Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another Girl

joins the gang hanging out in my etsy shop.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nasty or Nice?

In consideration of anyone who may have a certain phobia starting with "a" - please feel free to look away.

We have a lot of spiders at our place, in the garden, in the house. Thankfully I'm not afraid of spiders, although I don't like them. My fear, although I don't know the latin term, is of the smaller four legged creatures with long tails - they, they paralyse me with fear. Actually no, that's not true, they send me running for the hills. If I even saw any tiny, tiny evidence that one had been in our house, I would not return until it had left the house in a plastic bag.

Back to the sssssspiders though. We have a lot, as I've mentioned, but recently two have taken up residence in our front garden, where the girls and I spend most of our time playing. The first one spun its web between two rose bushes right next to the front tap. The second one, that I only found this afternoon, has spun its web between two of my tomato plants. I wanted Geoff to get rid of it for me. They're very striking, with an unusual web, quite active and also BIG. He assured me they're harmless - I asked him how he knew that. He said that the nasty ones aren't so colourful. Hmmm. Anyway, we decided to look it up on the internet and our spider is harmless (at most a bite will cause a weak local reaction - that's okay then) and is called a St Andrew's Cross spider.

They can stay, for now, I'll exercise less reckless abandon in picking my tomatoes and won't be diving into the zucchinis as much as I have. Ella isn't enthused though - she wants them to go - she dislikes all insects, despite buying her a bug catcher to try and help with her nervousness. She has only had sunny boys (slaters) in her bug catcher, butterflies are "too beautiful", grass hoppers "too scary", bees "too dangerous". She doesn't want to go outside until they're gone ..... oh dear, spiders days may be numbered - can we perhaps successfully relocate them via the bug catcher??

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Etsy Update

I've added a new line to my shop. I've been making tops for our girls and friends for the last few years and given what lovely things people say I thought I'd see how they've received in the shop. Have a look and let me know what you think - I'd love some feedback.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Eggplant, Aubergine, Melanzana

Afternoon Play

"The postman's been"!

Laundry not my forte

I like the girls to be able to play unrestrained, getting muddy, dirty, wet. I also like my girls to look nice. I don't usually remember to change them out of their nice clothes into those which have already received harsh treatment until it's too late. What results is a lot of tops like this which I'm having to constantly suds up with Wonder Soap in a vain attempt to get the stains out.

Yesterday after the girls had pulled up carrots from the garden and Leila had started chomping on one before I'd had a chance to wash it I did think perhaps I should take it off her, but she was so happy, slobbering all that fresh carroty goodness I didn't have the heart. This afternoon, I'll be Wonder soaping yet again.

Last Night's Dinner

came from a recipe in my birthday cookbook. They were delicious, although I tweaked adding more seasoning to the meatballs (including s&p, garlic and lemon zest) as well as altering the sauce which I made with chicken stock rather than plain old water. Well worth a try.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stripey Ones

More of our tomato harvest - how beautiful are they?! Of the two heritage tomatoes I bought from the Diggers Club this year, the Principe Borghese was very disappointing. It's not, to my taste, a salad tomatoe as the flesh is very soft and pulpy. It does, however, make a delicious sauce and although laborious given how small they are to skin and seed, worth the effort.

The last tomatoes to ripen however, the stripey one that's somewhat out of focus in the foreground, are delicious. They have a nice crunch and are super sweet as well as being absolutely gorgeous to look out. Only one problem, do you think I can find the label anywhere? I have no idea what they were called so will have to do some recon on that, together with drying some of the seeds - just in case.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Another Sunny Day

Perfect for afternoon tea in the park.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Can you get any more Sunday night family dinner than roast chicken followed by apple pie with vanilla icecream? I think not.

Sunday Afternoon

Finally finding more than a moment to make a start on two new dolls - I wish I could get myself into gear to produce more and in quick time. Others seem so productive, but I simply can't squeeze much me time from a day with 3 girls in it. Perhaps I need more than others sleep as I simply don't have the energy to stay up later to craft - I'm toooooo tired come any point after 9pm! I'm seeing a personal trainer tomorrow, trying to determine if it's realistic to fit that into our lives, I feel managing to exercise again will definitely help with energy levels.

A red moment, skinning home grown toms for a pasta sauce in one of my favourite Danish mixing bowls.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Afternoon Absurdity

A little silliness with my big girl after being at work all day. Good thing I'm not overly vain as these shots are far from flattering - of me anyway - our big girl always looks gorgeous!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bothering the Vegetables

I don't feel there are many things more satisfying than growing your own vegetables, nursing them from seeds or seedlings into strong, big fruit bearing plants. I get so much pleasure from watching, watering, picking, eating and the girls do too, hopefully it helps them understand our world a little more than simply shopping at the supermarket does. I want to grow some of my favourite vegetables next, I think they're winter crops, beetroot and fennel.

Ella helped, Leila bothered the unripe fruit.

I'm Not Perfect

There are people in this world who appear to be getting everything just right. Their balance between home, work, self, family, individual seems well, balanced. They appear to be able to live in the moment, be grateful for all they have, not live with daily regrets and frustrations or they simply hide their true feelings very well.

I'm an open book person - if you ask me something then I'll answer you without reservation and with complete honestly. I have found that at times some find my manner confronting, for not everyone is as open as me. I don't think of it as a shortcoming in myself, but think perhaps others do. I probably say too much and should keep more in reserve. I hope it doesn't come across as arrogance or that I think I know better, because I simply don't.

I question because I care. I ask for more because I think it's possible. I dream for so many things because I know what's out there. I want perfection because I feel we deserve it.

This is us on our wedding day, November 7, 1998. This year we will have been married 10 years. I'm a challenge to him I know. He's a quiet man, but I push him to say more than perhaps he would like to. I push because because I care, because I want for so much, but I'm sorry because sometimes it is too much.

Girls Made Cake

More cupcakes for a playdate with friends. Leila licked her first cake beater.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Baby Ate Cake

We had another low key celebration for Leila today with Geoff's family - morning tea, cakes and presents. I didn't pull out all the stops and come up with a show stopper cake for Leila's 1st birthday and feel such a lousey mother for it. It was 38C again yesterday and really humid, I just couldn't face baking on such a day. Instead I pulled out my old trusty Helen's Birthday Butter Cake recipe (Helen is my mother in law) this morning, it's an all in one vanilla cake that turns out perfectly every time, made some cupcakes and did cute but easy decorating. The smallest ones were happy, which is what counts.

Ella enjoyed time with her favourite cousin who is 4 years older than her. We always have tears when she has to leave because Ella misses her just knowing she's going to leave - so gorgeous but so heart breaking at the same time.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


When I'd just turned 22 I lived in Canada for almost 2 years. I'd travelled there with a long term Australian boyfriend but shortly after arriving fell passionately in love with a Canadian. We lived together before he followed me back to Australia when my visa ran out. He couldn't get work here so I returned just shy of a year after he left to be with him again. My travels in getting to him (he was in Alberta) started in Pennsylvania and continued up through NY, New England, into Canada at Montreal, all over Quebec, across the Prairies, into Alberta - back into his arms briefly, through Washington State, down through California and in San Francisco I met up with my friend Christelle from Paris. We then made friends with a groups of others at the hostel in Fort Mason - Laurent (French), Merve (German) and Magnus (Swedish).

Cutting a long story short I had a fleeting romance with Magnus, a true holiday romance -brief. He worked 6 months of the year doing some kind of forestries job in Sweden and then travelled for the other 6 months. He cooked, baked, was sensitive, read clever books, was Swedish.

We travelled alone into Mexico, through Tijuana into a town about half an hour from there. I can't remember the name but it had Rosa in it, Rosita, Rosarita.

One day we spent on the beach in a little shack restaurant, open at both sides and one end, the other end formed the kitchen. We stayed in that shack talking for most of the day eating real tacos - soft small tortillas with beef they chopped with a rolling chopper while it cooked on the grill. There were baskets on the tables with the toppings - chopped chillies, raw onion slices and tomato, I think that was all. We sat there all day eating tacos, 3 for 50c, and drinking Coronas, 50c each.

Every time I drink a Corona I think of that shack - not the guy, just the tacos and the beer, which I can only ever drink and enjoy when it's stinking hot - as it was today.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Big Day

We let Ella choose Leila's present this year - she chose a Care Bear! Ella received one from her aunty and cousins on her birthday in October and it was an enormous hit. Leila hasn't had much of a shot at "Cupcake" as she's called, as it's one toy Ella won't share. I think Ella's motivation in buying one for sister was partly to keep her away from hers, but also so she could "share" the new one! Somewhat suprisingly, it was a huge hit, she's been dragging it around with her all day. We bought her a wooden Noah's Ark which she opened appreciatively and then Ella played with - there's plenty of time.

The Sanctuary was great - I haven't been there since I was about 8 and my parents now live literally 5 minutes from the front gate. The place was absolutely rammed but it covers so much area that you didn't feel crowded at all. Ella's fave was the platypus, a very strange animal for anyone to see the first time - amazing playful considering how shy they are.

The cake is very unme - store bought nasty icing etc - but forgive me, in 42C weather baking is beyond even me. I'll make up for it Sunday when the family are over for morning tea and I promise it will be more impressive.

For anyone not local - here's one of Ella with some local wildlife. Koalas aren't known for being the friendliest of animals (they spit and bite), but this one, sadly (or thankfully), has gone to a supposedly better place, hence the relaxed pose!

Happy birthday gorgeous small one, I'll think of you most fondly at 11:25pm tonight!

366 days

Day 1

Day 366

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It Ain't Half Hot in 2008

This is the second year where it's been scorching hot at NY. I remember last year vivdly as Leila was born on January 2nd and it was unbelievably hot. We hadn't had our air conditioning put in and I have to say, I was feeling every degree.

We had a low key night after a day spent mostly hiding inside. We did venture out later in the afternoon for a "swim" under our makeshift tent, but even the icypoles didn't help keep temperatures down.. It's simply too hot to go outdoors when it hits 42C, it's just a matter of enduring. At 9:30 when Geoff and I were finally eating dinner it wasn't much cooler but the two bottles of champers helped!

Resolutions for this year - find a better balance in life. I, we, often feel that we're never quite achieving everything as we'd like to. With me returning to work it's harder and efforts will be doubled to get things right. 2007 was, I think, one of the hardest. Neither Geoff nor I realised just how much life would change with the increase of our family from 3 to 4. We still try hard to manage the balance between individual needs, couple needs, parental duties and family commitments. I wish I could relax more, not worry about all the have to's and just do the good stuff. I try to get it right, but I feel I fail more often than I succeed. I'm a hard taskmaster though - overly sensitive to my own shortcomings, of which I feel there are many. I wish I could analyse less and enjoy more.
Leila turns 1 tomorrow. She's running, brushes her hair and teeth, waves, can make herself very clearly understood - surprises us constantly. We are having a low key birthday for her tomorrow if the weather allows. Our plan is to head to the Sanctuary with my parents for a picnic lunch. We'll have a proper cake with the trimmings this coming weekend with the wider family. It's not the big 1st birthday we had for Ella, I hope she doesn't feel neglected because of it in years to come. Ella's 1st birthday was a sunflower party and Leila's will be a daisy party - themed cake at least! She'll feel special, as we hope she does every day, because she is.