Sunday, October 30, 2011

Long Weekend Wrap Up

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 PM 5 comments
Well the Queen visited Perth but she didn't call 'round for tea. Offspring #2 was somewhat disappointed that we didn't get to see her but between stormy weather, swimming lessons and a cat needing to go to the vet (but he's all better now!) we didn't end up with an awful lot of free time to go looking for a certain elderly monarch. We did however end up with a long weekend and, boy, did we ever manage to fill it up.

I got through a bundle of jobs that had been niggling away at me, caught up on some much needed sleep, had dinner out with friends, emptied the washing basket and have reached the end of the weekend feeling well satisfied with what I've achieved. I feel a whole heap better than this time last week, and with my head in a good space I'm ready to face the week(s) ahead. Yay for a long weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Idiot Moment Of The Week

Posted by MANDI at 6:46 PM 4 comments
And Lordy, there were a few. Like when I had to ring the IT guy at work to ask how to unzip a file he'd sent me. And he laughed so hard I thought he'd choke. And then he laughed even harder when I said I'd never had to unzip one before because my husband always did it for me. (I realise that sounds a bit rude now, but honestly he was just laughing because of all the things that I CAN do, this really, really simple thing was something I didn't have a clue about.)

Anyway tonight's moment of sheer stupidity...
I cooked some crumbed chicken thingies for dinner tonight specifically because I had a NEED for sweet chilli sauce. I had some fresh crusty bread, threw together a yummy crunchy salad using lots of things from our vegie garden and served it all up. Went to grab the sweet chilli sauce from the pantry and discovered... we're out.

And yes, I did go food shopping this morning. Thankyou.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2012

Posted by MANDI at 8:47 PM 3 comments
Do you remember right around this time last year when I decided to add to the general chaos and stress by taking part in NaNoWriMo? It's when you try to spend November writing a book. Or at least 50,000 words worth of it.

Yeah. I'm doing that again. 'Cos I like to live on the edge. Of sanity.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gratituesday: Sharing The Love

Posted by MANDI at 8:16 PM 5 comments
I am so lucky to have a dear friend who we will call Fiona. Because that's her name.

She takes my kid to school the days I work and generally plays subsitute mum to them while they're in her care. I don't have a minute's worry when they're with her - I know they're in good hands, that they're loved and that they know they're loved. She loves to cook and read, just like me. And she's very clever when it comes to crafty stuff like sewing, unlike me. And she's been reading my blog since the very beginning. And I'd love her for that alone.

But she's also one of the nicest, kindest, most lovely people I know. And as I typed that sentence I realised that, actually, most of my dearest, closest friends are some of the nicest, kindest, most lovely people you could ever meet. And that makes me pretty darn lucky.

But anyway. This morning I arrived at Fiona's house to drop off the kidlets and she handed me a bunch of the sweetest smelling, prettiest roses fresh from her garden. Heck, they still  had raindrops on them. And she said, "These are so you can stop and smell the flowers." I took them to work with me and popped them in a pretty vase on my desk. Their perfume made my office smell divine all day long, everyone who came in commented on them and each time I looked at them I smiled and remembered that I have a beautiful friend who cares about me.

Thanks Fi. You're an awesome friend and I'm so grateful to have you in my life.

And when I got home I looked at the comments to yesterday's pity post and got a wee bit teary at the love from some of my other wonderful friends. You guys rock and I'm so lucky to have all of you in my life too. xx

Monday, October 24, 2011

Drowning, Not Waving.

Posted by MANDI at 8:21 PM 6 comments
I'm struggling with the world at the moment. Nothing serious, and nothing to worry about. Just feeling like I'm always three steps behind where I need to be and that no matter how hard I try I can't quite get to where I need to be. I can usually deal with it- but then again I usually only feel like I'm one step behind. Maybe it's the new job. Maybe it's all the work going on around the house. Maybe I just need to work out how to fit in more sleep. Whatever it is, my head won't stop going over all the things I need to be doing and it's a little bit poisonous. It's hard to feel good about what you have achieved each day when your head is reminding you about all the stuff you havent' done. Yay I spoke to that person I've been chasing for two weeks, and organised that thing I've been working on, and finished that huge pile of paperwork that needed fixing but... I didn't pay this bill, or check that homework, or cook a very good dinner or get that load of washing hung out.

I am looking forward to five whole days off . I've had to swap days a bit this week to fit in staff meetings and school events which has made the juggling act I've been doing even more difficult but as a result of the swapping I end up with a five days 'weekend'. And I'm planning to put some of that time into some serious sleeping. And some more into a bout of serious de-cluttering and chucking out around the house. I figure those things should go some way to helping me find even ground. Even if it's just for a little while.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gratituesday Again

Posted by MANDI at 9:37 PM 6 comments
And you know what that means. Sharing the things you're grateful for this week.

I've got some bits of Gratituesday randomness for you...
- I grabbed a bunch of lilliums from the supermarket the other day. They were all tight buds and I had no idea what colour they'd turn out to be. Well every single flower has opened and they're the prettiest pure white you can imagine and the perfume from them just fills my house. Lovely.
- First day back at school today appears to have gone off with a minimum of fuss and drama. Lovely.
- I had to work late and didn't get in till after 6 but the school teaching Hubby had collected the kids and had it all under control. Lovely.
- And further to the last one - there were leftovers from last night in the fridge so when I did finally get home all I had to do for the kids dinner was dish some onto a plate and pop it in the microwave. Double lovely.

So, what's rocking your world this week? What are you grateful, thankful or otherwise just plain happy about?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mum's United Morning Tea

Posted by MANDI at 3:58 PM 2 comments
Part of the Mum's United project that I'm taking part in was hosting a catch up with friends and, while I would have loved to have them here to show off hubby's hard work the puppy is currently sporting a very unattractive cone over her head and is supposed to be being kept quiet. Fat chance of that but I knew that having a bundle of kids tearing 'round the yard would incite her to levels of excitement neither I nor her stitches could cope with so instead suggested a picnic morning tea and a play at one of our local parks.

I took the opportunity to try a couple of the recipes from the booklet provided by Mum's United. I did doctor both of the recipes a little, partly based on taste and partly based on what was in the fridge/cupboard. The Mountain Muffins became mini mountain muffins and we nixed the corned cream, upped the skim milk and added some parsley fresh from the garden. The adults quite liked them and about half the kids thought they were okay. I think they could do with a bit more flavour - maybe a shake of paprika or something over the top? Either way, the fussy child who shall not be named (oh okay, Offspring #2) liked them and polished off a few before we even left home, so she'll be getting a few in her lunchbox tomorrow!

The Banana and Blueberry Loaf was less of a hit. I'm not a huge fan of blueberries in baked goods (but with muesli and yoghurt for breakfast? Yum!) so I swapped them for raspberries. I found the loaf to be quite dense, almost stodgy, and have to say I wouldn't make it again. I've got lots of other banana bread type recipes and a delish banana and raspberry one and I'm pretty sure I could healthy them up somewhat. Disappointing but I'm glad we gave it a go.

As always the biggest hit with the kids was the healthiest, easiest option. Fruit kebabs. It never fails to amaze me how much kids love to eat these and come back for more every time.

The kids played on the playground and swings, played hide-and seek through the trees, collected all manner of interesting leaves and rocks to take home, kicked and threw balls, and generally ran around like lunatics for a couple of hours.
Believe it or not,  30 seconds after this photo there were about 15 kids all over this equipment!

Meanwhile the mum's looked over the information/recipe booklet published by Mum's United, shared some recipe and activity ideas, caught up on the school holiday news and reminded each other of library days and other such things that need to be remembered this week.

In all, a nice way to spend the last day of school holidays. Friends, food and a playground. Lovely.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Ever Clever Hubby Does It Again!

Posted by MANDI at 9:32 PM 5 comments
Hubby has been on school holidays but he hasn't exactly been resting. He's been building retaining walls and garden beds, overseeing the kids painting the vegie garden fence (hmmm... that one was messy!), enclosing the gable part of the patio roof and building our new outdoor kitchen on the aforementioned patio.

He very patiently put up with me changing my mind about 392 times. And then changing it back. He tolerated my flights of fancy while politely, if mildly condescendingly, pointing out that they wouldn't work. And he even came around to the idea of red kitchen. Before I decided that it wouldn't work. But a red splashback would. I'm still searching for that bit.

He started off by building the wall for the kitchen. And cladding it, gyprocking it, painting it, patching it and painting it again.

And he helped select and buy all the cupboards and benchtops for the kitchen. Then went back to the shop the following day to collect the rest of the stuff we needed.

And coped admirably when I told him I'd changed my mind about the benchtop we'd chosen and selected a new one (that I love) from my somewhat garbled directions down the phone.

And he put all the cupboards together in record time.

And put in the sink and tap.

And now it all looks bee-you-ti-full!! And it's just waiting for that darn splashback to finish it off. Then... roll on summer, entertaining, eating outside and enjoying our outdoor living area.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mums United

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 PM 4 comments
I'm so excited to have been invited to take part in a special project called Mums United. It's from the Heart Foundation and Soup and it's all about making small changes for healthier eating as well as ideas to help Mums get their families up, moving and more active. There's even a Mums United Facebook group you can join.

The Mums United project has sent me a bundle of goodies to share with you - there's a booklet with recipes and ideas to help get your family up and moving, family walking charts and shopping list pads. They've also offered some seriously good prizes so I'm planning a couple of competitions over the next couple of weeks - stay tuned for them

Lots of you in my real life know that I started the year feeling fat and frumpy. I took a long hard look at what I was eating (and how much of it I was eating!) and decided I needed to make a whole bunch of changes. None of them were difficult and some of them have become downright addictive. I cut the junk, upped the activity, took control of a few eating habits that had gone a bit crazy and week by week lost a little bit of weight. I lost nine kilograms, discovered that I actually like eating breakfast and that I love my daily walk. My family discovered that a slimmer Mum is much more fun and that is she doesn't get her daily walk she gets a little bit grumpy! I've still got a couple of kilo's to go before I hit my goal and this initiative seems like the extra little kick I need to get back on the eat better, move more wagon.

Lots of the suggestions that Mums United makes are things that already happen in our house:
  • I use butter for baking but for everyday use like sandwiches, toast, etc we use margarine (50% fat compared to as little as 14% fat). I am going to cook a cake with margarine instead of butter and I'll let you know what I think of the result.
  • We eat mostly reduced fat dairy products. Ok, Hubby and the kids have full fat milk and have resisted every single attempt I've made to swap them over. I'm going to get them to try it. I can't promise it'll be successful but I'll give it a go.
  • I've been walking 4km most days of the week since February. I walk with my neighbour - we meet at her front gate at 5.30 every morning- and we've just added an extra kilometre so now we're up to 5. And yeah, I'm feeling that extra kilometre.
  • The kids are pretty active. We have an acre that they run around on and they have a trampoline, bikes, scooters, footballs, hula hoops and a puppy. But I'm going to make more of an effort to get outside and play with them. You  know, kick the ball with them, play jump rope. That kind of thing.
  • And one thing I've never really paid much attention to is the Health Foundation's tick. But in October I'm going to look at what food I'm buying and, where I can, swap it for a product with the tick.
I'll let you know how I'm going once a week or so.

So, who wants a little pack of goodies from Mums United ? Leave me a comment and tell me what you're going to do in October to eat more healthy and be more active and I'll send you one. (Sorry, only if you're in Australia).

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Age-Old Question

Posted by MANDI at 9:56 PM 3 comments
How do you get your kids to eat their vegies?

One way is to get them to help prepare the vegie garden for planting, and let them choose some of the things you'll plant (beetroot for her, snow peas for him) and then get them all excited about checking the progress of the plants and you pretend you don't notice when they keep stealing all the snow peas straight from the garden. And then, after what seems like forever, you let them help decide what you'll have for dinner.

Tonight's effort was spinach in the pasta dish I made. Offspring #1 gobbled every little bit. Offspring #2 not so much. But there's always tomorrow. And in the meantime #2 has discovered that she likes lettuce. And she's very excited that the baby carrots are ready to eat. And she has no idea at all why we don't ever seem to have any snow peas to pick for dinner...

I think I might be winning this fight. Well this week anyway.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Purple Haze

Posted by MANDI at 8:05 AM 3 comments
Remember the garden beds that Hubby has been building out the front of the house? At the end of last year one side looked like this...

We planted the top tier with roses, the second tier with agapanthus and the bottom tier with lavender. The plan was a white and purple flower-fest through spring and summer. The roses are budding nicely and I think we'll have some gorgeous white roses in a week or two. The agapanthus are still a little way of flowering but they were gorgeous last summer and I'm sure they will be again. And the lavender has gone from tiny little potted plants to a lush low hedge of purple-ness.

We still have lots to do, and realistically quite a long way to go, but I love that all the work we've been doing is starting to come together. And I'm loving driving in each evening to this beautiful wall of purple.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Showtime, 2011

Posted by MANDI at 8:25 PM 5 comments
I have made the most of having a school teaching husband and worked a bit extra this week - partly because my boss was on leave so I needed to cover her and partly to show that I very much appreciate the flexibility my boss allows me during term time and that I'm ready and willing to return that when I can during the holidays. So instead of two and half days I worked four full days. Can we just say, EX.HAUST.ED! Seriously how do other mums manage it? I literally only had to get myself sorted and go to work each day - Hubby was at home with the kids and I came home to dinner cooked and the house tidied every night and I was still in bed by 8.30 or 9 every single night.

But.... today was my one and only day off so we hit the Perth Royal Show and had us some fun. The kids had some birthday money saved for spending and had earned some extra money doing chores with their Dad this week. He's kind of a slave driver and they well and truly earned the cash!

We got there nice and early and avoided the crowds for the morning, though by about midday there were LOTS of people around. We hit all the free exhibits, samples and goodies to be collected. We patted baby animals, walked and walked and walked and spend much time considering showbag purchases. We planned to stick with the tried and true tradition of one ride, one game and one showbag which has worked well in the past but because the kids had their own cash we did allow them a bit of leeway. I also followed my annual tradition of buying a new hat at whichever show we attend and now have a huge shady hat for summer.

Offspring #1 had grand plans for the ride he wanted to go on, and would actually be tall enough for this year. But in the end he and his Dad hit the Dodgem Cars and had a blast.

Offspring #2 decided horses were the order of the day and ended up with a pony ride as well as a ride on the horse in the carousel.

We also: rode the Ferris Wheel and loved every minute of it, watched the sheep dog working the sheep, had a go at some circus tricks, collected lots of stickers and colouring pages, watched the prize-winning cattle being paraded around the show grounds, patted a two week old piglet (soooo cute!!), put our sunscreen on every couple of hours and still got a little bit of colour, ate hot donuts and hotdogs and hot chips (hmmm, is anyone else seeing a theme emerging here?) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I think 'doing' the show every second year is just about the perfect fit - it makes it super special for the kids and gives the adults in the house plenty of time to forget how exhausting a day at the show is!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Posted by MANDI at 9:07 PM 3 comments
It's been a while since I've done a Gratituesday post and I had something totally different lined up for tonight until...

I got home from work and hubby told me that, out of the enormous number of dvd's that he and the kids had hired today, he'd chosen one just for me. The Fast and The Furious 5. I laughed at him, thinking he was joking and then he reminded me that it had Vin Diesel AND The Rock. He gets to watch car chases. I get to watch two hotties. Awesome!

And then he went off to collect pizza for our dinner and came home with a super supreme minus pineapple. No cooking or cleaning up for me tonight and my favourite take-away pizza. Double Awesome.

I know I'm pretty lucky to have such a wonderful hubby. He's funny and sweet and thoughtful and he makes me laugh. A lot. He's also pretty darn clever - and I'll give you an update of what he's been working on later in the week. And I'm so grateful that my not-so-carefully-constructed plan to move to the country and be a career woman with cats all those years ago went flying out the window the minute I met him.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hello Lovelies!

Posted by MANDI at 6:07 PM 2 comments
Hello there, it's nice to see you all again. Thank you for your extreme patience while I've been absent, yet again, with a sick girl-child. Her asthma flared up again and this time it was very bad. Ten solid nights of asthma attacks, and usually 4 or 5 attacks each night. And she started having them during the day which has never happened before. Our GP has put her back onto just about every treatment she's ever had, all at the same time, and finally she seems to on the mend. She's not quite back to her normal self yet - still tiring quite easily and needing to be handled a little more gently than usual - but I knew she was finally getting better when I told her to use her inside voice yesterday and realised I hadn't done that for two weeks.

Another thing that showed me just how unwell she'd been (as if I didn't know that!) happened on Friday when she jumped on my bathroom scales to see how much she 'cost'. It's a family saying and, when they were little, both kids loved to see that they 'cost' more each time they jumped on (unless they didn't leave enough time between visits!). She looked a the scales and announced, "Well, I don't know how that happened!" When I looked at the display window I realised what she was on about. What used to say 21kg's was reading 19kg's. The poor little poppet had lost two kilograms while she was sick simply through a lack of appetite. But she made up for it today when we were out to lunch - she ate all of her lunch, almost half of her Dad's and then had ice-cream afterwards. I doubt she'll eat anything for dinner but with all that in her I don't think she'll miss it.

We went to a family wedding on Friday morning - a nice drive to the country, a gorgeous sunny day, and a couple very much in love. Here's a pic of the kids, all dressed up and grinning their wee heads off. It was #2's first 'good' day and she lasted till just after midday. Luckily we left not long after and she slept for just over an hour on the way home. Not bad for a kid who flatly refuses to sleep during the day or in the car.


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