Monday, January 30, 2012

Woot Woot!

Posted by MANDI at 9:49 PM 3 comments
I trotted down to see the doctor this afternoon. Again.

He checked on his handiwork from Friday evening's surgery and declared the problem to be fixed. HOORAY!!

I have to take things a little bit easy for the next few days, but that's just to make sure I ease back into top gear rather than trying to jump straight back to levels of crazy activity. I'm allowed back to work tomorrow and my boss has very kindly told me to only do as much as I can and to go home when I need to if I can't cope with a full day. I'd already arranged to work short days most of this week because school goes back on Wednesday so I'm thinking that'll let me get back to speed rather nicely.

And after a week and a bit of drama, drama, drama... I'm pretty darn happy to be easing back into things.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Home Again, Home Again...

Posted by MANDI at 4:49 PM 5 comments
Jiggety Jig!

Well the bleed started again yesterday afternoon and a quick call through to the doctor resulted in me being told to meet him at the hospital and then scheduled for a spot of surgery at 6pm. This time it was all done in theatre and under a general anaesthetic, rather than with the use of local anaesthetic in his rooms, which meant he could dig around a bit more without me having a sooky-la-la cry.

I have to see him again Monday to be sure the bleeding has really, truly, properly stopped and then he's sending me off to have some blood tests to check my haemoglobin levels as well as something to do with clotting agents in my blood. In my usual sick and twisted way it struck me as funny that, after a week of minor arterial bleeding that has the doctor all worried, he's going to order more blood be taken in order to check how it's doing LOL.

The best news is that I'm no longer on bed rest. I'm not allowed to lift heavy things or do anything even mildly strenuous but I am allowed to get up, walk around and do some normal stuff. Yay! Unfortunately I'm feeling kinda wiped out so have actually spent most of the afternoon in/on my bed. But tomorrow I'll be tackling a few chores I'd had earmarked for the past week, like labelling all the school stuff for the kids.

Friday, January 27, 2012

And Here's One I Prepared Earlier...

Posted by MANDI at 1:40 PM 2 comments
I made this last week before all the drama that has kept me in (or at least on) my bed but hadn't got to posting it yet. Well that and I didn't want to shock you all with two recipes in one week. I thought I'd better ease back into the cooking posts so as not make you all die of shock or set myself up for something I couldn't keep up with...

This is my first ever attempt at making a proper carbonara - normally I make more of an alfredo sauce with butter, garlic and cream. Lots of cream. Yum. But in the interests of being a bit healthier, and using up some of the egg supply, I decided to have a go at this. I love carbonara when I'm eating out but the idea of 'raw' eggs in a sauce that I'm making was always enough to stop me trying it myself. Well fear no more! The eggs do cook very nicely with the heat of the rest of the dish and there was nothing oozy or raw about it. (Though I suspect/know I overcooked it a little but heck it made me feel happier, I'll be that bit braver next time!) The kids wolfed this down AND went back for seconds. Yes, even the fussy one. Hubby wasn't as big a fan - he loves the creamy sauce and was a little disappointed to discover that dinner wasn't what he thought it was going to be but did admit that it was good. And I thought it was great as it ticked all the boxes for me - quick, easy and clean plates at the end of the meal. We'll be adding this to the Fast Food Filthy Friday rotation for sure.

Penne Carbonara
adapted slightly from The Thrifty Kitchen by Suzanne Gibbs and Kate Gibbs

Serves 4
400g penne
1/3 cup olive oil
150g bacon, finely chopped
5 eggs, beaten (the original recipe uses 3 but I found that wasn't enough, and I had a couple of quite small eggs, so I added two more and it was perfect)
3/4 cup grated fresh parmesan
freshly ground pepper

1. Cook the penne in a large pan of boiling water until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon for 5 or so minutes over medium until browned and crisp.
3. Drain the pasta and add it to the fry pan with the bacon, tossing it through to thoroughly coat it. Remove from the heat and add the beaten egg, stirring constantly so that it quickly cooks into a smooth creamy sauce. Stir through half the cheese and  the ground pepper.
4. Pile into serving bowls and top with the remaining cheese and extra pepper if desired. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Posted by MANDI at 6:22 AM 9 comments
The bed rest and finger crossing doesn't seem to have done the trick. So after a not brilliant night I've spoken to the hospital and have to meet the doctor in an hour and a half.

If you could keep up with the finger crossing? Thanks.

Update at 10.30am:
Back from seeing the doctor. It seems that a minor arterial bleed caused all the trouble - it would stop for a bit and then go again and decided to go a bit crazy at 1am and again at 2am but then settled until 5am. The doctor has 'sealed' it with silver nitrate and I'm back on bedrest for an extra few days. All being well this should be the end of the drama. But he has given me his mobile number "just in case". That finger crossing I asked you for? Please keep at it. Pretty please?

And any more suggestions for websites, blogs or Pinterest requests would be most welcome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Still Here

Posted by MANDI at 8:11 PM 9 comments
I've spent most of the day following the doctors orders.

I did overdo it slightly this morning, gave myself a wee fright and spent the rest of the day trying to make up for it. So, all from the comfort of my bed I've played board games, been adorned with jewellery and joined in with some crazy made up game that involved tiny little toy puppies and the girl-child being their mum who had to go to work, shopping and out with friends. A lot. I totally took that as the guilt trip it was intended to be. I also watched tv, read and played on my laptop. Oh and I fitted in a nap too.  Hubby has been wonderful, sorting the kids, organising meals and hanging up load after load of washing.

I 've got tomorrow to get through in the same way so while I have you here... got any suggestions for blogs or websites that I should check out? Are you on Pinterest? What's your name over there - I'll check out your boards and follow you. Or if you're not on and want an invite leave me a message in the comments and I'll take care of it.

 I did launch into a big whinge here then came back and deleted it because I sounded like a total brat with first world problems. I am ridiculously lucky to live in a country with great health care, to earn enough to be able to pay for private health insurance and see the doctors of my choice in the hospital of my choice and to be able to afford to have a few days off work while I get better. So whinge over. If being bored is the worst of my problems then I'm doing just fine. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ups and Downs

Posted by MANDI at 6:54 PM 10 comments
Ummm, a warning to my male readers. Yeah, all two of you. Lady parts are discussed in this post so you might just wanna go read the paper and come back tomorrow. Okay? You've been warned, carry on at your own risk...

It's all about the ups and downs here, people. I had a routine 'well woman's check' with my regular GP a while ago and she decided to send me off to see a gynaecologist for some, shall we say... lady issues. I saw him last week and he did a little procedure, told me I was very brave, outlined what to expect for a couple of days and sent me on my merry way. Yay me. Fast forward to today when things went a little awry while I was at work and I put in a quick call to his office to be told that no, that was not okay and I should be in his office in two hours time. Please.

A mad dash up the hill was followed by an equally mad dash back down the hill in a different direction where I was seen very promptly and, amid much head shaking, he spent an hour or so fixing me back up. Nothing quite as reassuring as being told that I'd saved myself a trip to theatre and he was very pleased that I'd had a small panic and called because if it had been left till tonight we would have been making a mad dash to hospital. He very nicely informed me I would not be working for the rest of the week, I would not be partying for Australia Day and that I was very lucky he  wasn't sticking me on bed rest until he saw me again. He was just severely curtailing all activity that involved moving around.

So, I'm seeing him again on Friday morning so he can check up on me and (finger's crossed BIG TIME!) all will be well, good and fixed up. Otherwise, he tells me, it'll be hospital bed all the way.

So I'm resting, with my feet up, playing on the computer, and keeping my fingers crossed. If you could do the finger crossing too I'd me mighty grateful.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sand + Sunburn = Summer

Posted by MANDI at 9:35 PM 4 comments
We took a day trip up to Moore River with a neighbour family, setting out early and arriving home a little over 12 hours later, and spent the day in the boat. And despite several applications of sunscreen, the wearing of hats and rashies and the shade tent being up we still managed to end the day with sand through everything and varying degrees sunburn.

Here are the kids, totally over-excited and ready to party at six thirty this morning. 

Well, to say in the boat would be exaggerating - we spent some time cruising up and down the river and a whole heap more time playing in the river, climbing huge sandhills, enjoying a picnic lunch and having lots of fun.

Me and my boy

The girl and her Dad.

Moore River, or Guilderton as the town is really called, is about an hour and a half away - perfect for a weekend getaway but also doable for a day trip. It's a quiet little town on the coast and the river is separated from the ocean by a sizeable sand bar.

The river is lovely - clean, calm and with a nice low speed restriction for river traffic so it's perfect for a quiet day in the boat. I took heaps of photos but Blogger isn't letting me load them all so I've just put a few up. I'm a bit sad about that as I managed to get a whole bunch of really lovely pics of Offspring #1. Normally it's #2 hogging the camera and being pretty so I was really pleased to get some of my boy. I'll try to post them later in the week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back To Baking

Posted by MANDI at 1:44 PM 4 comments
I know I haven't been posting many recipes lately and I'm determined to get back to not only cooking new things, but also sharing them with you all. I've had a throw-out of some magazines that were lying around and also had a good dig through all the torn out recipe pages that have been shoved into the ugly binders. Both ugly binders are full to bursting with lovely recipes and ideas, some I need to plan for when we have dinner guests, others are terrific for weeknight family meals, and I can't wait to try some of them out.

I made this yummy savoury tart for dinner last night and served it with a garden salad. I didn't have the proper tart tin but used a regular slice tin and, while it didn't look quite as pretty as the picture in the magazine, it was just fine. It also had the added bonus of using 4 eggs - and with the chooks now laying five or six every day I'm very happy with recipes that use up lots of them.

A quick question. Well two really. Does the idea of making pastry from scratch intimidate or scare you? I learnt how to make pastry a couple of years ago (after always buying the frozen stuff) and now can't believe I was ever worried about how hard it was. The pastry for this tart is the easiest yet so don't let the idea that you're making it from scratch scare you off. Question number two- do you know what 'blind baking is'? I was chatting with a friend a while ago and she had no idea what I meant when I said that something needed to be blind baked.

Broccollini Tart
from Australian Good Taste, February 2011

265 (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
125g butter, chilled, chopped
2-3 tbsp chilled water
4 short-cut bacon rashers, thinly sliced
65g (3/4 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
1 bunch broccollini, trimmed
4 eggs
125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream

1. Process flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add water until mixture just comes together . Roll out onto a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Line an 11.5 x 34cm fluted tart tin, with removable base, with pastry. Trim the excess. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until light golden. Transfer to a place lined with pater towel.
3. Preheat oven to 200C. Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and pastry weights or rice. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until light golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C.
4.  Place the tin on a baking tray. Sprinkle half the bacon and half the cheddar over the pastry case. Arrange the broccollini on top, trimming to fit as necessary. Whisk the eggs and cream in a bowl until well combined. Pour over the broccollini. Sprinkle with remaining bacon and cheddar. Bake for 35 minutes or until just set.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Holiday Slide Night!

Posted by MANDI at 9:11 AM 3 comments
I took sooooo many photos. But I know Felicity took about three hundred more than me! Here are some of the hundreds from my camera...

Here's the gorgeous Pacific Ocean (not the Indian that I'm used to seeing!), a street name that I couldn't go past without snapping a pic, a cane toad and the sign at the boat ramp that would make me think twice about putting the boat in the water!

My new favourite houses. Ever. I want one.

And the block of land that Felicity wanted me to tell Hubby I'd bought so we could move closer to her...
The restaurant we visited for dinner one night (it was fantastic), and a few of the local sights

And a shot of Felicity and I, taken on our last day by her seven year old daughter. It's off-centre and blurry as all get out and I absolutely love it because it reminds me of a wonderful few days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm Home!

Posted by MANDI at 8:55 PM 2 comments
I got home after midnight and made it to bed at around one this morning. Sadly the alarm went off at 6am and I was up and off to work.

I had the most wonderful time visiting Felicity and her gorgeous family. We talked and talked and talked, did some site-seeing, ate out, drank about a thousand cups of tea and talked some more. Her husband very kindly reminded us to stop talking and take a breath on more than one occasion!

Right now I'm going to have a cuppa with my very fabulous husband who made the whole trip possible. But I'll be back tomorrow with some more photos.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One More Sleep!

Posted by MANDI at 8:30 PM 7 comments
I've worked, shopped and washed today and bright and early tomorrow morning I'm outta here. I am so excited about seeing Felicity - I can't believe it's been three years! Can't wait to sit down with a cup of tea and just chat away without having to worry how long I've been on the phone and what it's doing to the phone bill.

Pretty much every conversation I've had today has started with, "By the way, did you know I'm going to Queensland tomorrow?" Half the people at work are totally excited for me and the other half wish I'd just shut up!  Work was busy, busy, busy but I managed to skip my lunch break and get away a little bit early. A quick run into the shops to grab a couple of last minute things then home to get some washing on - some stuff I wanted to take away with me and getting my work clothes washed because I'll get home after midnight on Monday night (Tuesday morning really!) and need to be at work to collect last minute info at 8.30 Tuesday morning to take it into a 9am meeting. Might need some matchsticks to hold my eye-lids up that day. But I'll deal with all that then.

I'm packed, I have a book and a magazine for the plane and Hubby has the kid stuff under control for the next few days (and I'll be speaking to them pretty much every day anyway). Right now I'm enjoying a cuppa and the last fruit mince pie, then onto very important holiday prep - leg shaving and toe nail painting - and then bed. I'm thinking a couple of panadol might be in order to make sure I actually go to sleep. I think 4.30am is gonna arrive really soon!

Not sure I'll have a chance to post while I'm away (too many cups of tea to drink and too much talking to do) but I promise I'll share photos when I get back.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So, Did I Tell You...

Posted by MANDI at 8:20 PM 4 comments
That I'm going to Queensland? Oh yes I am!

After Hubby totally outdid himself with my awesome birthday party he took it to a whole new level with my birthday present - a plane ticket to visit one my BFF's who just happens to live in Queensland. You might remember me talking about the very gorgeous, very lovely and just all round super nice Felicity when we lived up in Red Dirt Central? Her twins are the same age as Offspring #2 and we hit it off straight away. We left Red Dirt Central to come back to Perth and some time later Felicity and her family left to return to Queensland. We've stayed in touch (thank heavens for Facebook which make it so easy to keep up with my friends who are scattered through the country and even the world!) and although I invited her to my party I knew she wasn't going to be able to come.

Hubby to the rescue! As he said, "If Mohamed won't come to the mountain, I'll have to send the mountain to visit Mohamed. Or Felicity." It was one of those completely unexpected, totally out of the blue presents that just blow you away.

So I'm going to Queensland. All by myself. For five days.

And I leave on Thursday.

Oh yeah!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chookie Paradise

Posted by MANDI at 10:45 AM 7 comments
Hubby finished of the chook (chicken or hen, for you out of towners!) pen and then he and the kids headed off to get us some chooks.

Here's the chook pen in all its over-engineered, Taj Mahal like glory.

And the girls' accommodation. Complete with gas lanterns and railings to tie the horses when the roosters ride into to town and call in to visit. No, not really. It's not that sort of a hen house!

And here are a couple of the girls.

They look a bit scrawny and tattered because they're ex-battery hens. Hubby heard from one the neighbours that one of the egg farms sells their hens off for $5 when they're not 'producing as well as they should' ie, they drop down to an egg ever day or two rather than pumping out two eggs a day. We've been told that within a couple of months of space, food and care they'll be back to an egg a day and a couple of months after that they should have regrown their feathers and look a little more, um... attractive. In the meantime they're having a ball scratching in the dirt, pigging out on vegie scraps and exploring their pen.

And the kids are having a ball checking on the chooks every five minutes, reporting back to us on how the girls are doing and collecting the eggs. Because, despite them being considered 'past it' and 'poor layers' the six chooks have still pumped out five eggs each day. I'm hoping that means they aren't too traumatised and are loving their new home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Are My Children Different?

Posted by MANDI at 6:40 PM 2 comments
Let me count the ways!

They have always been polar opposites in looks but as their own characters form their other differences become more and more apparent too.

Most of the way through dinner tonight they asked "is there any dessert?" When told 'no' boy-child polished off his dinner because 'otherwise I'll still be hungry' while girl-child shrugged her shoulders and declared she was finished - she obviously saw no point in finishing the rest of her dinner if there was no sweet treat at the end.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gotta Love Holiday Time

Posted by MANDI at 9:48 PM 3 comments
We took a break from the house cleaning and chook pen building to pack a picnic morning tea, throw the canoe on top of the car and take the kids to the lake for the morning.

The kids played in the water, we all had a paddle on the lake, we pigged out on fruit, dip and vegie sticks and finished the last of the only-at-Christmas-coz-it's-special coloured popcorn. Then we paddled some more, played more, threw a tennis ball for the boy-child to catch in the water about three thousand times and finally all had an ice-cream from the cafe to top off a fun, relaxing and totally enjoyable family morning.

Here are some of the pics I did manage to get before my memory card was full. I really must remember to empty that thing - Offspring #2's ice-cream smile really should have been immortalised here too!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Posted by MANDI at 8:52 PM 4 comments
Yeah, I know. Such an original title. Here's a post of random flotsam and jetsam to get me back into the swing of all things bloggy.

We had a very quiet New Year's Eve - partly because I was still feeling a little under the weather and partly because we were just worn out after all the birthday/Christmas/Boxing Day celebrations. Did a bit of shopping with the kids in the afternoon - them spending their Christmas money and us getting as much of their school stuff as we could - then saw Happy Feet 2 (umm... don't bother) before picking up take-away noodles for dinner. Sparklers at 8.30 and kidlets tucked up into bed at 9pm. Lovely. Offspring #1 did kick up a bit of a fuss that he didn't get to stay up till midnight but we told him that 9pm here was midnight on the East coast (ie where his much loved, admired and adored Aunty Carmen lives) so he was in fact celebrating at midnight. And he bought it. Don't think I'll get away with that one next year.

I received lots of vouchers for my birthday and have had a lovely time spending them all about the place. I'll share some pics of my purchases later in the week - it's dark now and if I try to take any photos they'll only look yellow and crappy.

I've done a bit of research on kidney stones and diets that reduce their likelihood. OMG! Don't google stuff unless you want to be scared stupid people. But the main idea seems to be no salt, no dark cola (ie my lifeblood, the coca-da-cola), no chocolate and no potatoes. I know I need to look at it in more detail and will do so in the next little bit, and of course it's all worth it to not ever go through that pain again, but c'mon. Salt and chocolate are food groups as far as I'm concerned.

The ever clever hubby is being his usual ever clever self. He's in the midst of building the Taj Mahal of chook pens. This thing is enormous, a work of art and worthy of holding something way more exciting than four chookies. But, chookies it will hold. And hopefully by the end of the week too. Pics to come.

He was also very clever and fixed the bed when I broke it. Twice. No, I wasn't doing anything exciting but I did learn a valuable lesson. Sometimes you need to ask for help to move furniture. Otherwise it breaks. Twice. Luckily he's ever clever and fixed the broken weld (ummm, okay, both of them) and then put the bed back together before I could break it again.

The reason I needed to move the bed in the first place is because I've been on a cleaning frenzy. And no, not and OCD induced frenzy. This one is a good healthy "Gosh I'm sick of the mess and I need to make the house look like I want it to instead of an episode of Hoarders". I'm working through a room at a time, moving furniture, giving everything a good clean from skirting board to cornices and everything in between. The trailer is filling up with stuff that was either a) general clutter, b) things that serve no purpose whatsoever, c) broken stuff or d) all of the above. I have books for the second hand book store, things for the op shop, various bits and pieces to be returned and stuff to be donated. Tomorrow afternoon is the living room and, if there's enough time, both bathrooms.

And we're taking the kids on a picnic tomorrow morning. There will be water, sun, sand and me and my camera hoping to catch some gorgeous summer shots of the kids having fun.

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