Wednesday, April 27, 2011


For the longest time our little one wasn't so inspired by painting. It wasn't the medium she didn't fancy but the mess. Anything messy wasn't at all her cup of tea. Now, however, she loves to paint and the mess certainly doesn't seem to bother her anymore. Very cute, particularly the constant commentary that goes with her creation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


What a lovely break. The only downside about 5 days at the beach for Easter, is the unpacking and washing when we return home - but I know I'm not alone with that thinking.

Highlights. A lovely house that was so comfortable, quiet and kept the girls entertained no end. They jumped from trampoline, to hammock to swing set.

The Easter bunny found us again and the girls loved every moment of their hunt. Leila still had pictures to work out this year, but Ella's was made up of words jumbles in 2011. Clever bunny.

Flying Easter kites on the beach - the adults literally begging turns from the smaller ones.

St Andrews beach as lovely as ever.

Geoff and sneaking a quick hike, this time down to Fingal Beach. So much good walking in this area, just not enough time. (A heck more steps on the way up than on the way down - or so it seemed!)

Walking the Millionaires Walk in Sorrento and marvelling at how the other half lives.

Toasting marshmallows in our outdoor firepit.

Watching Ella enjoying her half day horsey adventure so very very much.

The obligatory trip to Montalto only to discover they'd sold out of their lovely basil oil.

Enjoying nan and pa's company for some of our stay and playing every board game from solitaire, to tic tac toe and ultimately to Monopoly.

A perfect break - we must book in something else soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


An afternoon of jungle adventures with lovely girls from here.

Monday, April 18, 2011


In a mild state of exhaustion this morning we quickly made this "jimmy bread" men to take to Leila's friend Alice's house. First we ducked past the park for our kinder easter hunt, then for a play, then walking home again, just in time to get a quick sandwich and walk to the hairdressers for holiday haircuts and now home again. I'm going for a nap!


Oh and to add to the last minute stress last night I made my own tortillas.

I've been wanting to do this for a while and it was surprisingly easy. The cooking them at the last minute for 16 people part was a little bit challenging, but we got there. They're delicious and I'm looking forward to trying them as I saw in the recipe, topped simply with a fried egg, some avocado and chilli.


We had Geoff's final birthday celebration at ours last night. A Mexican fiesta!

We had corn cobs con queso and ancho powder. We had quesadillas. We had spicy chilli with different salsas, sour cream, all the trimmings and finished off with a lime curd and cream cake. The highlight of the night, the pinata! The smallest kids had a few goes first, then to the teenage nephews, then to the dads, then to the mums and then to grandma! Who would have thought she packed such a punch. Great fun.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This afternoon two things happened very close together that led me down this thought path.

The first was that I caught sight of a photograph on our screen saver of Leila, around 2 years old, in swimming classes just before we gave them up. The second was that Leila called to me from the kitchen to show me that she'd spelled out her name on the fridge. Those two things together made me realise just how far this little girl has come, all on her own.

On the swimming, it's a long story, but we had a issues with the teacher and the class format so we decided to stop. It was all too hard. We haven't done formal lessons since then, over 2 years now, but Leila has doggedly taught herself to swim. Now don't get me wrong, she can't swim laps, but she has taught herself how to float, how to doggy paddle, how to dive underwater, all the classic things. I've had little to do with that at all aside from presenting her with time to play in water. You can't force learning on this little one.

The spelling is easier, she's no different to most children, she loves to learn and if you make it into a "school house game" she's up for anything. They also feel such pride in being able to write their own name, then yours and their siblings.

So, this train of thought made me realise anew that I wish I'd thought more or realised sooner that it's fine just to let your children find their own way, in their own time. I don't think I've ever really pushed my kids into anything, but I've been guilty of having expectations of them achieving certain things at certain times. From the time our babies are born we're measuring them in every way imaginable against every other baby. Isn't that a little strange? It implies, at least in some way, that we're measuring their normality in a way and my gosh, do you know anyone who is truly normal?

My girls are delightful, funny, intelligent, beautiful and most of all happy. I will try never again to be guilty of pushing forwards if they just want to stand still for a while longer and, think about it, whatever it may be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today we made plastercine figures and probably took twice as long as we spent making cleaning it out from under our nails.

We made some of these little fellas - very cute. We just need to add legs and make a dozen or so more!

We made a trial of one of these with what we had on hand and will buy wire and fishing line tomorrow to get the full effect.

We used some of the lebkuchen spice that Leila chose yesterday to make "jimmy bread men". It's a warmer, richer spice, utterly delicious.

And we found time to chill and rewatch this absolutely gorgeous movie.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Day 1 of the school holidays.

Medi deli for oil, canned tomatoes and cheese.

Gewurzhaus for ancho chilli powder and some spontaneous purchases by the girls.

'Nettis for coffee and cake.

La Latteria for mozzarella.

Rathdowne Cellars to collect a special order.

Casa Iberica for tomatillos and chorizo.

Back to Blackburn for ciabatta with chorizo, mozzarella, homegrown tomatoes and basil.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I don't often do this, read more than one book at at time.

I have one of my favourite author's new book on the go, but it's not as easy a read as I was expecting. It's one of those books that you have to slow to read, preferably in a dark quiet room, which is not often how I grab my snippets of reading. I like it, but I wasn't savouring it enough.

So now I'm onto one of Geoff's library that he read relatively recently, the movie of which I think is being released now. It's good, I'm hooked. In fact, I'm off to bed to read some more!

PS Cooking challenge - yesterday spag bol all around - total $8.50 (including parmesan, and all the extras) and that left two smaller containers in the freezer for dinners for the girls. Tonight we did lazy mum's been working dinner - Boscastle thai chicken pies with garlic and chilli brocolli $10.70 for the two adults, an earlier children's dinner of chicken meatballs, rice and stir fried vegies $4.95. Problem with these pricings is I'm only pricing the elements of the dinner, but it doesn't reflect truly what I've spent - if that makes sense. We'll keep going ...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


What a lovely morning. Leila turned to me at one stage and said "Mum are you just having the best time ever, because I am."

The best $5.00 I have ever spent!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I've recently discovered there are a multitude of blogs and websites dedicated to being more resourceful, some would even say frugal.

We are no different to many other families who constantly see our grocery bills going up. In our home for some time I've been trying to cut back on waste (or avoid it altogether) and think more ahead of time what I'm going to cook, how I can use what I have, rather than what I fancy tonight.

I'm not sure I'll be dedicated enough to manage as well as this lady does but I'm going to try and focus on what we spend for at least a couple of weeks and see how easily it comes. I'm not sure if I'll be able to price things too accurately, as I don't know how much a portion of rice (which is already in my pantry) costs, so don't make me sign my name to these prices, but let's see how it works out.

We don't always eat the same meals as our girls - but that's another story. For today let's just concentrate on the dollars and cents. Ella and Leila - Beef schnitzel with pasta and vegies

  • Beef schnitzel $3.34

  • Green beans $0.60

  • Corn on the cob $1.33

  • Fusilli pasta

  • I haven't priced the breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley (from the garden) that go onto the schnitzel. Olive oil dressing the pasta also isn't included.

  • Total price for the girls dinner $5.27

Geoff and I - Roasted cauliflower salad with stuffed zucchinis

  • Whole cauliflower $2.29

  • 1/2 jar of large capers $1.10

  • 4 x zucchinis $1.84

  • 1 onion $0.33

  • Jarlsberg cheese $2.00

  • I haven't included oil and spices in the cupboard for the salad, parsley again from the garden. I haven't included leftover cooked rice for the zuchs, garlic from the pantry, or fresh basil, oregano and parsley again from the garden.

  • Total price for our dinner $7.56 Family fed tonight for $12.83 (without pantry inclusions)

Monday, April 04, 2011


Oh and there were a lot of snaps of the clouds too!


I took a lot of photos from the car on the drive home. The landscape really moved me, really seemd of my country, if I can say that without sounding too twee.


We ate and drank extremely well. We balanced that out with a lot of walking and even more climbing. We slept not so well (something to do with the good food and wine and the sore bodies from the mountain climbing).

The little girls were looked after admirably, as always, by my parents. Everyone had a lovely lovely time.