Tuesday, 26 October 2010

October 26 :: gardening

under glasstomato seedling

Sometimes I wonder why I post all the ins-and-outs of my gardening adventures here, but when it comes down to it, my archives are such a wonderful reference for me. I get such a kick out of looking back at what my garden looked like in the beginning, and the first plantings, and then what we've eaten from it.

So here is another look :: Bed 3 Spring Planting 2010

bed 3 :: spring planting

I've been eagerly awaiting the 24th of this month, that is the day that my Moon Calendar told me was the beginning of eleven days where I could plant out my above-ground crops. I know. I know! but I can't help myself... so when Sunday finally rolled around I was super keen to get outside and get my tomato seedlings in.

I noticed that although I had pre-prepared this bed a couple of months ago with sheep manure and straw, the soil level had still dropped. I finally had a chance to use my compost*, the one that I have been tending vigilantly for the past few months. I was delighted [and no, I am not exaggerating] to discover that it was well rotted, sweet smelling, full of worms, and raised my soil level by around 100mm. Perfect.

I then covered the entire bed with another 100mm of pea straw mulch, then got to planting. My tomatoes are a bit of a pot-luck as I can't remember which varieties I planted where, but I do know that I have a couple of black krim beefsteaks in, some stripey ones [nts: must check the packet] and possible a tommy tomato or two. I also planted a couple more seeds in their own hot-houses, so that I wouldn't have to transplant them later.

taken 2nd October ~ tomato seeds

My hot houses are these light fittings that Cam picked up for me a while back, I've just attached some glad-wrap to the tops and tied them off with string. They just pop on over whatever plants I want, and seem to be doing a good job.

I got out there again on Monday and planted some spinach, rocket and mesclun lettuce mix; just because it feels like spring, and salad weather is just around the corner. It would be nice to be ready.

* I think that I am going to have to do a post on the 'life-cycle' of my compost bin, I find it that fascinating....

Monday, 25 October 2010

October 25 :: Birthday goodness

happy birthday to me!...

It was my birthday [again!] on Friday, and I had my pick of what I wanted to do and what I wanted [thank-you to some very generously* stuffed birthday cards]... I chose to go on a date with my love, shopping at Chadstone followed by dinner at Fedeles.

I've had my heart set on a new handbag for a while now, something big enough to carry about all my kid associated paraphernalia, but nice enough not to look like a nappy bag. I saw something lovely in Tilkah a few weeks ago, and the leather was so soft [perfect for slinging across to the passenger seat of my car], but alas when we arrived at Tilkah on Friday night it was sold out...

I rallied and it didn't take me long to find this beauty above and make it mine [I think Cam was quite shocked at the speed that it took me to make a decision and hand over a hefty sum of cash ~ now he knows how it disappears so quickly! oops.] We hit a few more shops in the search of the 'perfect' denim jacket to wear with my floaty summer dresses, and when we were done we headed back to the car to move on to the dinner part of the date.

I couldn't resist doing a 'bag change' there and then, so while sitting in the front seat I transferred all the stuff into my new bag... and due to the sheer size of it, I soon realised that my future was about to hold lots of 'rummaging through my new bag trying to find that little whatsit!'

money bagscosmetics

my bag of tricks

We did make it to our dinner date, and enjoyed a lovely couple of courses, and some uninterrupted talk time [man, how good is that!] then we headed home for a 'not too late' night.

Cam was out and about all day Saturday, and Daisy went out shopping with Nanna-Jan for the day, so while the house was a little quieter I whipped up a couple of zippy-pouches to hold the little whatsits in my bag ~ now there will be no rummaging around. It is sublimely organised in there, and I am happy, happy, happy.

* and I just realised that my new jeans [an early gift from my parents] also made it into this post...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

October 21 :: the makings of happy

mornings are the best

While overall my days have felt pretty hard this week, I also recognise that there are certain times of the day that are quite pleasant. One of those is generally first thing in the morning, Mia has just woken up and sits next to me in her high chair while I feed her {yes, such the baby!} mushed up weetbix, mixed with warm goats milk. In between filling her mouth with spoonfuls, I am also catching up on my blog reading, and filling my mouth with my latest favourite breakfast, Di's Bircher Muesli.

At the beginning of 2009 I joined Di on a craft weekend down the coast, I was pregnant with Mia if I recall correctly, and I had the task of providing breakfast on the Sunday morning. Pancakes with ice-cream, banana, walnuts and maple syrup. Yum!... Di provided the breakfast on the Saturday morning, a large bowl of bircher muesli, toasted bagels and home-made conserves. At the time I remember thinking, yum to the bagels, but I wasn't so sure about the bircher. Cold, gluggy, porridge?... not really my thing. How wrong I was!

Di's bircher is as far from 'gluggy' as you can get, it has texture, flavour, and leaves me with the most glorious full-tummy feeling. The scales fell from my eyes that morning, and I spent the next 18 months wishing that I had asked Di for the recipe.

A few months ago I joined Di again for craft camp, sewjourn this time, and trust me when I say, I was not leaving until I had that recipe in my possession. Of course Di was the epitome of generosity, and happily divulged her 'secret recipe'... and Cam and I have been enjoying it for breakfast most mornings since.

favourite breakfast

As it stays in the fridge overnight, I soon found myself a jar to put mine in, thus saving on glad-wrap, as I screw the lid on while it soaks, I then add in the grated apple and yogurt in the morning, before mixing it all up and enjoying straight from my jar.

So without further ado, and with permission of course, I can now share the best* bircher recipe::

900 grams rolled oats
2 tablespoons LSA
¾ cup slivered almonds
¾ cup hazelnuts
¾ cup saltanas
+ ½ cup dried dates, chopped**

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

To prepare:
Place ⅓ cup of mixture into a bowl and {just} cover with apple juice. Leave to soak in the fridge overnight. Prior to serving, add ½-1 grated apple {skin on} and a spoonful or two of greek style natural yogurt. Mix together and serve.

Note: there are lots of variations to this recipe, you can add different nuts and dried fruit to suit your taste. You can grate pear instead of apple, or serve with stewed rhubarb {as Cam does}, the possibilities are endless.

So go on, I urge you, try this out, it is so, so good!

* in my humble opinion
** optional, Cam has this variation, not I.

Monday, 18 October 2010

October 18 :: in the garden


I am very grateful that I had some 'special' time in the garden with her; it helps to balance out the times that we grate on each others nerves. By the time Cam got home from work this evening, I could hardly bare to be in the same room. I think that the feeling was mutual.

We have some time apart tomorrow, and I am sure when we come back together, everything will have calmed down. A little sleep, a little space, and some time to breath.

I do love this little girl so very, very, much; but sometimes it's hard raising someone who is so like myself.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

October 17 :: celebrating


An afternoon spent with family, celebrating a couple of birthdays... {why did no one tell me that I forgot the bunting?? ~ obviously they were not children's birthdays *wink*}

Saturday, 16 October 2010

October 16 :: keeping cozy

enjoying a cozy morning

Is there anything better than a bleak rainy day?... not always of course, but sometimes, when you have the time to cozy up and enjoy being cooped up inside, it's the best.

Our kids were happy playing on their own this morning {while the littlest had a sleep in} and we also got to lie in, listening to the rain pounding down outside. Once I did finally get out of bed, we had the heater on, and I found myself happily sewing, in my pajamas until lunch-time.

Cam took the kids out for a few hours while Mia had her daytime nap, and I finally managed to shower and dress ~ then put together some pizza for them to come home too.

An afternoon of more sewing for me, and a roast cooked by Cam for dinner wrapped up a gorgeous day.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

October 13 :: Telstra fails, again.

Hmn, my Octoberfest is now in serious jeopardy; I went to the Telstra shop today to change my landline account name. What they failed to tell me was that the mere act of changing a name field on their system meant that the line would be disconnected and reconnected (no doubt to justify some astronomical connection fee) and that although my home line would work fine throughout, my Internet, actually scrap that, Cam's Internet connection would be disconnected for 24 to 48 hours. Just to change a billing name field. Grrr! So as I'm now using Cam's i-phone, I think it will be easier to take a little blog break until telstra can reconnect my Internet service. See you on the other side.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

October 12 :: zippy fun



happy as a clam

It always seems to be the simplest things that entertain them for the longest time. This was so fun to watch, those busy little hands, and that cheeky little grin. This is exactly why we had a third child.

Monday, 11 October 2010

October 11 :: weekending


so spring!



sand play

bbq dinner

enjoying the beautiful spring days.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

October 9 :: something random

new hat, with straps

I went out this morning at bought her a hat, with a strap. It stayed on.

I've exceeded my internet usage allowance, for the first time ever. Whoops. It resets on the 17th, so it might be a bit {image} brief around here.

The sun today was glorious, but I needed a break. My wonderful husband took Angus & Daisy to the playground this afternoon so that I could get some peace-and-quiet. I am feeling much better for it.

We snuggled on the couch last night to watch a movie, I think it was called My Last Five Girlfriends, it was quirky. Don't think that I would recommend it, I've seen worse though.

I had a friend drop in yesterday for some lemons, which he forgot to take with him. I used them to make a Lemon Delicious {my Nanna's recipe that is still stuck to the inside of one of my cupboard doors}. It will be ready in ten minutes.

I've been admiring these ¼ pound double chocolate cookies and these chocolate chip cookes.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

October 7 :: some writing


I took this photo a while back, maybe three weeks ago, but it does give a very good snap-shot of just where A is with his drawing and writing. We've always subscribed to being self-led with writing and drawing here, they have lots of access to blank paper, pencils and textas; and some {fairly limited} access to colouring in books.

I like to see what they come up with, and am often pleasantly surprised by their creative out-pourings ~ such as the three bears above. He can draw bears. Who knew?... This morning Cam and I found a picture of a triceratops in his kinder bag, we both commented that it is already better than we can do ourselves.

... and the writing. He's realised that he can also write his surname, and has started to spell things out. He knows most of his letters now and tells me that his name is spelt: A. N. P. U. S. E. 1. G. It's getting very close, and I'm impressed to see him showing such an interest {still}.

I read a post this morning here about 'blank paper', seemed sort of relevant. Have a read if you are so inclined.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

October 6 :: system. what system?

I forgot another kinder activity again today... grandparents day. I still can't believe that this one slipped through the cracks!... so far this year I have turned up at kinder a number of times and overheard someone asking the kinder teacher what time they should be arriving for the thing today. My ears prick up, and I get that sick sort of feeling in my stomach... it always happens just when I think that I am on top of things, across things, organised, in control even.

Last time it happened, when I forgot that I was on kinder duty, I spent some time implementing a system. I love a good system. My system is this, notices get issued at kinder, I make sure that they go in my handbag {because that way they make it in from the car} then I put them on a clip-board, and the clip-board has to be actioned regularly... a note made in my calendar {which I attach an alarm to, that pops up a reminder on the morning of the event, because I log on to my computer every morning without fail} or a form filled out and money added ready for return... you get the idea.

Well I thought that my system was working pretty well, nothing has been slipping through the cracks. I've been very consistent... that is except for that handful of notices that came home in the last week of last term. Those notices I put in the folder and thought "I've got plenty of time, I'll do them sometime during school holidays". Needless to say, I didn't. I thought of them a few times, and put them off until another day, which of course never came.

So this morning when I overheard those dreaded words, and my tummy took a dive, and I raced back to the car and tried to line up a grandparent at very late notice, and failed... I again made a commitment to myself to stick to my system. So after I enjoyed a lovely hour at kinder, with my three kids, as Angus' special person, I came home and got stuck in to all of the chores that I procrastinate over. I did my paperwork {read and filed}, put away the laundry, did another couple of loads, went through Daisy's wardrobe and cleared out all of the clothes that were too small for her {and discovered why we can never find her anything to wear} made dinner, and after all the kids were in bed, made a yummy slice for tomorrow.

I'm feeling much better now, and hopefully those cracks have been spack filled for a while again. At least I know that I have organised a grandparent for Daisy's upcoming grandparents day, now I just need to book a babysitter for my two parent duty days...

So while I was contemplating what I was going to post about today, I've been saved by an email that arrived from Daisy's kindy teacher showing the fun that Dais had at kinder today watching one of the chickens hatching. I've never seen it actually happening, so found these pictures really interesting ::


The egg had a crack in it, so the kids all watched and waited...


Still waiting {obviously I didn't need to worry about Daisy getting a good look, she organised herself front row seats!}


Breaking out of the shell {he was still roaming around in the incubator when I picked Daisy up from kinder}

little chicks

These are his mates... he'll be joining them in here tomorrow.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

October 5 :: at 16 months {and a bit}

A few days ago Mia turned 16 months old, so I thought I'd make a note of where we're at, before it zooms on past and I forget all of the details of this glorious time.

The first thing that springs to mind when I think of her at this age, and something that I've not been able to capture a photo of, is the constant supplicating that she does with her hands. Whenever she wants to be picked up {which is fairly often at the moment} she walks up in front of her 'target' and, palms up, beacons by curling her fingers in and out. It doesn't matter who it is, me, her dad, grand-parents, or some random mum at the play centre, this is what she does... and more often than not it works.

Which is a good thing, because on the occasions that it doesn't you soon get to see Mia in full tantrum... {alas no photo of that to share either!} I will admit to being rather non-plussed with Mia's, very spectacular, tantrums. In fact I usually find myself standing and watching, possibly with a half-smile on my face, they are that good. She throws herself at the ground, usually backwards {be buggered if there is anything behind her} arches her back in the air, and screeches... words just don't do it justice really. Maybe I will try to capture some footage, just for prosperity of course.

into everything

So with that said, I will confess that she is mostly a very happy and easy going child. She spends her time roaming around the house getting into stuff. As is pretty normal with this age, everything {and I mean everything} goes into her mouth. Mostly it's ok, the other kids and I all keep a pretty sharp eye on her and remove any choking hazards, although last week we had two near misses in one day ~ first a shard of glass that she spat out after it cut the roof of her mouth, and then later I found her with three marbles in her mouth. Needless to say, we were all a bit frazzled that day.

chalk = yummy!

More often than not, the thing that I found most commonly in her mouth is chalk. Big hunks of coloured chalk, she finds it everywhere, and as soon as she does she starts eating it! I often find myself wondering if she has a calcium deficiency? given that she is lactose intolerant. She has substitute dairy products, so I think that she is getting enough, but this chalk habit really does make me wonder.

watch this space

Needless to say really, but she is very good on her feet now. She is trying to run, and even manages to walk backwards at times {especially when I am trying to get something out of her mouth!} She constantly has marks on her head from minor stacks, usually because she was trying to go too fast, or sometimes just because she is tired. Surprisingly enough, few of the stacks are from being pushed over, the older kids are very tolerant of her need to be in the middle of everything, and really only 'remove her' if she is getting in the way of the television. Otherwise, our usual catch-cry is "just try to find her something that she can play with/do".


She still doesn't have all that many words, but what she does have gets her point across. Oh-ooo for when she drops something :: Mum, Daddy, Day-seee, Ga, Nan, Pa for the loved ones in her life :: Ba for peek-a-boo :: grrrr for cat :: grrr and uh for no.

at the bike track

Food-wise we are still having a few issues. She will eat if she is hungry... maybe. She is not particularly fussy, but can still be very disinterested. Sandwiches go on the floor, she may only eat the cheese slice, milky bottles get batted away. She just doesn't seem to be particularly food orientated. We introduced goats milk and lactose free yogurt a while back, and that has got rid of her runny nose and chesty cough, and seemed to also improve her appetite for other things.

So that's it. Just a little snapshot of our little rainbow at 16 months.

Monday, 4 October 2010

October 4 :: parent of the week. already.

Sunday Paper

I read an article in the Sunday paper yesterday, it was about speaking so that your kids will listen. Nothing new around here. We've been practicing the magic words for a while now... "I am not going to tell you again." While remaining calm and consistent. It works for me, I usually implement natural consequences, ie: if I say ask you to get dressed because we are leaving for kinder in fifteen minutes, then I expect you to be dressed when I'm ready to walk out of the door in fifteen minutes. If you're not dressed, then we are leaving anyway. I calmly go about my business, and head out the door as advised. So far, and we've been using this technique for a few months, it works.

I do find that when I start giving last warnings, and count-downs, and blowing my stack, that it's because the kids know that is what to expect. So we go back to asking once and using the magic words again.

So I was quite interested to read the article yesterday as it was very similar to what we try to implement here.

Of course this morning it was all very fresh in my mind, so I was quite the purist. Daisy was carrying on about getting dressed, and took all of the fifteen minutes that I allowed for. As I left the house with Mia and kinder bags in tow, she came flying out 'passably' dressed. I gave myself a silent pat-on-the-back, if you will, about being calm and consistent. What a good parent am I....

... right up until I was driving home again, and realised that none of the kids had breakfast, and I had just sent Angus to kinder on an empty stomache.

Bad Mummy!... oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

October 3 :: on a sunny sunday

After I finally roused myself from bed this morning, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table feeling very sorry for myself. You see, I suffer from the occasional cold sore, and when I say suffer, I really do mean suffer. They are such a nasty thing to get, and you can only really understand if you suffer from them yourself, and I really, truly, hope that you do not.

So I found myself sitting at the table, choosing not to have my morning cup of tea, on account of my mouth hurting, and instead feeling rather miserable. Mia was still sleeping, Cam was outside doing some work in the garden, and Angus and Daisy were out 'helping' him. The house was quiet, and the sun was shining... and even with my mouth throbbing away, it didn't take me long to decide that I could either choose to waste a glorious home day with my sulking, or I could buck-up and get on with things. After a little more consideration I chose the later.

tea on the terrace

When I did venture outside, I discovered that Cam had been busy building me a little paved terrace beneath a little tree in the garden. A place where I can sit and enjoy a cup of tea while the kids play in the yard. It's perfect, and it was just the antidote that I needed to quell my brooding.

first time in the sand-pit

With me able to sit and supervise, and the sun finally shining, Mia was able to enjoy her first play in the big sand-pit. It all went quite well, right up until she started using the shovel as an eating utensil; then we distracted her with other games before she ate too much of the sand!


Eventually we all found ourselves inside {especially with Mia sporting that hair and complexion, we have to be so sun-smart, and she will not keep her hat on; so inside we all came} and given the gorgeous weather outside, I just couldn't give in to their requests for the television... instead I pumped up the music and my 'fairies' all enjoyed a dance in the kitchen.

Mia loves music, and will laugh along if you sing to her; it looks like she is also going to love dancing. She happily bopped away copying our dance moves, and clapping along while Angus and Daisy were playing ring-a-rosey.

my little helpers

It wasn't long though until the sunshine beckoned us outside once again, with Mia tucked up for her afternoon sleep, we found ourselves in the garden again {I just can't help myself!}... The parsley and coriander, which had recently bolted, came out. The sage went in. We gave the bed a good deep drink, and then lay a fresh layer of pea-straw mulch.

A sunny sunday indeed.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

October 2 :: what I've learned about broad beans

I've watched my broad bean crop grow with great interest this year, and I've learned a lot about growing these beans, so I thought that I would share:

I've found that they like to be grown all close together in an enclosure. The 'paddock' helps them to support each other while they grow tall, and stops any wind from breaking their fragile stalks.

I've found that they are an enthusiastic and unruly bunch who like to grow way higher than my nets really want to allow, and that they struggle to stay within the confines of my string-paddock.

I've learned that when these little black dots start appearing on the leaves, they are not a fungal infection, they are in fact the start of the flowers...

and my beans are actually 'starting to set'.

I learned not to be disappointed when all of the flowers started to 'die' before anything grew, and it looked like the whole crop was going to be used as green manure...

because while I waited patiently, my crop has been ever so busy. Those flowers were in fact, not dying, they were being converted into beans! Every single flower is now starting to grow a bean of its own... and there were a lot of flowers.

Now I'm off on a new adventure... searching all of my recipe books, food magazines, and online food blogs for yummy looking dishes to make with my impending broad beans... because it looks like there is going to be a bumper crop*.

* and hopefully pride doesn't cometh before a fall in this instance!!

Friday, 1 October 2010

October 1 :: back on the tools

new knitting

I haven't picked up the needles in a while, I seem to have knitted myself out while my brother was in hospital, and for a while the idea of starting any knitting left me with a sour taste in my mouth... but I think that I am good now. So i've started another tiny tea leaves, this time in a denim blue for little Mia.