Friday, November 30, 2007

While I'm

trying to do this.

The girls are doing this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another tick

This is Leila's first Christmas, so she needs a stocking. I love this - I must admit it's a copy made with my own fair hands, I can't justify the cost to buy one of the originals. Ella's had the same once since she was born, but now wants a new one too, fair enough, so I'm going to make the gingerbread house one for her.

I've had this stocking since I was a babe, still use it every year, made for me by my mum.

Jingly Jangly

I took the girls shopping this afternoon, the priority was to get 3 presents for parties that Ella's attending over the next few days, but we got sidetracked. There's a kids clothing shop called Cotton On Kids - fairly basic stuff, all cotton, at reasonable prices. There was a deal of cotton summer dresses - buy 2 get 1 free - so we bought.

When your children are small you dress them, before long, I think with girls particularly, they start dressing themselves and involving themselves in the shopping. Yet again they aren't to be mirrors of ourselves, but it's hard when they like things you just wouldn't choose yourself. Ella and I agreed easily on the first two dresses, but for the 3rd she fell in love with the jingly, jangly dress. It's hot pink, has silver stripes and those indian style little medallions at the bottom that make a noise wherever she walks. I love it too because before, when we took the photos, she said "mum, I love this dress, it's my very first jingly, jangly one". How can you not love it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Show me the greens

Our little vegie garden is coming on in leaps and bounds. We've always had something every season, but this year have planted a little garden complete with Sally Scarecrow. It's not a huge area at all, perhaps 1.5 x 2m, but it's amazing how productive it can be. Already fruits are set and everything is looking very lush. Let's hope that the baby's bath water continues to agree with our veg!

Big tick

on getting the advent calendar finished and up on the kitchen wall. Gosh that was a fun activity - thanks Kids Craft Weekly for the stellar idea! We had such fun doing it although I'm a bit concerned about whether I got the right activities in the right days. I can't believe that I actually go back to work next week - aaargh!!! It's only two days a week and the girls are with their grandparents but gosh, I haven't got my mind around that yet. Hopefully I've scheduled the fun, easy tasks for Thursdays and Fridays and left the making of the gingerbread house for one of the other days!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


I have come to really enjoy Pina's blog and a recent post titled "home" made me realise just how much we yearn to learn more about 'friends' who we 'meet' through these blogs we all love so much. Hers was a brief note but conveyed, to me at least, so much of her personal history.

I said to a friend recently that I tend to dismiss my own achievements, am a reluctant receiver of compliments and generally downplay anything in my life of note (excepting my two gorgeous girls). When I stop to think though, I have actually done a lot, or perhaps more seen a lot in my time. Because I enjoyed Pina's post so much, because I thought perhaps others may be interested to learn more of me (although harking back to earlier I don't assume anyone is reading) I'm going to do a brief summary of my life thus far.

1969 born in Northern England.
1971 emigrated to Australia with parents and 3 older brothers.
Life passed happily - stories may perhaps come later as I'm going to skip forward to my life, or at least the one where I started to be responsible for my own choices.
1992 left Australia for Canada following an Australian boyfriend of 2 years. Got to Canada and promptly fell in love with a gorgeous Canadian.
1993 back in Australia and soon after the Canadian followed.
1994 back travelling through the US and Canada, back with the gorgeous Canadian but didn't turn out to be.
1995 back in Australia - new boyfriend after returning from overseas.
1998 new boyfriend turns into husband.
End of 1998 move to the UK.
July of 2003, 6 months pregnant with first child return to Australia to deliver via 6 weeks of hiking in the US - Zion, Grand Canyon, Yosemite.
1st daughter born in October 2003.
Buy first home in July 2004.
2nd daughter born in January 2007.
I'm 38.

When I put it like that it doesn't sound so cool after all! I must elaborate more at some point - make myself sound more interesting!


Finally a new Government - hooray!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cupboards are definitely better than boxes

when it comes to childrens craft cupboards.

We're like most families living in an older house - we just don't have enough storage space - anywhere. With our recent renovations however, we now have a functioning laundry with benches and extra cupboards for all the extra stuff. Previously both my crafts and Ella's were stored in boxes which meant every time either of us wanted to do anything we had to hunt through everything to find what we were after.

Yesterday I finally managed to at least arrange Ella's cupboard and as simple as it sounds, it's already made such a difference to both of us. For me it was firstly a sense of relief at finally getting organised. Having stuff everywhere can get so exhausting, so much double handling and feeling that things are never tidy. For both of us though, it's changed our play, which has surprised me. Instead of me dictating what crafts we're going to do, which was previously the case because of all the disorganisation, Ella can now go to her cupboard and choose what she wants to do.

We had so much more fun crafting for most of the day because it wasn't me, I guess guiding, what Ella should do. She had more fun, she was more creative in her activities, more enthusiastic and it lasted longer. I've been a mum for only 4 years now and in some ways that feels so long, but in others I'm obviously still learning the most basic of things.

Next task is to organise my own cupboard beside hers - is it sad that this excites me so much?!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


you feel grateful for the most simple of things, like your child's empty dinner plate.

Until recently I would never have described Ella as a fussy eater. She has her preferences - separated food items rather than stew type meals. She loves pasta of all types with everything from simple oil, bacon and parsley to carbonara. She doesn't, however, like cooked vegetables apart from steamed kipfler potatoes (no other kind will do). She adores all vegies, but will only eat them raw. She loves olives, proscuitto, mozzarella but doesn't like boiled, scrambled or fried eggs.

Recently though, she hasn't wanted to eat any meat. She doesn't want bacon in anything, she may eat a burger on the bbq in the context of a lovely outdoor family dinner, but otherwise no. A couple of weeks ago she plainly said she didn't want to eat meat. In and of itself that doesn't actually bother me so much as we aren't huge meat eaters in our house, but I find that it's harder to cater for vegetarian meals with children than adults. For us I compensate with stronger flavourings but she doesn't necessarily enjoy them all. I've been soaking more lentils of all kinds but again, when accompanying vegies have to be raw, it can get tricky.

Last night I was not at my finest. After a long very hot day I had made risotto, very plain with stock (I did sneak in some bacon, but come on otherwise it has no flavour) and a few cooked peas for her sister which I fished out and replaced with raw ones for her. As I hope we've all done from time to time I lost it when she wouldn't eat her dinner and kept going on about dessert. Much yelling, unfortunately on both sides and probably within earshot of the neighbours, ensued.

We both calmed down and as usually happens, we discussed what happened during bathtime. We talked a lot about what she does like to eat which included nuggets, plain pasta, fresh peas and carrots. We agreed that one night she could choose what she wanted and the next we'd look together at recipes and try a little harder to have something different.

Tonight we had homemade chicken nuggets, plain pasta, green beans, peas and carrots followed by strawberries and cream. The interesting thing is that when she was helping me crumb the nuggets I referred to them as chicken and she said "not chicken mum, nuggets". I wonder if I've been the master of my own downfall. A while ago she asked me where chicken (that we eat) came from and the discussion subsequently extended to all meat types. I hesitated, but answered truthfully for I didn't see a reason to fudge. I now wonder if this isn't where it all started.

For now I'm going to try the balance between what I know she enjoys eating and isn't honestly bad for her and trying to again coax more into her diet. The other thing she loves is calamari, but heaven forbid anyone should tell her it's actually from the fish family! No-one wants a difficult dinnertime and most of us would do anything to avoid it, such a stressful time of day. In the end though, reflecting last night, why isn't she able to be "fussy" or "selective" about her diet as we all are from time to time, why do I completely inflict on her my selections. Don't get me wrong, I don't ever believe in cooking multiple meals for a fussy eaters, that's above and beyond in my mind, but we all want a simple and happy life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Baby it's Hot Outside

38C today, too hot to be outside, in the park, anywhere but in the cool of a darkened house. Crafts call today.

So far we've started on our Christmas card swap and after a little tweaking (Ella wants to include a homemade bracelet with each one ...) we'll just be waiting on our names and addresses to send them into the world.

This afternoon we're going to make some little books - an idea that I hadn't thought of before, but I so love keeping all Ella's special little pictures, having them in one book is a wonderful idea.

Tomorrow I start painting with my dad, renovations are almost finished (the verandah is being done as we speak) and now it's time to really finish the dressing of everywhere. Christmas is upon us and as we're hosting this year it would be nice to have everything done before then - here's hoping!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Into the Blue

Another of my Ella dolls has been purchased from my etsy shop! I'm so thrilled. I know that some of you manage to sell things quite regularly, but I'm still new to this game and find the idea that someone buys something I've made quite exhilarating. She's now on her way to NZ and is to be the birthday present for a little girl and I so hope that she adores her when she opens the wrapping.

I'd love the little shop I have to take off andwonder what I can do to promote it more than I do. I have thought of more aggressive I guess, for lack of a better term, ideas, but am not sure that really fits my life at the moment. For example there are a couple of gorgeous shops I would like to see the girls in, but have no idea how selling to stores (if not on consignment) works. I just hope that people appreciate the dolls, I'd love to get more out there - but I'm content to be patient. In the meantime if you've checked them out, I'd genuinely welcome your feedback.

PS She does look a little mummylike doesn't she!


Whatever it is that we take from our garden, I always find it thrilling when it then transfers to our plate. Having said that, these aren't so very impressive for a few months of tlc are they - more like spring onions!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Does it make me a bad mum

that I not only watched this happen, but that I also took photos of it?

Heading North

Wednesday afternoon we were engrossed in the lovely new foamies that my dear Aunty Anne sent from the US. She's so terribly generous with my girls and Ella loves everything that she sends. We have seen some of the foamies before, in fact Ella received some for her birthday from another aunty in the form of little dolls, but I didn't realise there was such a range of different ones.

Yesterday's task at hand was to make a special card for Alice. Alice is one of Ella's "best ones" from kinder and she is moving back to Sydney with her family tomorrow. The card ended up being crammed on every corner with different foamies and had a little bracelet enclosed that Ella also made. I'm sure life will be very different for you all soon, but it's nice to know that you'll still have a foot in Melbourne with the house here. We'll miss you and hope we'll all keep in touch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

38 years

At about 6:15 I heard a little voice spoke in an urgent not so quiet whisper "where are the presents dad". A short sharp tap, tap, tap on the forehead a few moments later rapidly followed by a loud "happy birthday mummy". All four of us in bed this morning, opening presents, reading cards, smelling deliciously necessary candles and reading inspiring recipes.

Thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful partner of 12 years and husband of 9. Two gorgeous girls who work me work hard for my money but reward me with riches I can't compare. Loving parents and extended family, health, home, happiness.

Happy birthday me.

Pay It Forward

When you are able to spend a little time looking at the amazing stuff that others are posting on the net you start to feel connected to 'strangers' all over the world. You also, in return, want to share a small part of your life with them.

I don't think too many read the posts that I make yet, but I do feel connected to that something that we're all participating in simply by putting myself out there. Having said all that, I think that the pay it forward idea is a wonderful one, connecting to new 'friends' the world over. I've been lucky enough to be one of three participating in Tanya's 'pif' and would love to the same in return to her, or you!

Here are the rules:

1. You leave a comment here on my blog and request to join the Pay It Forward exchange.
2.The first three comments who agree to join will receive a handmade gift from me (a surprise of course) within 365 days.
3.You return the Pay It Forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Want to play?

Friday, November 09, 2007

In the bottle

Something I've been wanting to try for ages - my wort is in the bottle waiting to become beer. We now wait for at least 3 weeks - I'll let you know how it turns out.

Post Holiday Post

Dad went back to work yesterday so the holiday is officially over.

The girls travelled really well, although a flight at 6am was a bit of a struggle on the way out.
We've never been to Western Australia before and found it a real contrast to other parts of Australia we've visited. I think it helped me appreciate more the appeal this country holds for visitors from overseas. WA has mainly indigenous plants, the feel and looks is very 'Australian' I guess. I've never been so interested in the more remote parts of this country (the centre, up north) but after this visit I am so interested in seeing more. It's such a vast area though - you could easily spend 4 weeks over there and only skim the surface.

  • Simmos icecream
  • Our splurge stay at Bunker Bay
  • The wine, the wine
  • My day spa moment
  • Little Creatures
  • Watching ella loving the beach, the sand, the shells
  • Being sneezed on by a llama at a petting zoo
  • Having Geoff around with us all day every day
  • Leila taking her first unaided step just short of 10 months
I wish we'd had longer. I wish every day could be a holiday. I'm not concerned with the treats of it, the going out for meals, the splurges. I just wish that Geoff could be home every day, in that respect that every day were a holiday. It feels 'right' when he's with us and the emphasis seems all wrong when he leaves for the office every day and comes home at bedtime.

I've come back refreshed and promising myself, and the family, that I will continue to be relaxed, less short tempered, focussing on the day not the week. Trying much harder to balance the things I have to do (the housework, the cooking, the shopping) with those I want to do (play with the girls, some things for myself). I have found over the past few days that simply remembering to focus on what I want to achieve with my day in terms of state of mind, as well as tasks, really helps. In this respect I hope the benefits of the holiday last long.