Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

I don't really do New Years Eve, but Kaitlyn and Ashley are having friends over tonight, so there is the usual mad panic beforehand: compounded by the expected top temp of 42 degrees celcius in the City and a *milder* 39 down here! ARGH!!!!!!!

The clash of preparation and preparing in and around normal life means short tempers and frustrated outbursts - "Beam me up, Scotty!" I just want to lie on my bed with the fan on, but who knows what bedlam would result? Likely all the perishables would be removed from the fridge, to make way for Jelly Shots!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Peace and Quiet!

It is so lovely here atm. Rodney is back at work, so he left about half an hour ago. Everyone else is still in bed and I have everything to myself! Bliss!

It is going to be hot today, but on the lower end of hot, before the temps soar over the next few days. So I think I might pop out and do some bits and bobs today, so I don’t need to go out when it is horribly hot. I have to go and spend my voucher at the book shop – what joy! – and I have $50 burning a hole in my pocket – MIL gave everyone cash this year! We each got $50, except Ashley, who got half, because he is only half in, as she said! I am going to spend mine on something scrapping related – possibly some shelving for the wall above my current shelf unit. That might involve a trip to Ikea … sigh!

Kaitlyn is sleeping in after seeing Priscilla last night, with Ashley’s mum, sister and – reluctantly – father! Ashley got to miss it, as he has gone away on a boys trip! He will be back in time for the NYE gathering they are planning at our house.

Melissa worked last night so she can have a sleep in until she needs to get ready for work this afternoon. She is still coming off the high of seeing the Golden Compass – she has read all the books and is desperate that they make the rest into films. She is on top of the world, with Prince Caspian to look forward to and the news that Peter Jackson has (finally) got permission to make TWO films based on The Hobbit!!

Kieran has finished the Xbox game he got for Christmas so last night the Dr Who epic began. It is a hard life …

Anyway, that is about it for now. Might do some scrapping – made a mini album of the family photos yesterday and did a LO of one of the pics I took of Melissa at the park. Must take some photos and upload.

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Family Christmas


Here is the clan who I *forced* to have photos taken together!

I had to photoshop the full group pic – someone moved behind someone else, but there was nobody behind the camera to see! It is my first attempt at such digital editing – tempting to add Santa too!

http://picasaweb.google.com.au/yvettedownunder/FamilyPortraits


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve


With a simple dinner out of the way, it was time to prepare for Carols By Candlelight on TV, my traditional Christmas Eve activity. Every candle, every tea light holder is lit around the lounge room and my bedroom. The Christmas lights are on, all other lights are off.


With Kaitlyn spending the evening with friends, there were only four of us to share an indlugence - chocolate fondue, served with marshmallows, biscotti, fresh cherries and strawberries, plus a plate of the cookies I baked.


I ended up watching Carols in bed, while they all watched part two of Terry Pratchett's Hogwatch. That's what I like about our kind of Christmas - everyone can treat themselves to their own delights!


Finally, off to bed ... the stockings were hung by the ... um, no chimney, just a cupboard!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Breakfast Menu - Christmas Morning

Some years ago, we decided to make Breakfast our special meal together on Christmas Day. Last year, we had it for dinner on Christmas Eve, but this year it is back to morning!

The menu is ever-evolving, as we find new things to add to our list. Some we will prepare the day before, to save work on the day.

Here is the menu for 2007.

Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Your Choice from a range of hot beverages
Eggs - cooked to your requirements
Bacon - traditional or glazed with maple syrup
Warm croissants with butter and your choice of jam
Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup and/or fresh berries
Freshly Baked Plum Pudding Muffins
French Toast - with optional Choc Chip Panetone or Traditional Bread

to be followed by full roast dinner at Nana and Pa's! So be warned - best not linger too long in bed!

Bill Granger's Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes
Chef: Bill Granger

You need:
250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
750 ml (3 cups) buttermilk
75 g (2½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
unsalted butter, extra, for greasing the pan

Method:
1. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
2. Add the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk to combine.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush a small portion of butter over the base.
4. For each pancake, ladle 80 ml (1/3 cup) of batter into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface.
5. Turn the pancakes over and cook for another minute.
6. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while cooking the rest of the pancakes.

Corinna Chapman's Plum Pudding Muffins

As found in Kerry Greenwood's mystery novel, earthly delights:

PLUM PUDDING MUFFINS

2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
1 cup chopped candies peel, sultunas, dried fruit
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
tablespoon rum or brandy

Heat the oven to 300 degrees celcius. Spray the muffin tins with oil. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix the egg, milk, butter and alcohol together. Pour it all at once into the muffin mix, stir with a fork and put into the prepared tins. Bake for about 15 mins until they smell cooked but before they are burned on the bottom.

Nigella's cookie recipe

Okay, Nigella Lawson drives me nutty to watch, but nonetheless, this looks like a good recipe, so I am going to give it a whirl and make cookies!

Cookies: 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter 1/2 cup sugar 1 large egg 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt

Icing: 2 to 3 tablespoons just-boiled water 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted Food coloring, preferably pastes

Special equipment: cookie cutters

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. Form into a fat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place disk of dough on it, and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the cookies a little apart on 2 parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes; obviously it depends on the shape you're using and whether they are on the upper or lower shelf, though you can swap them around after about 5 minutes. When they're ready expect them to be tinged a pronounced gold around the edges; they'll be softish still in the middle, but set while they cool.

Remove the cookies with a flat, preferably flexible, spatula to a wire rack. When they are fully cooled, you can get on with the icing. Put a couple of tablespoons of not-quite-boiling water into a large bowl, add the sieved confectioners sugar and mix together, adding more water as you need to form a thick paste. Color,as desired. I think pastes are much better than liquid, not just because the range of colors is better but because they don't dilute the icing as they tint. Ice cooled cookies, as desired.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Morning

I have just spent an hour or so restoring order to our fridge and pantry: the lunatics have been in charge of the asylum! Rodney put the months shopping away last weekend and totally ignored the labels on shelves and Tupperware. The result – overflowing shelfs and “nowhere to bloody put anything”.

I took everything out and then put it back on the correct shelves. Packets emptied into Tupperware. Result? Everything put away AND spare shelf space. Can I say anything? No, of course I can’t, because when a man does housework they must be treated with admiration and praise. Will he say anything? No of course not, because when a woman does housework it must be ignored and overlooked.

I prefer it when Kieran puts the shopping away – his slight OCD tendencies shine through! But you should see him in charge of the shopping trollies (yes, plural) – like a major general barking at us if we buck his system! LOL!

So now Mother Hubbard can see what is in her cupboard (bugger, I was sure there was plenty of flour!), make a small dash to the little supermarket at the end of our street (for said flour) and actually tackle some baking on the weekend: I feel like Christmas cookies! Maybe some muffins for our breakfast extravaganza Christmas Day! I had a recipe for some Plum Pudding Muffins … last year? Mmm …google!!!!

I have also corralled the coffee shop also known as a corner of the kitchen bench (rivalled only by the tea shop in another corner!) Apparently, you cannot have too much coffee! I don’t drink it, just Rodney and Kaitlyn, so I have no idea what is what, let alone how to use the machine that makes noise!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I am officially on holidays :)

Okay, so today was my last paid working day until at least February, but I prefer to see it as about SIX WEEKS of gloriously free time!

I love my job, but it is still a job and means dragging myself out of bed and into the car to drive an hour to my office. Not always appealing when life is busy and my body craves more sleep.

My To Do list is full … of things I WANT to do. Of course, it includes a mountain of books and some serious scrapbooking (including an exciting L.O.A.D. challenge for January – LayOut A Day), but I also plan to declutter and organise, get the garden back in shape and play with both my new camera and photoshop and coax their secrets from them!

I also hope to make a few local expeditions – holiday at home – and maybe even take my favourite ferry ride to Queenscliff for a day.

Most of all, I look forward to getting up when I want to, not when I have to! BLISS!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Such a busy year!

I sat down to write our annual Christmas letter this year, but it was just too hard!

We have all had such a busy year and have such diverse lives, how do you sum that up in a few lines for far-flung family and friends?

So - I didn't! Instead, I want to let everyone know that we are well and healthy and busily pursuing all sorts of activity at home and outside. Melissa is back in the nest, Kaitlyn and her partner Ashley have been together for two years now and Kieran is about to enter Year 11 at school. Rodney continues to work in medical imaging and Yvette has worked 18 hrs pw this year in a paid role for ABA.

Rather than waffle on, I want you to know that YOU are all in our thoughts, although we may not always have time to stop and say so.

I hope everyone can find time to stop and enjoy the next week or so.

I hope everyone takes some time to nurture themselves, as well as making everything perfect!

I hope everyone remembers it is just another day! A nice one, but just one day!

I hope everyone spends time with those they love.

School Presentation Night

We unexpectedly got to attend our high school presentation night last night, as Kieran was awarded an Optima Sempa award (the school motto, Best Always). Our school community is far to large for the biggest auditorium in our twon, so there is a limit of two tickets per family and only those actually getting awards can attend.

I was really thrilled for Kieran to recieve this award. He has worked really hard to address some of his learning challenges and has had a good academic year. So good on him!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Raymond Briggs "The Snowman"

One of our all-time favourites :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ponB8Hd_lG4&feature=related

Christmas Questions

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper - no peeking!

2. Real or artificial?
Real and personally chosen by the family and cut for us at the same tree farm.

3. When do you put up the tree?
The first weekend after December 1st that we can all arrange to be available!

4. When do you take the tree down?
January 6th, even though it is bugging me from NY!

5. Do you like eggnog?
I haven't had it since we made it in Home Ec at school! Too hot in Australia at Christmas.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My tricycle or my scooter - can't decide between them. Both red!

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?
Yes and we now own two sets of figures, so I guess they will take it in turns - unless I ever get the Willow Tree set, then they will take sole centre stage!

8. Hardest person to buy for?
The Outlaws - the have whatever they want/need, and if they haven't they can buy it easily. And we have very different tastes, so ...

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My daughters - too easy!Hardest part is stopping!

10. Worst Christmas present ever received?
I can't name it here in case it gets back to the giver!

11. Email or Christmas card?
I am at a transition point. Cards only to those whom it is especially important to (like aunts!) and emails to everyone else.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
Original Miracle on 34th Street, though I haven't watched it for years.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I might pick up bits and pieces prior but after Kaitlyn's end of October birthday is when it becomes a priority, though December is the peak.

14. Have you ever recycled/regifted a Christmas present?
I have donated them straight to the op shop.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Christmas pudding, turkey with cranberry sauce.

16. Favorite Christmas tradition?
Getting the kid's photo taken with Santa (23 years so far!)

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Real, proper, old Carols.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home! All the family live locally.

19. Can you name Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dance, Donder and Blitzen, Cupid and Comet, Prancer and Vixen ... and Rudolph! Thanks, Bing!)

20. Do you have an angel at the top of the tree or a star?
An angel and the kids take it in turns to put her up as the very last decoration.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Christmas morning, before breakfast, in jammies. Bah humbug to anyone who makes their kids dress and eat first.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The end of school year wrapped up in the middle of it all and the uncaring school whose (next year) fees are due in the same pay period as Christmas. Shame! And it is a government school - so much for free education.

23. Best thing about Christmas?
Seeing the reaction to the gifts you have chosen with so much care and being with your family.

Monday, December 17, 2007

January To Do List ...

I tell you what, I reckon I am going to be flat out throughout January ... or maybe out flat!
Our library has closed for two weeks for renovations and to console us poor addicts,
we were allowed to borrow as many books as we wished for 8 weeks!

This is what I have narrowed it down to!
All due to be returned by the end of January 2008 ... that is, um 12 books in five weeks ...
better get started now!!!!



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One week to go!

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

I am just about finished!

Got the last major pressies today and did the monthly grocery shop! I think I now only have a few small stocking stuffers which I can pick up through the week, so apart from the fruit, veg, meat and other fresh stuff, hopefully I won't need to brave the shopping centres again!

Mind you, I don't mind crowds so I don't find the shops the horrendous experience that some do, but it does seem to drain your energy more when there are more people about.

So I think everyone is getting something they will like and that is all you can ask for. A couple more to wrap (if I ever get the place to myself!) and then it is all over bar the waiting.

Off to lunch with The Girls tomorrow and then just three more work days (ever?) before I am officially on holidays. I imagine next weekend will go fairly quickly with just the everyday stuff!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Our Trip to the Big Smoke

Here are the photos from our annual trip to the City.

Photos
We took two cars to fit us all in and I had the *joy* of supervising Melissa driving in – yay! It was very exciting on the highway, as a huge cloud of smoke caught everyone’s attention – it was a factory fire in Moorabbin. After we passed it and got closer to the City, we counted NINE fire trucks roaring past in the other direction. Very disturbing. (Are supervising drivers meant to play photographer? No?)

We had a lovely time wandering and shopping and eating and this year, Ashley researched exactly where ACDC lane is (last year he had us aimlessly wandering) so we indulged his request and staggered up hill to take his photo. A bonus on the way back was seeing Brian Mannix having drink on the footpath!!!

We did the Block and Royal Arcades. Melissa had to be surgically removed from Spellbox, but the lure of iced chocolates finally coaxed her out!

The Myer windows are lovely – I had managed not to hear what the theme was and we were delighted to find it is Graham Base’s book Uno’s Garden – Animalia and The Eleventh Hour were big favourites around here when the kids were younger. We bought the book on our way back to the car as we passed through Myer!

Of course, part of the whole visit is seeing Santa and having the annual photo taken!
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, the countdown is in earnest now, with wrapping paper littering the house and frantic shuffling and hiding of shopping bags and whispered converstaions that stop when you enter the room (or is that just me?)

Suddenly I have only the rest of this week and next week to finish everything off at work and shut down the office for summer. Whether I shut it down for ever after January remains in the hands of the government department who hold the purse strings for our funding. Regardless, the new year will involve packing up the office as we need to find a new home!

Lots of scrapbooking happening, in amongst all the rest! If you haven't checked it out lately, pop over to http://justaboutscrapping.blogspot.com/ and have a look - there are lots of family albums online too, so have fun!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Deck the Halls

Okay, today we (finally) went to the Christmas Tree Farm on our annual pilgrimage.

Apart from the flies (it is going to be a bad summer for them!) we had a great time.

Then home to put the tree in place and decorate it - smiles all round!

Decking the Halls


Thursday, November 22, 2007

To the woman in the food court.....

As you walk past my table, with your baby in arms:

I don't mind seeing your baby belly between your low-riser pants and too short tshirt.

I don't mind seeing your nice tatoo on your hip bone either.

But boy, I so don't want to see your caesarean scar! If I wanted to, I would look at my own!

They used to call it a bikin cut, which means it blends with your bikini line.... um, when will the dreaded hipsters go out of fashion? Soon? Please?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Weather

I have no objection to watching history in the making - unless it is weather related history!

Today is blissfully raining, after a record-breaking run of 30+ Spring days. Including a couple of 37s. Doesn't bode well for Summer and I don't do well in the heat.

But today's rain is lovely and the garden welcomes some non-grey water for a change!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

You-know-what is 36 days away!

Okay, so I have begun shopping for Christmas.

With an expected temp of 37 degrees celcius today, hanging around at home in front of the fan didn't really appeal. We needed to do the monthly grocery shop anyway, so Melissa and I headed for the air conditioned shopping centre, did our raid at the supermarket and then we went shopping!

I had ideas for gifts for everyone and can safely say I have made a good start. Despite feeling that we only just did all this (excuse me, have you seen my lost time?) I guess it is time to make some plans. We will all be home together again this year, after Melissa was away for TWO Christmases, so our special traditions will be extra special. Right now, it is time to set dates to go to the Tree farm and hit the city for our Santa photo and the Christmas windows.

I guess I should start photographing my Christmas album, as I want to get the pics online from December 1st.

Am I "doing" cards this year? Still undecided. Are E-cards an okay way to go, with actual cards just for a few special people? Is this not just a continuation of the evolution in communications over the past decade or so? Sigh ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Odd Day

Okay, so today was Melissa’s big sale day at work and she did all the decorations etc. It was a fairy theme and she dressed as a fairy. I took her to work, wandered around, bought a few bits and pieces and then left to meet Julie for lunch. Melissa came along as she wasn’t starting for another 30 minutes. As we came out, we separated – she to take my goodies to the car, me to get some cash at the ATM across the street. Then I went to our cafĂ© and sat waiting. Melissa came back in, gave me my keys, scammed some lunch money and went to work, Julie seeing her as she arrived minutes later.

Lovely lunch, yada yada, Julie and I wander over to Spotlight cos I need a couple of things, then walk back to the carpark: her car only a couple of spaces up from mine. Realise we still had 20 mins, so browsed at the op shop across the road then came back, chatted and finally got in our cars and went our separate ways.

I drove over to the shopping centre car park. Successfully submitted my broken sunnies under warranty, wandered, did some shopping and finally got to my car about an hour later. Got in, drove home, went to get bags out of boot – no bags! Mutter, mutter – where has she put the stuff? Look through whole car, no Savers bags and certainly no Savers stuff! Everything else normal, that I can see.

Go inside, get Kaitlyn to have a look – she thinks I am barmy, no stuff! As she wanted to get her aquarium water tested (‘nother tale there!) we drove back , went to Savers and asked Melissa where the #$% she put stuff. In the boot. Mmm … someone has been into my car while I was away! And nothing I own was of interest except two bags of stuff on 50% off from Savers??? But a closer look shows bits and pieces of paper out of glove box and on floor, but nothing missing, including current edition street directory.

So I have been robbed! Of my op shop treasures! We are just hoping the sods try to use Savers return policy (the receipt was in the bag) as Melissa knows all the stuff I had! Hah! That would be satisfying!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What am currently obsessed with!

If you don't also hang out at my other blog, you probably won't know about my current obsession! I am having great fun altering a deck of playing cards to create a "deck of me" reflecting my thoughts, feelings and life.

You can check it out with all the photos at http://justaboutscrapping.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My Grey Water Gator!

I am so excited! I have just installed the solution to getting our washing machine water directly to the garden without involving buckets (and ME!)





I have even installed it myself!!!! That's how simple it is. Right now, while Kaitlyn has her washing churning away in the machine, my drip watering system is being fed directly with filtered grey water and I don't even need to switch anything on!

Absolutely stoked - with our level 3a water restrictions, we are only permitted to water from the tap at set days/times and it is a bugger to remember, not to mention not always being the time the plants need water. Now my garden will have a fighting chance and we will actually save water by not using any fresh water outside. I can even tip the shower buckets straight into the tank and it will go on the garden. No more sorcere's apprentice act for me!!!
http://www.greywatergator.com.au/index.html

AND IT IS PURPLE TOO!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Down Time

Well, not surprisingly, today my body has taken charge and announced that we will be having some rest over the next few days.

The past month has been chaotic, so this is not really unexpected. It is a bit MS, a bit fibromyalgia and a bit hay fever, all rolled into a physically tired body.

So, bed office today and a quiet few days. Luckily it is Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday and a public holiday, so the office will be closed. I can potter around working from home, doing some scrapbooking, catching up on Mt To Be Read on my bedside table and generally restoring energy.

Thank goodness for wireless internet and a lap top.
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It was twenty years ago today.....


Well, it started 20 years ago yesterday, actually! On the afternoon of our fourth wedding anniversary, my body went into labour for the very first time, in what we dearly hoped would be a VBAC delivery of our second child.

Unfortunately Kaitlyn must have been sleeping during all those childbirth classes, so she presented posterior and 24 hours of unsuccessful contractions ensured before we all called it quits and agreed to have another caesarean. I had my trial of labour and trial it was! A sticking hot 36 degree day, a burst hot water tank in the roof drowned a cupboard full of linen and precious photos and that was before breakfast! My contractions were of the lazy type: they stopped when I did, so I spend HOURS walking the corridors of the hospital!

Anyway, 30 mins before Halloween began (!) our little lady was born by elective caesarean. And now she is 20 years old!!!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blowin' in the wind

Well, this year's Pram Stroll was not as pleasant a day as previous events. The weather was against us. The day dawned an hour early, due to the start of daylight savings and by the time the event got started, the blustery north wind was doing it's best to remove all the marquees from the site!
With constant eye irritation from the dirt and debris being swept off the dry ground, it was a battle to keep everything in place: and the battle was lost for our poor feed and change tent! It was all hands on deck to stop the whole lifting and blowing into the middle of Albert Park Lake!
Meanwhile, our stand at the information tent was threatened by the billowing wall of the marquee, so we decided to cut our losses and repack all the stuff into my car, which we finished just before a few hardy souls drifted back after the stroll around the lake. Whipped by the wind and damp from the lashing waves, they were all a little worse for wear and didn't mind at all that their base camp was decidly tattered!
I am starting to think every feed and change I do will involve hanging onto poles and walls for dear life!


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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Being a Mother VIP Breakfast

Wedensday saw Karen P and I off bright and early to a fundraising breakfast held by http://www.beingamother.com/ and what a great morning it was!

Guest speakers were Tanya Costello (yes, Peter's better half!); Jennifer Graham, the woman behind the successful Crabapple Cupcakes story and Vicki Gazis, Ambassador for the Leukaemia Foundation…sharing their experiences of motherhood.

We had a lovely meal and each recieved a goody bag AND a cupcake packaged up in a noodle box: very girly!

Jennifer was especially inspirational, although Tanya did show there is at least one sensible person in the Costello household (nothing to do with politics, I just think Peter is a bit of a drip!)

I bought a copy of Jennifer's Cupcakes book and got her to sign it for Kaitlyn: meant for her birthday next week, but I gave it to her as soon as I got home!

The cake I ate all by myself :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pregnancy, Babies & Children's Expo


What can I say? We just had the most wonderful three days at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo!

For three solid days, with barely a lull, expectant and new parents queued to find out about ABA and breastfeeding support. We gave away almost 2000 showbags (we had enough and even brought some home!) as well as selling 35 subscriptions – yes, 35 (I think this is a new record!). We sold and promoted the calendar (will check figures tomorrow) we sold a couple of hundred raffle tickets for our wonderful hamper (winner thrilled!) rasing funds to spend on resources for our BERKs and counselled hundreds of grateful mums. And we told so many people about the BECS – including some who had already attended and others already booked in!

We also heard repeatedly how awesome our volunteers are, how fantastic our helpline is and how wonderful it is to be a group member. Essence is popular, the website brilliant, forum a life saver ….. BFN is terrific, booklets great ….

Special thanks to all my wonderful volunteers ….. Bronwen; Peta; Jen; Louise (twice); Ann (Twice); Jennifer; Maria; Lisa-Marie; Caroline; Jacinta (twice); Vanessa; Julie; Margaret and the girls from MD, including our own counsellors Sam and Susan (Happy 40th birthday!).

Karen and Julie’s shifts – both unable to come due to family dramas – were covered on Sunday afternoon by Jacinta, Ann and Louise. Each happily did a second shift and saved my sanity!

Never underestimate the value of events such as this: so many people told us they had joined at a previous expo. We are highly valued by so much of the community, yet still so many had no idea we existed. Thank you to all those who edit their regional handouts – they are a godsend at such times. Thankyou Bronwen’s showbag coordinating team. Thankyou to all those people who will be on the roster shifts, teach the BEC, hire the pump, run the meeting and deliver all the services we promised.

And we get to do it all again next Sunday at various pram strolls around the state! If you want to join the fun, give me a call or send an email. Melbourne’s baby boom continues and this is likely to be the biggest pram stroll ever!




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With a little time to fill in the City Of Melbourne, I took some photos for this week's Photo Friday theme: City







This is my final choice for submission at www.photofriday.com
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October - blink and you'll miss it!

It’s October, so every week is chock-a-block with getting ready for events on the weekends or recovering from them!

I thought I would tell you what we did at the Pets Day Out on Sunday. We go to this every year (it is where the kids met their snake-handler) and Silky loves it. It is her idea of heaven: rows of stalls which are most likely to have doggy treats to give her, buckets of water to taste every few metres, lots of other dogs …. And lots of dog people to make a fuss and pat her! Perfect!

I really didn’t think she would be there this year, after her recent bad health. That really knocked her for six and she is still getting back to the new normal. But Sunday saw her happy to go. Now, a few weeks ago at the show, we spoke with a pet photographer who we see each year at the day out and she mentioned she was doing a special promo this year, with a free on the spot sitting and a 5x7 print for $25, with the money going to a fund for animals. I decided to book her in. Silky has been difficult to photograph right from the start – her pure black colour made it hard to get definition and her inability to sit more than a metre from the photographer didn’t make it easy! After 15 years as a key family member, I decided that it would be nice to capture her professionally.

So the super model rolled up for her moment in the spotlight and loved every minute of it! Of course, she soon had the photographer and everyone else cooing and giving her treats and took to being centre of the universe quite well. I was not so thrilled when the photographer suggested I get in shot and took a series of photos of the two of us :0 But – through the wonders of the modern world – the digi photos were downloaded to her laptop and we got to view them straight away! Of course, I ordered more than just the one, but I had fully intended to buy a few. We ended up with two head shots of the super model and two photos of she and I together.



This probably means I have descended to “one of those people” who have fur children! I have already decided the breed of my next dog will be a King Charles like Amanda has (I have been checking them out everywhere!) so that will be better suited to lap-dog status! But we don’t talk about the future, we just focus on the present.

Now madly preparing for the PBC Expo this weekend and the pram stroll the following Sunday. And must remember Kaitlyn is 20 on the 30th!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kerry Greenwood

I have an ongoing love affair with Melbourne author, Kerry Greenwood.

I believed there to be no more wonderful a book character than her Phryne Fisher .... until she introduced baker Corina Chapman! Now Phyrne is my favourite 1920's character and Corina my favourite contemporary character.

Right now, I am immersed in the newest Corina Chapman book: Trick or Treat. I love that these books are set in my City and the local icons and geography are known to me. We might be the World's Most Livable City, but Corina shows us just how great it is.

Earthly delights is Corina's bakery, located just off Flinders lane.

And you must learn out all about the most glamourous flapper, Phryne Fisher

In The Garden




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Sunday, October 7, 2007




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In the Garden


I had a garden day again today. Yesterday afternoon I did a Bunnings run and came home with everything I needed to jump straight in this morning.

I have potted up our summer salads: two small tomato varieties in hanging pots again, as they did so well last year. Several lettuce varieties, spinach, beautiful basil and – for the first time – eggplant, capsicum and snow peas! I got tiny eggplant and capsicum, little mini fruits and these are in pots like all the rest. The snow peas I have put in the garden bed, with a frame to climb. I realised I should have bought a Lebanese cucumber and done it the same, so will add that to the list.

But eating from my garden is only a small pleasure. The big one is living in my garden in the warmer months (but not so much the very hottest!). So a spring clean of my paved courtyard was in order. With a new broom (to sweep clean) and lots of music to motivate me, I took to the red bricks and got rid of the winter litter of leaves, dirt and crap. Yes, real crap – sigh: the joy of a big dog! But all done now.

An audit saw three roses I planted last year did not survive my winter neglect. It is so hard with the water restrictions and our poor soil, with so many tree roots stealing water. Rather than replace the roses, I admitted defeat and filled the spaces with lavender, which does grow well in these conditions. I still have plenty of roses but not the heart to nurture new ones. The drought must end/ease eventually!

Medicine time – wetting agent for the hydrophobic soil, seasol to make everyone feel better, slow release fertiliser and 20kg of pea straw mulch. All I need to do is remember to turn on the dripper system at 8pm (Sunday is the only day our house can water) and give it all a good soak. The it was time to sit back and smell the perfume from the roses, lilac and lavender with a cuppa and a new book. It’s a hard life!

I didn’t take any photos of my work, as the light was gone before I finished, so that will wait til morning. But I did play with some close ups on my camera and captured some treasures.
Garden Photos


Friday, October 5, 2007

This weeks challenge is: wholesome. Bit tricky, so here is a sandwich Kaitlyn made me for lunch one day when I was playing with my camera! www.photofriday.com
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