Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oops

Posted by MANDI at 3:46 PM 3 comments
I forgot to blog last night! We had a fairly busy day and were out last night but I really did intend to blog before we went out. Oh well!
While the Daddy of the house is away I try to work in a few treats and extra activities to help break up the days and, hopefully, help the time pass a little easier. We tend to do a bit of baking, play in the garden, make a few visits to friends and other such low key, but interesting to littlies, type activities. Last weekend Offspring #2 requested a train trip be added to the agenda so we popped out to undertake that request yesterday. I don't think the poor deprived child had ever been on a train - apart from huge one's carrying iron ore they don't have trains up north!
We caught the train into "Perth City", as it is known in our house, and had a look at the Christmas decorations in the mall. I thought they were quite disappointing but the kids were thrilled and dutifully posed in front of the Christmas Tree in Forrest Chase. (sadly, I can't get Blogger to post the pics... again. This is driving my nuts!)
I treated them to lunch in town - sadly they chose Hungry Jacks, I can see they need to be educated in this matter - and we hopped back on the train and headed home. They had a wonderful time on the train. Both trips were quiet so we had half a carriage to ourselves and they spent most of the trip with their noses glued to the window exclaiming over everything we could see. #1 was especially excited when we were 'racing' the cars on the road beside the train track and when we crossed the river while #2 was almost overcome by the whole experience! I spent most of the trip reminding them to use 'inside voices' and laughing at their delight.
I can see that train trips are going to be requested rather more regularly now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Playing In The Garden

Posted by MANDI at 7:08 PM 1 comments
When I've not been in the garden for a while I forget just how much I love playing in the soil. I love the soreness that comes from digging and bending, the dirt under your fingernails - despite good quality gardening gloves - and, of course, I love the end result.
I had a beautiful herb garden when we last lived here and, as expected, only the very hardy survived two years of tenants. I still had a little rosemary bush, an enormous clump of lemongrass, an ever-spreading growth of chives and an extraordinarily tall fennel plant but the rest of the herb garden had been taken over by ground cover, weeds and fallen leaves.
Offspring #2 and I took ourselves off to the nursery today and came home with a variety of herbs and an urge to garden. We had to delay the gardening until later this afternoon but, after collecting #1 from school, the kids and I got stuck into some serious work. We raked and weeded, pruned and trimmed, dug and planted, watered and... got watered (#1 was in charge of the hose. What more can I say??).
We've planted dill, lavender, nasturtiums, thyme, Italian parsley, coriander, mint, flat-leaf parsley, sage and sweet basil. I can't wait till I can use them in my cooking

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fruits of The Hills

Posted by MANDI at 5:49 PM 3 comments
Here's my Weeping Mulberry.


It was in a quite dreadful state when we arrived back home. It was hanging down to the ground and I'm guessing it hadn't been pruned, or even trimmed, over the two years we were gone. I didn't hold out much hope for fruit this year but it has surprised me. It is absolutely laden with mulberries and they are just staring to turn pink. We wandered down over the weekend and plucked a few early bloomers introducing the kids to the joys of growing fruit in your backyard.


In the past we've netted the tree - the first year we moved in a family of finches made their home on the inside of the tree and happily ate their way through just about every single piece of fruit - but I haven't taken any such measures this year. I'm hoping that the birds will leave us with enough to enjoy mulberries with our ice-cream, apple and mulberry pie and, if we're extra lucky enough for a good batch of mulberry jam. Yum.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jinxed!

Posted by MANDI at 8:54 PM 4 comments
Remember just a few days ago when I told you that we thought Offspring #2's new asthma meds were doing the trick?
As I feared I seem to have jinxed the poor kid and she's had problems since Sunday night. Of course the Daddy of the house left early Sunday morning so I got to deal with one of the worst attacks so far all on my own. Yay for me... NOT!
Her coughing seems to have settled down today so I'm heading off to bed early to try and catch up on some of the sleep I've lost over the past few nights. To say that I'm plain worn out would be something of an understatement.

Monday, November 24, 2008

While Hubby's Away...

Posted by MANDI at 9:07 PM 7 comments
I'll do some scrapping!

When my nephew saw the door hangers I'd made for my kids he very sweetly asked if I would make one for him. I promptly agreed, and asked if he thought his big sister would like one too, and got busy making them. But... life has a way of intruding and one thing after another got in the way of finishing them. I felt guity, especially when we visited them at the end of October for my niece's birthday and they still weren't done.
Last night I finally finished them and I think they've turned out quite nicely. When asked for colour choices J, aged 5, and C, just turned 7, had requested blue and pink respectively - I hope they'll like them. Now I just have to take them to the post office!










Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wobb-a-leeee Teeth Update

Posted by MANDI at 9:54 AM 2 comments
Offspring #1 lost his first tooth yesterday with decidedly less drama than we had anticipated. He was playing Playstation and it "just fell out"! He dashed into the house to tell me the news and has had the cutest lisp since.
The Tooth Fairy visited last night and exchanged a $2 coin for the tooth so there was further excitement this morning. Apparently a number of kids in his class have received $5 from the Tooth Fairy but she obviously felt that was a bit rich for this household.
Now we're waiting for the next loose tooth to fall out. He's got two more wobbly ones at the moment but I'm hoping they don't all fall out at once - the poor kids won't be able to speak or eat!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cookie Chaos

Posted by MANDI at 8:24 PM 4 comments
I finally managed to do some baking this afternoon and, to further prove that I don't do anything by halves, instead of baking just one batch I cooked three different types of cookie. Or biscuit, if you prefer.


Hubby is heading away for work tomorrow. He'll be gone at least a couple of weeks and is heading out with four or five other guys so I thought I'd bake up a bunch of cookies and send half away with him. They go way out bush and I figured a home-made cookie or two with their morning 'smoko' or evening cuppa might be a welcome treat.


Two of the batches I baked are old favourites - Jam Drops (aka Thumbprint Cookies and Bloody Belly Buttons) and Anzac Biscuits - but I also tried out a new one. I tweaked the recipe a little to fit what was in the pantry and it turned out okay. The kids like them and that's the main thing. I have no idea where this recipe came from. It's pasted into an old exercise book that was one of my first recipe collection points, way before the Ugly Binders. The book is so old it has a recipe from a work-mate at my first 'proper' job when I was about 18 (in fact I still make that recipe at least a couple of times a year!). So, no credit for this one. Sorry.


Chocolate Crunch Cookies
Makes about 34


50g softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup cocoa pops (I used Rice Bubbles and I'd use less, maybe closer to 2/3 cup)


Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
Use an electric mixer to beat butter, caster sugar and brown sugar together until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Use a wooden spoon to stir through flour, cocoa powder and cocoa pops. the dough will be thick and sticky. (I found it needed a bit of knead by hand to get it to all come together).
Use clean wet hands to roll walnut size balls (I used a teaspoon measure to scoop the dough out). Place 5 cm apart onto prepared trays and bake each tray for 10-12 minutes until crisp and starting to colour around the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Controlled?

Posted by MANDI at 10:12 PM 4 comments
I feel like I might jinx it if I talk about it but...
Offspring #2 has been troubled by asthma for most of this year. Hubby and I took the first few attacks to be croup and did all the croup-y type remedies which helped somewhat but as her attacks grew more severe and more frequent we sought medical advice. We weren't convinced of the diagnosis of asthma, partly because I didn't want my baby to have to suffer so I was just sticking my head in the sand, and partly because the doctors we consulted all seemed far to eager to diagnose asthma without seeing her have an attack or doing any follow up. Before you all rise up in outrage, let me preface by saying that I know there are many many doctors in country areas who are skilled, professional and knowledgeable practitioners. It just seems there weren't too many in Red Dirt Central.
It wasn't until we moved back to The Hills that we felt she was being given some sort of treatment, though we still weren't terribly happy about the quick diagnosis. We followed the doctor's instructions to a tee with preventative and relief medications and followed a wait-and-see pattern for several more months. Meanwhile #2's daycare held an Asthma workshop for staff and parents so I went along to that and was finally convinced that, yes, she had asthma.
The preventative worked for a while but then her attacks became worse - more frequent and more severe. It came to a head when she had quite severe midnight attacks four nights in a row. Luck was on our side and the doctor available to see her is one of the good guys. He listened when we said we were nearly at breaking point, he was lovely to #2 and he printed out reams of information for us while prescribing her a different kind of preventative med. And the big one for us? For the first time since this saga began a doctor told us he wanted to see her ten days later to assess the medication and make changes if necessary.
We had her follow up appointment this morning and Dr G is happy. The new med appears to be working - she's not coughing, we can't hear every breath she takes and most importantly she hasn't had an asthma attack for 9 days. Also, he wants her to stay on the new med for the next couple of months and he'd like to see us again mid-Jan.
Yay for meds that seem to be working. Yay for a doctor who wants to do follow-up. And yay for no middle-of-the-night asthma attacks.
Oh, and later - when I'm moaning about the price of her meds - remind me about this post, okay?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Junk Mail

Posted by MANDI at 9:26 PM 3 comments
I know that lots of people hate junk mail but I've always loved it. Many years ago, when Hubby and I were newly in love, we lived in a tiny town in the middle of the Red Dirt. We had no big shops, no variety-type stores and the very few specialist stores were limited to hardware, a bicycle store and a jeweller. One of the things I missed most while living there was junk mail. We didn't get any because we had nowhere to buy the stuff anyway. As far as I recall we didn't even get the junk mail for the one grocery store/supermarket we had - I guess the store managers figured we had to drive at least 4 hours to shop elsewhere so they had a fairly captive market and had no need to advertise. Whenever we visited our families in Perth I would devour the junk mail and my mum even took to sending me care packages of some of the bigger catalogues that made their way into her letterbox.
During our recent stint in Red Dirt Central the junk mail situation wasn't quite as dire - we got the weekly specials from the Woolies and Coles as well as various bits from the two supermarkets and various specialty stores. Really, the shopping in Red Dirt Central is quite good so we didn't have too much to complain about but I'd still marvel at the volume of junk mail that arrived in Mum's mailbox compared to what we received. But... look what arrived in my mail box in just one afternoon last week.



Love it! I get to check out all the specials, plan some purchases and sort out some more Christmas present then the kids get to go crazy with the scissors and glue and whatever's left ends up in the recycling bin. Another good reason to enjoy being home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Darn

Posted by MANDI at 9:27 PM 0 comments
I have a bunch of cute photos to share and Blogger won't let me upload any of them.

And since I can't think of anything else to blog about tonight... it's a short and sweet one!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Helping Daddy

Posted by MANDI at 9:10 PM 1 comments
While I was 'recovering' yesterday Offspring #2 played Daddy's Shadow. You know, where she follows him around all day trying to help, chattering away in mostly indecipherable (to Daddy at least) three-year-old-ese and generally gets in his way. All in the most sweet, loving and gorgeous way so he can't get too annoyed with her. She helped rake sand, lay pavers, sweep the sand into the gaps, visited Bunnings, filled up the trailer with branches and garden rubbish and tagged along on a tip run (and had Daddy buy her an ice-cream on the way home). Truth be told, he loved having his little shadow right there although he did discover just how quickly she can get into mischief - especially mischief that looks like great fun.


He was making mud-bricks for a retaining wall he's building and had the mix in the wheelbarrow all ready to go. While cleaning the cement mixer he turned around to find #2, quite literally, up to her elbows in trouble.


Being the wonderful parents we are... we had to grab the camera before we grabbed the hose.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You Know How...

Posted by MANDI at 8:23 PM 1 comments
my phone line was back on?
Well then it went off again. No idea why, it was just gone. Then when I checked it, on the off-chance, earlier this evening it was working again. No idea why, it's just back. So I'll make the most of it while I can.
We had my 20 year high school reunion last night and it was GREAT! I'd helped organise it and have to say it was quite stressful trying to get in touch with everyone, sort money, find a venue, decide on food and get it to all come together on the night. I think I got too caught up in trying to make sure everyone would be happy and stressed needlessly. We had 60 or so people turn up, the venue was great, the food was good, and everyone appeared to have fun.
We had enough money left to put some on the bar so everyone had a drink paid for and then with the bit that was left after that we passed around the hat (okay, the wine bucket) and collected for charity. We decided we'd give it to breast cancer research as the wife of one of the guys from school is currently fighting her second round. She's the same age as us (still under 40) has little kids like most of us do and it all struck a little too close to home. We ended up raising nearly $300 just with people handing over loose change and bits and pieces so we're really pleased.
It was fantastic to catch up with old friends, lovely to chat with people I didn't have much in common with at school and find new common-ground, and fun to check out the boys I'd had mad crushes on. And if the hangover I'm dealing with today is anything to go by, I had a really great night!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Call Me?

Posted by MANDI at 8:04 PM 2 comments
Yes, I'm back online at last! It's so nice to hear the phone ringing, though I'm sure it won't be too long before it's driving me crazy again. Isn't it amazing how frustrating life is without a telephone or easy access to the internet?
I was impressed by the Telstra man - I'd been told that a technician would call between 8am and 12noon and he arrived at 8.02am precisely. Now that doesn't happen too often.
Because of the impending arrival of the aforementioned technician I'd made no plans for today and it was the first day I've been home ALL day for about two and a half weeks. It was lovely! Offspring #2 and I cleaned the house from top to bottom and worked our way through six loads of washing. I'm exhausted but thrilled with my sparkling clean house. I'm not quite so thrilled by the overflowing baskets of ironing waiting to be done...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still Down

Posted by MANDI at 10:05 AM 7 comments
The phone line that was supposed to be fixed yesterday still isn't. Apparently it's not just us - hundreds of homes in the area are supposed to have been affected - but that isn't helping much.

I'm helping organise my school reunion. It's this weekend. Most of the work is done but, geez a phone would come in handy right about now.

Also, my grandma passed away. She was 98 and had a stroke the week before so her death was not unexpected and was even something of a relief but again, a phone would sure come in handy so I can keep up with the funeral arrangement and general family stuff at this time.

We're at six days without a phone (or, obviously, a computer) now and it's VERY ANNOYING! It doesn't help that we don't get especially good mobile reception at home so half the time we can't make/don't get calls and when we can they drop out half way through a conversation anyway! Did I mention that it's VERY ANNOYING!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Down At The First Hurdle

Posted by MANDI at 11:07 AM 6 comments
Well so much for a post each day in November. On Thursday night I was playing on the computer and got bumped off the internet. Being on dial-up for now (yes, STILL!) I figured someone was trying to call and had dropped my connection out. Turns out, our entire phone line dropped out and we currently have no phone at home and, as it's all connected, no internet either. I'm having serious withdrawls and am around at Mum's place checking emails, checking facebook and doing a quick post.
Telsta have said it might take until Tuesday to fix, so I'll be back as soon as I'm able to connect to the internet again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

That's What I Forgot!

Posted by MANDI at 9:19 PM 6 comments
I forgot to tell you that I got a new car...

Hubby's car finally died and this surprised absolutely no-one except Hubby. That meant we were down to one car and, for us, that was just not do-able. So, Hubby got his beloved Landy back and we went searching for a car that was lighter on fuel, had enough get-up-and-go to get up The Hill, and also met my most important requirement - was pretty.


We started looking at small-ish 4wheel-drives (um...SUV's? for the non-Aussies) but couldn't find anything I/we loved. Then we looked at little cars - Hubby was kind of keen, I was decidedly less so. Then we looked at bigger cars with a mind to getting a gas conversion. And then we found something completely different. As you do.


So here's my new car.







It's a Lancer wagon, a couple of years old and red. Because everyone knows red cars go faster.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tried This?

Posted by MANDI at 8:37 PM 3 comments
Regular readers will know that I'm not a big fan of 'packet food'. That is, food that comes from a packet mix with fresh ingredients added in. I'm truly not being a food snob about it (like I have anything to be snobby about anyway!) I just don't enjoy the packet-y taste that permeates the meal.



That said, there are of course a few exceptions. You'll be horrified to learn that my birthday cakes are ALWAYS packet cakes. Green's Butter Cake to be precise. The taste seriously good, never fail - which is important because I'm usually baking them at midnight the night before and don't have time to bake another cake - and they hold together well under mountains of icing.


I found another exception to the rule quite recently.




Preparing dinner in the slow cooker isn't very difficult but this makes it even easier. What tops that? It tastes fabulous, especially with lashings of sweet potato mash, and the kids demolish it quicker than you can threaten them with no dessert!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bubbles?

Posted by MANDI at 7:01 PM 3 comments
Who said Tupperware parties were boring?








In my house they're just another... reason to drink Bubbly! Don't you wish you were coming round to my place tonight?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just Beautiful

Posted by MANDI at 7:52 PM 4 comments
Check out this gorgeous rose from one of the rose bushes just outside my kitchen.




I'm really loving the spring flowers in our garden, especially after the complete lack of floral anything in the barren waste-land we called the yard up in Red Dirt Central

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Fish, Two Fish

Posted by MANDI at 9:12 PM 5 comments
During the school holidays Hubby cleaned out the fish pond. He removed truckloads (well, it seemed like it!) of plant life, scrubbed the pond, filled it with water, added the necessary nutrients and then, as one is supposed to, let the whole thing settle. A few days later he sent the kids and I off to one of the local pet shops to choose the so-called 'experiment' fish. They were the test fish to check that we'd got the water right. We also figured that having two fish die would be slightly less traumatic for the kids than finding a pond full of floating fish!
Pleasingly we got the water just right and our two fish are thriving. We think three frogs have joined the fun (we've seen two at a time but not necessarily the same two each time) and we've just been gifted some tadpoles from the neighbours pond. We know that goldfish eat frog's eggs and tadpoles but we've been led to believe that these taddies are big enough to survive.
We let the kids name the fish - one each in all efforts of fairness. Following in the footsteps of his Dad, and being the Carlton* tragic he is, Offspring #1 was torn between naming his fish Juddy** or Fev***. I couldn't help teasing him and suggested that Juddy had only played one season for Carlton so we couldn't really embrace him just yet whereas Fev was a true Carlton player. He took the bait and named his fish Fev. Offspring #2 has a favourite colour that she points out to all and sundry, wears whenever possible and generally chooses that pencil when she's colouring. She thought long and hard about what to name her fish and then pronounced that HE would be known as... PINK. So we have Fev the Fish and Pink, two lovely gold comets. Now I'm not sure we can get more fish for the pond. Fev will drink too much and make off with their girlfriends and Pink will probably just get beaten up. Oh dear!
*Carlton is a football team in the national Australian Rules league. Hubby is a big fan and has indoctrinated the rest of the household. The kids know all of the team song. I'm so proud.
**Juddy is Chris Judd. A hugely talented player and all-round nice guy who left the WA team (who we don't go for even though we live here) and joined Carlton
***Fev is Brendon Fevola. A hugely talented player and not-especially nice guy who manages to find trouble in the most unlikely places as well as all the likely ones.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's November

Posted by MANDI at 9:24 PM 5 comments
I promised I'd be back in November and... here I am.
Thank you so much for the lovely words, encouragement and kind thoughts you left in the comments. Lordy, I should quit blogging more often. It does wonderful things for the ego and scores me the most comments ever LOL.
I remember last November was National Blog Posting Month, where bloggers were challenged to blog every day day of the month. I haven't seen it so far this year but decided that I'm going to do it anyway. I'm not promising great length or quality in posts but I'm going to aim for a blog post every day as a way of getting my blogging mojo back. The past few weeks have been slightly mental and it doesn't look like slowing down anytime soon so at least I'll have lots to blog about!
See you tomorrow.
 

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