Thursday, December 29, 2011

Over for another year.

Well christmas is done and dusted for another year and I have to say I honestly felt glad, relieved even, when it was over and very ready to move on.  I mentioned a fall out I had with a very close friend in my last post and thoughts of her and what went wrong have been eating away at me taking up a lot of my spare brain energy.  This should NOT be happening and it was ruining my christmas (no-one's fault but my own for letting it bother me) so I was kind looking forward to christmas being over so that I could stop trying to make myself feel like I was in the spirit of things when I just wasn't.  Now that we're back to normal it just is what it is and I'll hopefully get over it and be able to move on with my thoughts very soon.

Anyway, enough of that! I'm glad christmas is over (I was even glad to put away the decorations and have christmas completely forgotten by the 27th), but that certainly doesn't mean that I didn't have a good day.  We trecked our little family to 3 different venues on the day and had our own little celebration at home with just the 4 of us before we went anywhere.

We started off with breakfast at home (toast in my new 4 slice retro looking toaster that I love thank you daddy!) and some present opening.  I opened Milly's sand and water table the night before to build it only to find that it was missing a leg and I would have to return it.  I built it without the legs and she loved it anyway.

opening the sand and water table
Claire's present hadn't arrived yet, which was a bit disappointing because Milly would have been excited for her, but never mind.  When it did get here, she loved it and already seems to be growing into it in only a few days.
Testing out her new activity centre

Daddy had to decipher some word play and do a crossword to figure out his present, but he will be going to Melbourne to enjoy some time with a friend.

solving his find a word
Then onto brunch with some family where we were fed, received and gave many more presents and had a swim.

ooh, shiny paper!

Next was lunch with more family.  More food, present giving and receiving and catching up.  Milly spent quite awhile riding her new bike up and down dad's hallway and we had a lovely surprise visit from some more relatives.

New 'big girl' bike

Quickly raced home to empty the car and reload it for dinner with more of daddy's family.  This was our first christmas without Daddy's grandma and although not necessarily sad, it felt very different to past years celebrations and it was quite tough to see and feel the changes, even with 2 small children to distract me.

We didn't make it to one of my family's celebrations as 3 venues in a day was enough for a toddler and a 3 month old.  It was also another first christmas without my grandma (we've both lost our grandmother's to cancer this year) and I think I would have really struggled with 2 in one day.

 Overall we had a great day and we were all very spoilt with our gifts, but I also think the gifts we gave were well received even though there was no handmade, except for a few small food items.  I made this rocky road, one of these cookie jars and a few jars of Nigella's chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce.  More important than the gifts though, is that we got to spend time with our families and that's why we moved here.

bobbing for lemons

Friday, December 23, 2011

We have been spending late afternoons with relatives that live down the road this week.  They walk down to us or we drive (because I'm scared of meeting snakes along the way if we walk) up to them for some catching up.  We sit around the trampoline while Miss. M jumps with her toys and Claire Bear cuddles with somebody.  One afternoon this week I made a cheese ball, which I LOVE!!! I only have terrible photos to show you, but here's the recipe.

125g cream cheese
125g cheddar cheese
125g strong flavoured cheese
2 gerhkins
1 onion
1 tablespoon worcestishire sauce
1/2 red capsicum

Grate these ingredients and mix together.  Form into a ball.

combine 1 1/2 tsp paprika with 1 1/2 tsp curry powder.

Roll the cheese ball in the paprika and curry powder mix to coat.

Serve with plain crackers or fresh vegetable sticks.

I usually leave out the capsicum and this time around I used parmesan and it was a bit too strong for me. A mature cheddar would have been strong enough.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Yesterday it was exactly 1 year since we left Brisbane for our big shed adventure.  What a hectic time that was for us.  Handmade presents and cards all wrapped and packed ready to come up here, packing of our entire life into 2 cars and a hired trailer, a little lady getting into everything and just learning to stand on her own, final catch ups and goodbyes with friends and family and saying goodbye to our little house that we loved so dearly even though it was tiny and had horrible carpet.  It was the home we took our first baby home to and we will never forget it. I didn't even know this at the time, but I was pregnant with Claire during all of this too!  I'm getting all nostalgic and emotional now and this is not meant to be my 'reflect on the past year' post so I will leave it at that.  But Brisbane friends, if you're reading this, I miss you.

So, onto Christmas! Well, actually I have not felt it much at all here this year.  As I said, by this time last year almost everyone had a gift handmade by me and it was wrapped with homemade wrapping and had a homemade card.  This year I didn't make anybody's present, I bought rolls of wrapping paper and am recycling sample christmas cards.  I'm not really one for christmas carols and usually find that watching a christmas movie might help to get me into the spirit of things, but I never got around to watching it.  For the past few years, I have had friends who also have children and enjoy crafting around me and I have shared christmas with them.  Not only did I not have that this year, but all my family here is still at work and I had a massive fall out that came as a huge shock to me with one of my closest friends in Brisbane (so bad in fact, that the friendship is apparently no longer) that we would normally spend christmas day with and I can't get it out of my head.  I really need to because the other party certainly seems to have and I should not be letting it ruin my time, but it's really eating away at me lately.  Anyway, I've put away the guilt of not making any presents and have happily decided that it's ok to sometimes take the easy way out when you have 2 small children and have had so many things happen over the year.

We don't have room for a christmas tree here so I made a christmas nook instead and used a small real tree instead.  Miss M. played with the baubles while I put them on the tree and occasionally 'picks' herself one to play with, but that's the most interest she's shown.  She will be 2 in a month and doesn't quite get it yet.  She is starting to understand presents though, as I took her to a christmas party with my friends mother's group last week and Santa gave her a present.

We did do some christmas baking today and I made some rocky road to give away yesterday.

 I also did the christmas food shopping yesterday and that definitely helped my mood.  We will be going to 3 different venues on the day and at least one the day before.  Normally I would be baking and cooking up a storm to take to people's houses, but I didn't even manage that this year.  I decided on 2 things to make and the rest is all store bought or just has to be thrown together at the last minute. I'm going to write what we are taking to each venue, just incase anyone reading needs an easy idea (or incase I need an easy idea in years to come).   Here we go: Chicken and avocado sandwiches to lunch on Christmas eve, punch to brunch on Christmas morning, a cadbury yule log to christmas lunch, and chipolatas and our little portable webber to dinner.  I also have some crackers and I will make some cheese balls to take as well.  I feel really happy that I made the decision to go easy this year as I have more time to spend with my girls and less time spent cleaning up.

Have a Merry Christmas if I don't see you before then!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My turn for favourites

The last post was full of Miss M's post, but this one is mine! 

Firstly, being organised enough to make time to sew! Yay, yay, yay!!! Off the top of my head I have sewn 3 things in the last few weeks.  I know this doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot for me at the moment.  Two of those things weren't complete successes, but they were trials and I learnt a lot for next time.  They were also both presents for a toddler and a preschooler (they won't care about my little mistakes) and I forgot to take photos before I gave them away.  The other is the drawstring bag blogged about here. At the moment I am using it to hold everything I need to make yo yo's and I grab it and stitch in front of the TV at night or during nap time.  Oh just remembered 2 more things I've sewn! Lap blanket blogged about here and I stitched some yo yo's onto a shirt for Miss M.  Still working on that one though, so no photo yet.  I think I'm going to turn the yo-yo's into flowers.  

I'm loving sisterly love, but who doesn't? 

I'm loving that we get to see family (be it mine or daddy's) at least every weekend and sometimes through the week.  And I love that most of my family has children around the same age as Miss M.  

I'm loving ringlets in little girls hair, but don't remind me I said this in a few years time when I'm sick of getting her to brush it and untangling it! 

 I'm loving afternoons outside playing on the trampoline (do they ever stop being fun?) with Miss M and tending to the vege garden.  I meant to blog about the vege garden a long time ago when I started it, but it never happened.  oops! We made it out of star pickets and sheets of iron from our collection of 'useful stuff' in the shed and filled it with stuff cleared off the siding on daddy's parents farm.

Some little tomato plants had come up in the yard where our grey water ends up, so we transplanted them into the garden and they took off amazingly.  There are now LOTS of tomatoes, but something is eating them just before they ripen and I am determined to solve this problem.  Any tips? I'm happy to take advice if 'you' have any please?

We then planted 2 sweet basil plants and they have also taken off and are getting used regularly so we added another 3 Greek basil plants.  

We also planted cucumber seeds and I am so excited because we harvested our first one today!!!! This is my first ever successful vegetable growing experience and I am over the moon about it.  There are 2 more which will be picked in a few days and then another lot that will be ready in a week or so. 

 Next there are some lettuce seedlings that are coping surprisingly well with the heat and we have been picking leaves as we need them.  We are onto our second crop of lettuce.  

Finally, there is a 'mini capsicum' plant, which I think is some new variety that is supposed to grow bite size capsicums.  Miss M loves capsicums and eats them like apples so hopefully the tiny fruit that have appeared in the last week or so grow well and she can feast on them as she wishes.   

Hmm, maybe that needed a post of it's own.  

I get some serious sewing time next week because Miss M is going to stay with her grandma from out of town for a few days again so hopefully there will be a successful sewing story to tell.  I'm also looking forward to giving Miss C as much attention as she wants for a few days.  I do love our chat time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time for some favourites

I always leave way too long in between these favourites posts and so much is missed out.  In a few years time when I'm reminiscing about my babies this is not going to be a reliable source of information.  Oh well!

I'll start with Miss M who is still amazing me with the things she learns to do.  I get so excited with each new development and I love seeing how daddy notices these things too.  So, she loves her new trampoline at the moment and asks for it throughout the day until I finally say yes around 3pm.  Because it's in the shade, not because I'm a big meanie.

Giant new 'twampterine'
When I ask her what's for dinner she says "sugar" and when I say no she says "dessert".  This can go on for a long time, but I like playing this game with her.

She has started looking after her doll the same way she sees me looking after her baby sister.  Wrapping her, checking her nappy, putting her under the toys and in the rocker.

Baby playing with Miss C's toys
She's starting to enjoy riding her bike and she's slowly getting faster and today even tried a fishtail with the handlebars.

She can recognise her name written on paper and most letters of the alphabet.  I've been a bit slack with numbers, but she can recognise 1, 2 and 3.

She still loves kissing and cuddling her baby sister and she will often talk to her or give her a gentle rock if she's upset.

Singing 'Twinkle Twinkle to a happy Miss C
She has been having a great time playing with a saucepan of water, a little jug and a few plastic dishes lately.  She practices "pouring very gently" into the different vessels.
This time with milk and silicone patty papers
She builds 'helicopters', 'planes' and 'boats', usually driven by a chicken with her duplo and is starting to become very particular about how she wants it put together and gets very cranky when she can't do something.



Lastly for now, she is starting to talk quietly or sing to herself throughout the day, in a really quiet little voice and sometimes offers to sing to Claire when she is upset.

All in all, lots of new things and there's plenty more that I've missed out, because I can't think of them.  She is going to be 2 in 2 months! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Banana Muffins

I was recently given a giant bunch of free bananas that all ripened at once, so I froze a heap to bake with.  This recipe is really quick and easy.  It's actually a cake recipe that I just adapt however I like depending on what I've got on hand at the time.  This recipe comes from somewhere in my family, but I'm not sure where.  I have it in a little photo album of recipes that my mum scrap booked and gave to me when I moved out of home.

One Egg Cake
1 1/2 cups S.R. flour
1 egg
4 TBS butter
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, add sugar, gradually add beaten egg.  Mix lightly, add flour alternately with milk, add vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.

That's the actual recipe, but this is what I do.

Puree 1 large banana. Put all ingredients except the banana in a bowl and mix with mixmaster.  Fold in pureed banana.  Pour into 8x20cm loaf tin or individual muffin cases. I iced ours with cream cheese icing . I'm a very messy, non-perfectionist type of baker at the best of times, but I had my 22 month old helping me with icing so they look quite bad, but they tasted delicious.  

Monday, October 31, 2011


It's been awhile since the last 'shouse' update, but lots of things have been happening.  It's been liveable for 6 months now, but we are always adding/changing/replacing something to improve life in the 'shouse'.  I haven't shown you the outside since the photos I took when I came to inspect the shed over a year ago so I'm going to update  on that now.

Firstly we borrowed a little slasher and cleared all around the shed. Then we borrowed a backhoe and did some DIY earthmoving to remove built up dirt/leaves/rubbish etc. and reshape the land so that water from excess rain flows into the creek and not into the 'shouse'.  We did all this about 4 months ago and until recently that's how it stayed so our yard was a complete dustbowl.  Our aim at the moment is to grow some grass and pretty the place up with some plants and gardens.  I'll post about the back yard and the rest of the yard later this week, but for today, this is the front yard (dustbowl).

So, I know it looks pretty pathetic, but here it is.  Until a few weeks ago there was no green out here at all so it is growing quite well.  At first we just planted some buffalo grass that we got from a relative then we sprinkled a cheap box of lawn seed on it and it seems to be growing ok.

Today Milly helped me collect some rocks in her wagon to make an edging for our little flower garden.

I just bought a few punnets of little ground covery, flowery things and planted them straight into the ground.  They have little flower buds that look like they will open soon.

So that's the front yard.  It doesn't look like much, but if you compare with this 'before' photo I think it's quite impressive.

And of course there's more plans to put into action.  Still to come is the backyard (much more impressive) and the fruit trees (I'm very excited about these!!!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More Sewing!

What a lucky lady I am! My mum took Milly for a few days this week (she lives out of town) which left me with Claire to look after and as 7 week olds sleep a fair bit I had lots of time to myself. So what did I do?  I sewed (and did dishes and folded washing).

I found this tutorial for a drawstring pouch a few days ago and had planned to make it when Milly went, so I had everything ready to go.  It was so easy and I managed to get it finished the day I started it.  I was interrupted by feeding and chats with Claire and LOTS of washing folding and a lovely long visit from some cousins of Daddy's, so really, I could have done it in maybe 1.5 hours.  I don't yet have a plan for the pouch.  Suggestions anybody?

I have  another exiting sewing project I'm waiting to start.  Just waiting on a delivery from the postman with my fabric! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've been crafting!

I have somehow found the time to do some sewing lately and I'm starting to think about what to make people for christmas.  At the rate I sew I better get started on the christmas sewing or it will not be done in time.  Anyway, I have found time to sew because I have an amazing newborn who, from about 5 weeks old (she's 7 weeks now), as been sleeping 8 hours straight at night and so I'm not needing to nap through the day when her and her sister do.  It's a really peaceful, quiet time in the house.

Earlier in the week I bought my first pre-cut fabric pack ever and used it to make Milly a little lap quilt.  I used a charm square pack and it made a little quilt that is the perfect size for her to snuggle with on the couch (not that she is ever still long enough to do that!)

I didn't make it properly with batting or anything, because I really wanted to see a finished product and so didn't have time to bind it or quilt it. I just backed it with some minky dot fabric.  Once I joined all the charm squares together all I had to do was cut the backing fabric, put right sides together, sew around and leave a gap to turn it the right way and sew up the hole.  All up it took me about 2 hours (with a few little interruptions).  The fabric was purchased from 'Fabric Patch' online and was delivered REALLY quickly.  The range is 'Giddy' for Moda.

She loves it and calls it her 'nice and soft and warm', because that's what she was calling the minky fabric all through spotlight and she became very attached to it.  It's the one on her lap, not the one on her head.

I'm going to buy another pack and make one for Claire next.  Hopefully I'll have that post by next week. Fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grandmas are special people

My Grandmas are 3 of the most important people in my life.  Yes, I'm lucky enough to have 3 and I have never EVER thought of the third one as a step grandma.  To me she is no different to the other 2.  I spent my childhood growing up very close to my grandmas to the extent of living down the road from my mum's mum and visiting every morning before school so I could practice on her piano and I lived with my dad's mum every second weekend when I was visiting him.

My mum's mum has been battling cancer for a number of years now (first breast, then bone and liver) and last week she lost the fight.  The worst part was that she has been having chemo for the last few months and because I was pregnant I wasn't allowed to visit her at all.  Fortunately she had finished her treatments a few weeks before she was put into hospital for the last time and I spent most of that last week visiting her.  We spent lots of time together as an extended family ( grandad, cousins, aunty's, uncles, etc). 

I am doing a terrible job of writing this, but it's not very clear in my head.  

It's actually been a few weeks since I wrote this and I was going to write some memories I have of her, but I don't need to.  I know I will never forget them.  I can't think of anything to say except how much I love her and how lucky I was to spend so much of my life with her.  The last few years I lived in a different town, but ALWAYS visited a few times when I returned home.  Grandma and Grandad down the road (as we called them) were always first priority on my visiting list.

Grandma was famous for her mudcake.  I am famous for making it terribly (dried and crumbly, forgot the sugar, undercooked type terribly). This cake is something very special to me as I once spent a weekend with Grandma and this was one of things she taught me to do that weekend (you think I'd be an expert at it, but no).  My mum asked me to have one more go at making it to share with the family for the small gathering after the funeral.  She also told everyone I was doing it so the pressure was on.  I am pleased to say it was beautiful.  Right texture, flavour and look.  It was the first thing to be eaten at the party and the whole thing was devoured in about 10 minutes.  I shared a piece with Milly and the taste was good too! My Grandad told me that it wasn't quite as good as Grandma's (which I knew, of course), but that I should make one every week and drop it off to him and he will let me know when I've got it as good as hers! Cheeky!

Before the oven
Perfect crust. Yummy!

I know this isn't a very nice photo of my Grandma, but I was so lucky to get one her with Claire, her 9th great grandchild.  Claire was 2 weeks old here and Grandma even managed a smile when she met her and remembered who she was the next day. Oh the other lady is my mum.  The photo shows 4 generations.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More favourites

It's time for another favourites post and I have lots this time!

Fresh eggs straight from the chooks! (not our chooks, we walk down to daddy's aunty's place every morning and collect them from her chooks for her while she is away)

These owl puppets from the kit and the fact that I actually did make them!

My first ever crochet book! I have started making the booties on the front cover and am just waiting for my mum to come over and explain the next step for me.  So far I have made a teeny tiny little sole of one bootie.

Sisterly love.  Oh my god these two make me cry with happiness every day!

The fact that there are now 4 of us.  I just can't believe how in love I am with my family. It has really taken me by surprise.

This Begonia plant that was on the table along with dinner for 2 nights, when we got home from hospital.  Thanks Nan!

My new mugs that were a gift from Daddy's aunty.

I have a few more posts I want to do after going through my photos today.  I want to post about my baby space (where do you fit a fourth person in a 9 by 6 metre shed?) and some crafty business that happened before Claire was born (made in attempt to occupy and distract my mind whilst waiting for labour to start).

I hope your days are filled with as many lovely things and people as mine have been lately.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well, I have taken my time getting this post done, but here it is, one week on.

Claire arrived on Tuesday 6th September (1 week overdue) weighing 4.225kg and measuring 52cm long. 

Skip the next few paragraphs if you don't want to read the birth story.  I just feel like I need to tell my story and get it over with.  Weird, I know, but it's like I have to let go of it or something and telling it or writing it helps me do that.  

For about a week  before she came I had been convincing myself that the Braxton Hicks were getting stronger and that maybe, just maybe, they were getting painful.  I'm sure Lyle was sick of me mentioning this all day long and had stopped listening to me altogether.  However, at 2:30 on Tuesday morning I woke up with a sore back, thought nothing of it and tried to go back to sleep.  The pain didn't go away and I was wondering if I should wake lyle up or if I was just getting excited over nothing again.  The next one came and I decided it probably was labour and we should think about making our way into town and dropping Milly off at Nan's.  By the time we got to the hospital I knew for sure that I was in labour.  As Milly was born via emergency Caesar I was determined that this birth would be a VBAC.  In the case of a VBAC labour has to run perfectly and at a good progression rate.  If slowed down at all a caesar needs to happen straight away.  Because of this I was determined not to have an epidural (as the last one stopped my labour completely) and so endured labour with gas.  I have to say the gas worked amazingly for awhile, then I got sick of trying to breathe so much.  After 6 hours I was checked and found to be 10cm (they decided to check because I was screaming about wanting an epidural and the fact that I couldn't take anymore. Luckily Daddy and the midwives knew how much I didn't want another caesar and managed to convince me that it was too late anyway). However, her head was still too high and my pushing was doing nothing, so it was decided that I couldn't labour any longer without risking uterine rupture and I would need to have a caesar.  At the time I felt nothing but relief that the pain would soon be over from the spinal.  There was only a very tiny niggly thought of disappointment that I would have to recover from another caesar.  Once I got the spinal I was a very happy, chatty and excited patient and felt my energy rushing back.  However, when the lady beside me was up carrying on life as normal after her delivery and passing me Claire and making me cups of tea I was jealous, but really, once I had my baby in my arms I just didn't care.  

This time around the whole caesar experience was completely different.  I wasn't scared because I knew how it worked and what happens.  I also wasn't sick from loss of organ function (which I was last time) and so knew my recovery would be quicker.  I was out of bed the next day (it took 3 days last time) and home on day 2.  I was able to care for my baby on my own so much sooner and didn't have trouble with my milk coming in because I wasn't on all the drugs I was last time, so was able to successfully breastfeed from day one without the help of midwives.  (Claire also had a much better idea of what to do than her slightly tongue tied sister).  Being able to care for baby on my own so soon was such an uplifting feeling and the energy that came with this little high is yet to leave, even with the sleepless nights.  At the time of Milly's birth I had no idea that a Caesar recovery wasn't always that traumatic and didn't realise that my extra health problems were slowing things down so much, which is why I was so completely against another one.  It turns out that if there are no complications it is not nearly as bad, at least in my case anyway.  Still far from ideal, but not as traumatising.  

OK, birth story over now!

Since arriving at home, I have pretty much returned to normal house duties or made ways to make things possible (like getting Milly into her cot without Daddy's help).  Mostly I feel absolutely fantastic and I don't think I could be any happier or any more in love with my little family.

I also have to say that Daddy was a wonderful birth support partner and although I didn't abuse him in any way, I said some pretty irrational things and he let me squeeze his hand (HARD) with every contraction.  He did exactly what I needed him to and when and I didn't let him out of my sight.  Oh and little Miss Milly is LOVING her baby sister, but gets very worried whenever she cries.  She looks at her so intently and pats her on the back or gives her rocker a rock and says 'heyo Care' in the sweetest voice ever.  She also says 'mook pees mummy' (milk please mummy) when you ask her what Claire says.  

about 3 hours old

ladies of the house

5 days old

3 days old

Milly meeting Claire.