also need to think a little harder about lunches. Apparently boring old sandwiches just doesn't cut it! We'll be out for lunch on Wednesday at a friend's place. I'll take some fruit & yoghurt for dessert I think. But otherwise, I get stumped right about here. Macaroni & Cheese always features somewhere in the plan ~ the real stuff, not from a box. What are you kid-thrilling favourites??!!!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Mad Dash....90 Minutes to Go

Do you ever find yourself making lists in your head, running around like a headless chook, forgetting what you just thought of but it was really really important?

Yep. That's me. It's nearly 4pm and I'm just having my lunch now!!!!

I've got my craft, clothes, bathroom stuff, books....remembered the sheets & pillow...have a note to remember the stuff in the fridge. I THINK I have everything for dinner!!!! My very good friend had to pop in at school this arvo so she picked up the feta & butter I'd left in the fridge and dropped it off here for me. Dh phoned and is on track to be home by 5pm. I'll call him at 4.20pm. When he pops down to the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery they all get chatting!


Parent Teacher interviews went well. Miss K was quite puzzled about why every story Mr Busy writes is about cars. I said "Well, that is perfectly normal for a little boy whose first word was 'Car' and is still completely obsessed!" I told her about a conversation we'd had with him about our car having 3 names...like we do. The car's name is Ford Falcon Stationwagon and it is 8yo just like he is. She threw her head back and laughed. Mr W says Miss Sunshine is an absolute delight and in fact thinks all our kids are wonderful. Mr Busy hugs him, Miss Mischief plays some tiggy chasey game thing with him and Miss Sunshine leans with her elbow on his shoulder! Dh suggested that perhaps he could just follow the 6's up to Year 7. Nah....we have a 50% chance of Mr Busy having him in a few years! That would be a very good thing for Mr Busy.


My new Baby Nephew is very very cute and oh so teeny tiny. SIL is doing well. They're home already at 3 days old. I was still in hospital with each of mine!!! Master Nephew thinks having a baby brother is pretty alright. He loved having his cousins come and play with him. He and Mr Busy played cars on the car track mat together.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Dinner Date

I'm home, it's blissfully quiet. Dh is picking the girls up and took Mr Busy with him. That's what you get for popping in at school unexpectedly!!!!

Dinner for the staff went beautifully. I gave myself an hour to get everything organised and the timing was perfect. Just before the scheduled dinner time there was a small gathering of hungry men and a certain secondary English teacher drooling over what they saw. Mr Busy's teacher came up about 20 minutes late and whispered to me that the gossip was that dinner was really good and confessed that perhaps it was the best meal she'd had all term! They were all grateful to be well fed and were so grateful that they weren't getting 'just pizza' ~ they never know til the get to the Staffroom what dinner will be! One of the teachers was incredibly grateful that everything down to the salad dressing was homemade as she needs to avoid all manner of additives and happily tucked in to everything she wanted. Dessert was a choice of two cakes that had been leftover from Open Day a few weeks back and had been frozen. They defrosted perfectly and went down oh so well with a cup of tea.

I hope they feel loved and appreciated for all they do. As much as I love holidays and the break from helter skelter routines and busyness I am going to miss the precious bunch of staff I get to spend time with each week.

Guess What Dad Made?

Isn't my Dad just the absolute best?! I've been complaining about how cluttered my bookshelf is and how I'm struggling to find room for all the books I gather along the way throughout a year. So he started asking questions. The result of all those questions is a custom built bookshelf just for the little corner that was otherwise empty!

On Tuesday when Mum phoned to say "You're an Aunty, can we come and stay overnight tomorrow" the carrot she dangled before me was "we'll bring your bookshelf with us". Just so we're clear, no carrot-dangling is ever required. We're happy for them to come and stay whenever. However, as you can see I have wasted no time in moving some books over and arranging them alphabetically by author. The lying down stack is my TBR pile, should I ever reach the bottom of it!

Oh yes, it takes very little to keep me happy!!!!!

The Science Fair was really very good. The kids came up with some really useful inventions and some obscure inventions and some funny things as well. I was in Miss Sunshine's class for individual presentations of inventions and so had to miss out on Miss Mischief's. I am still heartbroken that I was forced to have to choose like that. However, I hugged her, kissed her, apologised to her and asked for a detailed report of how she thinks she went. I'll have a chat with Mrs K tonight and see what she thought.

Miss Sunshine's invention was a tea bag hook/dunker thingymajig. Mr W thinks a larger version could be useful for dunking teachers. I happen to think that it could be the perfect disciplinary tool for teachers to use on students. Such is the wicked and sadistic nature bestowed upon me by my Mother! Of course, on a 40C day, it could also be the perfect reward for students who deserve it.

Miss Mischief's Cat Oasis will be put to the test at Mrs K's house, on her cat. We shall see if the cat stays in!!!!!

Enough from me. Chicken needs basting and bread rolls need checking. The girls are being fed by some friends before they take them to Girls Brigade. I'll cook some pasta to take with the sauce my Mum made yesterday for the 'men' of the house to have when I drop Mr Busy at the shop. And I will eat at school. YESSSSS the plan has been sorted out LOL. You gotta love a well-orchestrated plan that is finely tuned!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Off to the Fair

The Science Fair that is. To see the final product of all the bits and pieces that have been hanging around the girls' classrooms for the last month! Until now it has looked like a pile of recyclable rubbish....but I am assured that it is all productive and not rubbish at all. In fact, all those bits and pieces and piles of stuff are actually useful, working inventions! I dunno...you could've fooled me!

You know what? I can't wait until this general studies unit is over. It has been a brain teasing, mind bending unit for us at home as well as at school. It will be three or four years before Mr Busy comes across this in his 5/6 years and I'm so glad it has to wait that long! The girls' homework this fortnight has been to invent a musical instrument (at home!!!), write a report with specific criteria and then write a piece of music that goes for a minute. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about overwhelming. I'm a proficient musician and I wouldn't dream of trying to write a piece of music. I told the girls they only needed 60 notes and make sure the tempo is at 60. Don't make that tempo the comfortable 70-80 that I tend to like.....you'll get to the end too fast!

As for the day so far. Potatoes are cooked. Roasted vegetable salad is roasted. Chicken is marinating. I'm well under control for dinner on Thursday night. I had a friend pop in and sit across the bench and chat with me while I chopped and baked. That was a nice way to distract me from cutting up 3 pumpkins LOL. I even got the floors mopped and a loo scrubbed. How's that for productive!!!!! I need to vacuum and have lunch before 1.30pm. I reckon I could manage that in an hour. The sunshine is beckoning me outside to turn over the vegie garden bed though.......

Mum and Dad are arriving this arvo for a quick overnighter. I'm an Aunty again to another precious big baby boy, thanks to the older of my two brothers and his amazing wife. We will pop down there on Friday. The kids have the day off and we'll have time to spend then. Miss Sunshine was doing the figuring this morning. Thirteen cousins in Daddy's family. Four full cousins and two step cousins in Mummy's family.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Birthday Plans

The plans are made and the invitations have gone off to school! Miss Mischief is very excited and I personally think she has every right to be. She has made some fabulous plans...all her own with very little editing on my part. This is an extraordinarily rare thing in our house LOL. There will be Yum Cha at a restaurant and then full-on meals that are all exciting to kids, for the next 24 hours LOL. It'll be the three P's. Pasta, Pancakes and Pizza! That, and the watching of 'Anne of Green Gables'. Ahhhh....this girl is my kind of girl!

Mr Busy and Miss Sunshine's reactions? "Mum, can I invite a friend to come over for me?". You gotta laugh. Nope, you get to just join in the fun with all the girls. Just as well Mr Busy isn't opposed to pink or dolls or any other stereotypical girl stuff!

So there you have it. Even I, the party-phobic mother, am excited about a birthday party which includes sleeping over and predominantly being at home. Two things I swore I would never again attempt!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Monday is Menu Day

Can you believe it? It is the last week of Term 3 here in Victoria. In just 11 or so more school weeks the year will have come to an end with the flourish that is Term 4!!!!

This week for me seems to be all about food! On Saturday we baked choccy bikkies for Miss Mischief to take to school for a lunch time party for her teacher, who is marrying on Saturday. Yesterday I had to figure out what to cook without power....such is life in the hills on a windy day. This morning I was up early making mini quiches for Miss Sunshine to take for the aforementioned lunch. Miss Mischief was terribly concerned about lunch, should the party not happen. I told her that between them both, they would at least have quiche & biscuits for lunch!!!!!

On Friday I'm headed off for a weekend with some girlfriends. Ohhhhh I can't wait!!!!!! I have been nominated to organise Saturday night dinner. Oh the pressure! I'm not normally a people pleaser type of person, but in this instance I want my friends to enjoy every single little bite! I have a plan for a meal that I can't get away with at home that includes couscous and nuts (not in the same course!). I would imagine couscous wouldn't rate highly in their homes either.

And finally, I am preparing dinner for the staff at school for Thursday night, where they will be on deck until around 9pm for parent teacher interviews. It's just a simple meal of baked chicken pieces, salads and homemade dinner rolls, but I hope it in some way conveys the deep appreciation I have for the efforts they put into the children entrusted to them.

So....what does the rest of the week looks like at our table?

Monday: Ricotta Herb Fritters, potato wedges, vegies
Tuesday: Meatloaf, vegies (Miss Sunshine out)
Wednesday: Apricot Chicken, mashed potatoes, vegies
Thursday: Staff Dinner ~ honey orange chicken, green salad, roasted veg salad, potato salad
(girls out, Dh & Mr Busy will have skimmings from the above and I will eat at school)
Friday: leftover lasagna, salad (take away or something for me)
Saturday: Dh can have more l/o's while the kids are out
Sunday: Chinese Corn Soup & maybe something like dim sims or roast pork buns

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sod Turning Sunday

This morning at church we turned over the first sod on our building site. After what seems like forever, finally we are about to begin our building project. The area is fenced, the pegs are in the ground and we're all set to begin. When finished, we will have a new car park....with bitumen!!! We'll have a new Sanctuary, a counselling centre and I think a little chapel that people can visit throughout the week. It has been a long time in the works with all the planning permits and dealing with Council but we're on our way!

The irony was not lost in me then, when I opened 'Our Daily Bread' and the title for today was 'End of Construction'!!!!!! The thing is, whilst building projects commence and end, our lives are always under construction. This morning the kids at church demonstrated to us how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. Sometimes the changes are obvious to all. Sometimes the changes require a lot of time and effort on our part, as well as the help of the Holy Spirit. However, no matter what those changes look like, and how they come about in our lives, we remain under construction until this life we have is no longer.

Now unto Him, who is able to keep
Able to keep you from falling
And present you faultless
Before the presence of His Glory
With exceeding Joy
To the only wise God, our Saviour
Be Glory and Majesty
Dominion and Power both now and forever

Saturday, 13 September 2008

I Think I Blinked!

I'm not quite sure what happened to yesterday. It was superbly beautiful, considering it was meant to have rained. I vaguely remember some drops somewhere in the day ~ can't remember when though. I happened somewhere in the blur that was my day. I stole four crackers out of the staffroom at school for 'lunch' at 3.45pm!!!!!

The day ended very well with a parent-teacher interview for Miss Mischief. Yes, she has areas she struggles in...we know what they are. They just require repetitive practice to build up her skills. However, she's trying her best, she's willing to learn and eager to try hard. She is becoming more confident when sharing her thoughts with the class and is a delight. Our current challenge to overcome is with friendships. She's not so brave and is more inclined to glue herself to me or some other adult, that put herself in the path of possible rejection from her friends.

Having said that, she's working on her birthday plans and has (without any prompting from me) chosen three lovely girls with gentle natures to share her day. I think with those three a sleepover would work just fine.

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe so I'm going to post what we had for dinner last night. It's from America so quite sweet....but it's sooooooo good! I've adapted it from the original for what I have easily available.

Sweet Apple Pork Chops

Pork forequarter chops (enough for your family)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon golden syrup
nutmeg ~ a few decent shakes
  1. Place the chops in a casserole dish.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the chops (make sure some of the liquid gets under the chops).
  3. Bake for one hour at 170C (fan forced)/190C (conventional oven)
Serve with mashed potatoes and whatever other vegies you like. Pour the juices from the casserole dish over the meat and potatoes.

If you happen to have a crockpot, just pop the whole lot in there and cook on low. I forgot to put it on in the morning cos I was distracted by being on hold with the digital box people, before school.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

At the Roundabout, Up the Garden Path

When you live in a small town there is always a little bit of gossip mixed in with local news. The best place in my town to find out what the go is on any given topic is at the local Quilt Shop. And so it is each Thursday morning that a group of us gather each week and stitch away whilst we catch up with the latest local news and swap stories about all sorts of interesting things. My golly I have learned a lot LOL. Everything from underwear to vegie gardening! Because there have been two other sewing circles in the week before Thursday, the news is so much more complete by the time our group meets! We laugh a lot and surprisingly, we do get some work done.

I'm nearly finished my homework from the last Quilt Class. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of hand piecing, but I was ever so wrong. It is so much more accurate and forgiving. The pieces seem to go together so much better for some reason. Yes it is more time consuming, but it also far more portable and so stitching is able to be done at times and in places where I would never drag my sewing machine along to! So above is my current block for this month.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Head in the Clouds

I've mentioned that I've been helping in my daughters art classes for the last....many weeks! I've had an absolute ball and truly that has been thanks enough. However, the Primary art teacher likes to thank her parent helpers in very fine style. This morning she took me out for morning tea to Cloud Hill Nursery. Oh what a beautiful place it is!

Picture this if you will (you Melbournian's will be able to picture this very well!) ~ a perfectly beautiful Spring day with brilliant sunshine, blue skies and just one or two puffs of cloud. The drive to Cloud Hill, in the Dandenong Ranges is a beautiful drive through natural forest and pretty flowering camellias and rhododendrons. The restaurant at Cloud Hill overlooks stunning gardens and out over to hills in the distance. We didn't end up walking around the gardens, because we were too busy chatting!

And what did we eat? A piece of chocolate torte each, mine with a cup of tea served in a single serve cast iron tea pot.

How do you top off the perfect spring day? You dash home to hang out some washing which will actually dry outside and then you head off and have lunch with a couple of friends.

What could be better?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice...

Or not, as the case may be. I don't know who made up that poem about little girls being made of sweet, nice things. Little girls can be very NOT nice!

It seems the girls in Miss Sunshine's class are having their fair share of little spats at the moment. None of it is serious or likely to leave any of them with emotional scars. It's just that silly "if you don't do it my way I won't play with you anymore", or "I only want to play with you not everyone else". It sounds like all this is coming from one girl, whose mother works in Admin at school. So my daughter has been accosted in the playground and told by this mother how sad she is that the girls aren't getting along. I'm sure that has just made a mountain out of what was probably just a molehill. I know how it is to be heartbroken when your daughter is being treated badly or struggling with friendships. I've been there! But I would never deal with the other kid myself!!!!!! The mother also asked me if I knew what was going on. The last incident I was aware of was dealt with and over ages ago so I had no idea.

So...my advice to poor Miss Sunshine who just doesn't do the whole emotional blackmail thing? To the girl who thinks the more friends you have to play with, the better life is? Who doesn't get the whole exclusive one on one friendship thing?

Be a good friend. Treat her the way you would want to be treated.
Be compassionate without being a doormat.
Find ways to express the value you place on your friendship with this girl.
Don't let her treat you badly.
Tell her gently that you don't like it when she does [xyz]. NEVER say "I don't like you".
Be willing to set your own boundaries within your friendships.
Understand that her Mum is upset for her daughter and put her comments behind you.

I have spoken with Miss Sunshine's teacher. Fortunately for me I am in his classroom helping from recess til lunch, so when the kids have gone out, it is the perfect time to have a moment to discuss such matters. I expressed my concern at Miss Sunshine having been approached by the other girl's Mum as well as the fact that emotional blackmail seems to be the weapon of choice for the kids to get their own way, and I have left the whole matter in his very capable hands to deal with at school. I'm so glad he has three daughters of his own LOL. I'm looking forward to Miss Sunshine coming home and telling me about the chat they will inevitably have together!

I hope we all survive to the point where the kids become adults!!!!!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Monday Menu Planning in Spring!

We enjoyed our Father's Day immensely! Dh & I both phoned our Dad's after church. We ended up having dinner at Dh's oldest brother's place, along with his Dad & step-mum. It was good to see them...they've just returned from a trip to the US to spend some time with Dh's 'other brother'. So it was good to hear tales of their trip and news from BIL's family.

I'm looking forward to a different week this week. No Year 5/6 Art. But morning tea with the art teacher on Wednesday instead. And lunch with a friend....always a good thing to do :)

This week our menu looks like this:

Monday: Forbidden City Chicken, potatoes, vegies
Tuesday: Cajun Chorizo Oven Rice
Wednesday: Moussaka, steamed vegies
Thursday: Sweet Apple Pork Chops, mashed potatoes, vegies
Friday: Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Pesto
Saturday: Minestrone Soup & h/m dinner rolls
Sunday: Homemade Fish & Chips (a la Aldi's freezer!)

How's your menu looking??!!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Father's Day

In Australia today is Father's Day. Dh was showered with gifts that the kids had made at school or bought at the Father's Day stall on Friday. We then had pancakes for breakfast. Some of us had jam, some of us had lemon and sugar....then we were off to church.

We had the Fair Pay Commission Chairman join us and speak at church this morning. His sermon ended with the devastating story of a father and son who went fishing after the son had pestered his Dad for a long time. In his diary that day the son wrote "Went fishing with my Dad. It was the most glorious day of my life". Years later the son found his father's diary. On that same day the Dad had written "Went fishing with my son. A waste of a day". Oh how I pray that we never feel that way about our children.

I hope all you Aussie families enjoy your Father's Day, spending time with your precious families.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Sleepover Report

We're all home, all rested and the kids have just headed off to bed after watching 'Cheaper by the Dozen'. I just love that movie and we laughed a lot together!

The girls' night went well. They did manage to get some sleep, which they were very thankful for. Of the three Girls' Brigade companies that attended two were nice and one was.....not so nice to spend time with, apparently. In any case, they enjoyed the activities they did and the girls came home happy, albeit a little grumpy! They'd also been shopping at the little store at the venue they stayed at and both acquired items they'd been hankering for the last time they were there.

Mr Busy and I also had a good night. We went on a night walk and lit sparklers, on the oval. Then we crossed the driveway and went walking through the bush. Of course any self respecting animal had long since left the area, but we had fun and I think only Mr Busy's teacher ended up with a leech! We got all the kids into bed and had popcorn while watching 'Hoodwinked' and then we all snuggled down to sleep. The kids were great. They went straight to sleep and I think they all slept well. There was a frog toy that croaked when you squeezed it. Wouldn't you know it, the owner of that toy slept with the frog and rolled on it a couple of times during the night LOL. Then we had breaky and the kids went on another bush walk with their teacher while the three of us parents finished cleaning up.

All in all a good night for all. Dh even survived! He was able to do a load of washing in the middle of the night and make as much noise as he wanted when he couldn't sleep! He's inclined to insomnia when he's got work stuff on his mind, so this all suited him quite nicely too.

Then we came home at lunch time and we all had a nap. There were some nasty little people around here before that LOL.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Friday Catch Up

So much happens in such a short space of time around our place!

I had my monthly quilt class on Wednesday night. I will post a photo of this month's project and homework. It's all about handpiecing this time and I'm working on a good and useful callous on my middle finger. I hate thimbles ~ they're so cumbersome and I've never mastered to the use of them!


The girls are off on their sleepover. We wizzed in, gathered their bits and pieces, shoveled in some popcorn and ran back out the door again. They're very excited. A dinner a McDonald's, spending money for the little shop and an evening of very interesting activities. I'll tell you more tomorrow when I get a report on the night! I've instructed them to sleep near a grown up if they want to actually sleep!


Today was my last week of helping in Year 5/6 Art. The little abstract sewing pieces they have worked on are displayed in the school office and look magnificent. I'm looking forward to having my Friday's back...but I have really enjoyed a different perspective of our primary school and what the kids get up to! The art teacher is taking me out for morning tea next Wednesday to say thank you. I should've offered to help with art before now if that is my reward LOL. I also got paid with two wooden cotton reels. You don't get wooden reels anymore so I was very excited. Much to the bemusement of the kids, none of whom understand such precious gems from the past!


Mr Busy and I are all packed and ready for tonight. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

It's Been Decided....

Oh the things we parents do! I am joining the Year 2's for their inaugural foray into the world of school camps ~ a sleepover at school. On Friday night :( I'm going to have to miss out on Book club for this!!!!!!

Mr Busy was quite adamant that he would NOT be going. I was equally determined that this was not optional and given that in Year 3 they do a two night camp that this is good practice. So we had ourselves a chat. It seems that he's nervous about sleeping over. I have explained that there are at least two other boys in his class that I know of, that also wear 'Dri-nites' pants to bed. Turns out he's petrified of the fact that the toilets are outside and such a long way away. Yes, because the other side of the classroom next door is completely unreasonable!!!!! In any case, when I asked what would make him feel comfortable about staying, he decided that having one of us stay as well would be just fine, thank you.

First of all, he thought that Mummy and Daddy could both stay. The girls will be at a sleepover for Girl's Brigade, so it was do-able! Then he consented to allow just me. Daddy is excited over the prospect of a night to himself and Mr Busy is happily excited about sleeping at school. Me? Well....it may not be as much fun as the 5/6 camp I went on earlier in the year and there are quite a number of nervous-nelly types in this group....but I'm sure I'll enjoy it, nonetheless. Even if I am going to miss out on book club for it.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Singapore Noodles

Tonight's meal needs to be quick & simple. We share driving with another hills family so that our girls can go to a bible study group, without killing us parents over the timing! I drop Miss Sunshine off to them so I'm out and about at a time when I would normally be home in my kitchen.

Singapore noodles is a relatively inexpensive meal. You can make it vegetarian if you wish, or you could use any one of a number of meat sources, if you prefer meat in all your meals. But you can get away with a little less, so it still ends up being quite economical. Once the chopping is done, the cooking takes about 5 minutes ~ I kid you not!

Singapore Noodles

200g packet rice vermicelli noodles
100g barbecue pork (char siu)
100g bean sprouts
4 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon curry powder (or to taste)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 spring onions, shredded
2 red chillies, shredded

  1. Soak the noodles in hot water for about 5-10 minutes (see packet), then drain. Thinly slice pork. Wash the bean sprouts and drain thoroughly.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until very hot. Pour in the egg and make an omelette. Remove from the wok and cut into small pieces.
  3. Reheat the wok over high heat, add the remaining oil and heat until very hot. Stir fry the onion and bean sprouts with the pork, then add the noodles, salt, curry powder and soy sauce. Add the omelette, spring onion and chilli and toss to combine.
Now of course, with children you don't necessarily follow a recipe exactly because we all have tender little taste buds to consider. We don't put in the chilli, but use sweet chilli sauce after it is served if people want it and I significantly decrease the amount of curry powder I use. I also very rarely use the bean sprouts. Instead, I often put in finely sliced carrots and snow peas. This adds some colour and nutrition, as well as a little extra bulk for hungry bellies that seem to think they need filling! I usually get Chinese sausages in the Asian section of the supermarket (in a shrink wrapped pack) and finely slice that instead of using the pork. It is the perfect substitute. On packet does two meals like this one.

As with many things this is a recipe that can be adjusted to suit what you have or what you don't without too much trouble at all.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Monday Menus In Spring

Today is the first day of Spring. It began with a beautiful splash of sunshine. Deceptive sunshine though. It looked beautiful, but there was no warmth in it, thanks to the Antarctic breeze that blew up! PE outside with the Prep-2's this morning left my nose feeling like ice!

So what's on our table this week? Good question!!!!

Monday: Sweet & Sour Chicken, brown rice
Tuesday: Singapore Noodles
Wednesday: Orange & Honey Chicken, potatoes, vegies
Thursday: Pasta with vegie Sauce
Friday: Lasagna (a carry over from last week), salad
Saturday: Tuna & Rice Casserole
Sunday: Homemade Pizza (including a lesson for Miss Sunshine)

Inspired by 'Little House on the Prairie' (we're busy enjoying the newly released Season 3!), I bought green beans and sweet corn last week. Oh how we've enjoyed that corn! I've included the husks in the cooking water and this has resulted in extra sweet corn. Mmmmmmm. We'll also be having our first salad of the season on Friday night. Mostly because I want to freeze half that lasagna and I need to make it go a little further somehow! Salads are something reserved for the hot summer months, in our home. By the end of summer we're more than a little tired of them and they are set aside as soon as it is cool enough to cook our vegies again!