Monday, 31 March 2008

Passing It On

Seeing as how I won't be planning a menu until I get back on Thursday, I'll skip my regular Monday Menu Plan post and pass on the 'You Cheer Me Up' award.

So...who to pass it on to! I read about 10 blogs very regularly and they ALL cheer me up LOL.

Here are the rules, firstly:

If you are a recipient of the You Cheer Me Up Award, please find the blogs that cheer you up, copy the code to post on your sidebar and pass Ethel and Lucy across the blogosphere. You can use what cheers you up in your post, or copy this one, but please send your award recipients back to the original post on A Nice Place In The Sun to get a copy of the award code, post the image and read the instructions. I want to try to maintain a page of original and ongoing award recipients, so feel free to let me know if you've received an award when you pick up the image code.

I'm going to pass the award onto two blogs that Kate didn't pick! :-P

Tina at Red Wellies, Rainbows and Cinnamon Whirls
Anna at Pleasant View Schoolhouse

Both of you make me smile with every single post, and give me a great deal of inspiration in all manner of ways.

PS Can someone tell me how to add the picture to my sidebar? I'm not sure which option I need to pick to the 'add a page element'. Thanks!!!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Sunny Sunday

No, it's not sunny here. It's meant to rain some more (YAY) so it's quite overcast and lovely and 'fresh' as my dh says. I call it cold ~ I think he's deluding himself into thinking it's not so bad. Either that or he truly doesn't feel it after all!

The reason my Sunday is sunny to me is that Kate has awarded me the 'You Cheer Me Up' award! Oh Sunday is radiantly, blindingly bright! Thank you so much Kate. It is very humbling for me to receive such an award. It was blogs like yours that inspired me to start my own!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I will definitely do some passing on, but it will need to wait until tomorrow, as I need to get us all ready and packed and out of the house by 8.30am ~ a mere hour away. I'll be spending the next few days with my Mum, but she has the internet at her place so I'll be able to hide myself away for a little bit here and there I'm sure!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Fridge...and other Holiday Happenings

I finally got to it. I meant to post yesterday but the day ran away from me, as you'll see in a tick.

Without further delay though, my fridge photos. I'm so glad Rhonda gave me the gentle push I needed! The fridge....ugh...see for yourself.

These first two photos show the state of the bottom of my fridge. You couldn't see how bad it was so I took a close up.-->

I'm embarrassed to say I think it's two years since I cleaned the bottom out. I even cleaned the seals and everything!

This is my cleaned out, cleaned up, uncluttered fridge. I now have TWO sections in the door that are completely empty. Who knew I had that much extra space LOL.

There you have it. Ever wanted to take a peek inside a typical Aussie home's fridge? Now you have!

The reason my day ran away with me? We had some school friends come for lunch. I made Singapore Noodles and we enjoyed the afternoon together. I'll post the recipe later today! I have to nick up the street for an appointment in 5 minutes, so I need to go NOW! LOL.

Editing to add the recipe:

Singapore Noodles

1 packet rice vermicelli noodles
3-4 lup chong Chinese sausages,
2 carrots, chopped into fine matchsticks
1 onion
snow peas (about a large handful)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons mild curry powder

Chop the sausage thinly, on the diagonal.
Cut the peeled onion in half and slice finely.
Slice the snow peas finely, also on the diagonal.
Soak noodles in a heat proof bowl, in boiling hot water.
Heat a little oil in a wok, or non stick pan on a high heat. (the wok works better, it's hotter)
Add the sausage and onions and saute until onions are soft. Add the carrots and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the snow peas. Saute for one minute and then add the curry powder and soy sauce.
Drain the noodles and add them. Toss everything so it is evenly mixed.
Serve with sweet chili sauce.

If you can get the Chinese sausage (even our Safeway has it in the Asian section, so they're not that hard to get!), then you could just omit that. It's not in the original recipe, but we like it!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Cleaning ... Guests ... Holidays

Picture by Melinda Byers from

I just love the school holidays. The days are long and unhurried. I have time to get some extra things done at home. The children spend hour upon hour playing and we are able to catch up with friends we don't see too often.

I think Rhonda must have been peeking in my Fridge, so I will be cleaning it some time today. I'll take a before and after photo and post it ~ mostly for her benefit....but I think I'll need to remind myself very soon that it was once Shiny! I also have a bathroom, toilet and laundry to clean before lunch time today. Tina has sufficiently inspired me with her post today. So much cleaning in so little time. There's hope for me yet!

The reason for my cleaning deadline? We have some precious friends coming for lunch and an afternoon play today. Miss Sunshine was in preschool and prep with the oldest daughter of this family, whom we met at Playgroup. Their second daughter is the same age as Miss Mischief, so while the older girls played at school, the younger two played together each week at playgroup and saw each other in the playground as we picked up children at the end of each day. At the end of Sunshine's Prep year we moved and so it has taken more effort to stay in touch, but the girls write letters through the term and we manage to spend a day together every few months. The 'other mum' also became a good friend during those years so we ALL enjoy the day. Even Mr Busy is included in the girl's fun!

Despite the rain yesterday the kids were out in the cubby house playing. Dh cleaned out the 'dungeon' (shed, under the house) and provided a dead microwave and breadmaker to their little pretend home. They just can't spend enough time out there! I'm hoping the weather will be fine enough for the five of them to play out there today.

Then again, we're enjoying the rain!!! The cubby is big enough and waterproof enough not to worry too much!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Made by Me

I posted the other day about what I would be baking. Here are my rhubarb muffins right out of the oven.

Of course, you can't share a yummy picture like that without also sharing the recipe! So Tina, just because you asked, here it is:

Rhubarb Muffins

125g butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups diced raw rhubarb

Preheat oven to 190C
Line muffin pan with patty pan papers, or grease holes well.
Cream butter and sugar together, add vanilla and egg and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift flour.
Add half the flour and have the milk to the butter mixture and mix well. Then add the remaining flour & milk and mix well again.
Fold the rhubarb through the mixture.
Spoon mixture into muffin pan.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
To serve, dust with icing sugar.

This mixture usually makes around 18 muffins. Yesterday I got 17 LOL.

And this. I'm VERY proud of this! It has taken me nine months, but I have finally finished my first ever hand-knitted garment! I picked this pattern for a cardigan because the body of the garment is just straight knitting. I figured if I got stuck on the lace I could hand it over to Mum ;-) As it turned out, the lace was pretty simple once Mum should me the 'k1,s1,k1,psso' bit!

I don't really enjoy knitting for the sake of it. I find it slow and tedious and much prefer to crochet, for the quick results. However, knitting a dying skill that I did not want to lose. My Grandmother is no longer able to knit and my Mum isn't getting any younger either. I decided that I should remind myself before Mum wasn't able or around to help me fix my mistakes! I now know how to do that and will probably seek to knit one thing a year and build on my teensy bit of knitting knowledge LOL.

I am now looking forward to the coming cooler days, being able to wear something warm and cosy with a skirt, that doesn't look as formal as a black jacket does.

I have to say....I'm VERY proud of myself.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Monday's Menu Plan...a day late again!

My Menu Plan ~ posted on the fridge

I really am a bit all over the place aren't I?! I kept thinking yesterday was Sunday, seeing as how it was a public holiday and dh was home!

My grand plans of baking were thwarted. I got the choc chip muffins baked and the rhubarb chopped and then Dh informed me he had invited some friends for dinner. PANIC!!! LOL. They ended up bringing some leftovers they had and I zipped up to buy a wombuk cabbage to make an Asian salad to go with what I had planned. It turned out wonderfully!

My plan for this week is as follows:

Monday: Zucchini Quiche, jacket potatoes, salads
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Chicken Scallopine, scallop potatoes, steamed vegies
Wednesday: Spinach & Feta Pie, vegies
Thursday: Sweet Apple Pork Chops (CP), mashed potatoes, carrots, beans
Friday: Meatloaf, steamed vegies
Saturday: Baked Potatoes, coleslaw, bacon, corn, sour cream & avocado toppings
Sunday: Will be with Mum, in Ballarat

I have to pass on the Asian Salad, even though I can't share a picture ~ it goes VERY fast!!!

1/2 wombuk (Chinese) cabbage (or you can use savoy cabbage)
6 spring onions
1 packet, Changs fried noodles
100g pinenuts, toasted
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 white sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
olive oil

Finely shred the cabbage and finely slice the spring onions and place in a large salad bowl.
Combine with the packet of noodles and the pinenuts.
Pour over the dressing and mix well.
To make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

The recipe says to use about 1/2 cup of oil as well but it's just too much. I usually just add a small slosh and that is plenty.

Here is a picture of the noodle packet

Monday, 24 March 2008

Baking Day

Picture from, by Lisa Audit

Today stretches out before us without any plans. A day like this is rare in our household. The children are watching ABC Kids and I have thoughts in my mind of what I will be baking today. After all, a day without anywhere to be should still be productive!

I think I'll bake some rhubarb muffins and some sour cream choc chip muffins. Miss Sunshine doesn't like biscuits (cookies) so I believe today will be the day I thrill her young heart! If I still have the baking bug after those are done I'll make some corn flake biscuits as well.

There are also some full clothes baskets so I think some washing is in order too. Perhaps if I put it on Dh will hang it out! After all, he has a bit of an obsession with washing clothes LOL. His week isn't perfect unless he's done at least one load, no matter how up to date I have kept everything.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Resurrection Sunday

Picture from

I love this picture. I read about the resurrection from John's Gospel this morning. Actually, I read all four, but I love John's the most. I love the interaction between Jesus and Mary.

Our children woke up this morning to a small selection of eggs, set at their places on our kitchen table. Mr Busy declared that he loves Easter Sunday. Interestingly, not because of the chocolate, but because Jesus rose again.

We had a wonderful service this morning at church. After Mr Busy's effort of Friday, he had a major attitude shift. I praised and thanked him afterwards for his wonderful behaviour and noted that I had seen him singing heartily.

We are going to enjoy a fine evening meal of roast lamb, roasted vegies, honey carrots, broccoli & cauliflower and then finish off with a chocolate tart served with ice cream. My FIL and his wife will join us for dinner. My piece of lamb was large enough to be able to invite them and it's been some time since we've had them up for a meal. We're looking forward to celebrating this meal with them.

I'm off to ready our home for guests and set the table.

Saturday, 22 March 2008


Picture from by Darren Baker

Today has been quieter, restful. After yesterday's hard work it was good to be able to not rush into the morning. Dh slept in ~ a rare and much longed for treat. The children and I had breakfast around 10am.

Of course, in this household of extroverts, it soon became obvious that a little outing would be a good idea. We took an umbrella down to one of dh's coffee clients for outside his cafe. Then we stopped by some friends' on the way home. The children played while adults chatted.

Now I'm waiting for the breadmaker to do it's job with the pizza dough. Dinner will be somewhat late, but the children are looking forward to a movie on TV and then to settle in and watch 'Better Homes & Gardens'. A good night to have a late dinner.

It has been a lovely slow, sunny day.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

This has been a rather unusual Good Friday in our home.

Firstly, we are actually at home. Normally we would go away for the long weekend (we get Friday-Monday as public holidays here).

Secondly, I took the children to church this morning. Because of being away, it is not something they have ever done on Good Friday before.
I especially enjoyed the opportunity to be in church this morning. It was a quiet reflective communion service. Although Mr Busy and I had words afterwards about his inappropriate behaviour to participating in some aspects of the service. The boy seems to have forgotten that we expect him to stand up with the rest of the congregation when we sing!!!

Thirdly, we have just returned home from helping some friends move out of their house. Dh has gone on the first truck up to their new home in the centre of Victoria to help unload and bring it back to Melbourne later today. I, and a number of other church ladies, spent the better part of the day cleaning. The task at this end is completed and our friends are on their way to their new home and a new church family.

I am about to head into my kitchen and get a batch of hot cross buns started so that we can enjoy them with our dinner this evening.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Equipping Children

My parents have just left to return home after spending two nights with us. Dad had to work on a plane about 1/2 hour from here so they stayed over. We love having these little times with them. We chatter unendingly until they hop in their car and drive off!

This morning over breakfast I ran a set of goals past Mum for her input to see if she felt I was being realistic and if there was anything to add. I want my children to be able to care for themselves and their own home well, with confidence. My brothers and I all left home at 19yo, so realistically, I need to prepare my children for this too!

Here are my goals for our children:

~ Be able to cook a cake without supervision by 11yo
~ Be able to cook an entire healthy meal without supervision by 13yo
~ Be responsible for their own laundry by 15yo
~ Begin learning to sew (with a sewing machine) from 12yo (this is a Grandma task...she'll teach, I'll supervise the practice at home)

The only other thing Mum suggested was to teach them the value of a housecleaning routine. For them that might look like a regular Saturday morning of washing their own sheets and tidying and vacuuming their rooms and so on.

Now that I know where I'm headed with this I feel more relaxed about 'getting my kids grown'. It doesn't seem so difficult now. I can focus on one child at a time with each goal. Even I can cope with this! I'm not gifted as being a teacher.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


We have a kumquat tree right outside the front door here at home. It is currently fruiting very nicely. So does one do with lots of kumquats on a really hot day? Why, you make microwave kumquat marmalade, of course!

I also used some to make a citrus drink to take out for lunch on Monday. That was just 3/4 cup of citrus juice (I used lemon and kumquat), 3/4 cup sugar. Dissolve the sugar. Add the sugar syrup, citrus juice to a 2 litre jug and top up with cold water. Serve when chilled. VERY refreshing!

PS. I apologise for the dust on the table. OMGoodness I didn't realise it was there til I looked at the photo!!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Monday's Menu Plan

Picture from by Keith Thompson

I'm finding menu planning just a little bit tricky at the moment. I had it all planned, and then the weather went wacky. We ate out a couple of nights last week due to a couple of things happening unexpectedly. Don't you just hate that! This week, the weather is meant to cool considerably from tomorrow and my parents will be here for two nights so that Dad can do some work with the MAF plane based not far from here.

So, here's this week's plan:

Monday: That's today....not sure yet :(
Tuesday: Chow Mein (Asian style...not the Aussie version ~ blech)
Wednesday: Honey Soy Chicken, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Thursday: Zucchini Quiche, salad, wedges
Friday: Baked Herb Ricotta with salad and something starchy...maybe dinner rolls?
Saturday: Homemade Pizzas
Sunday: Lamb ~ either roast or chops, accompaniments will depend on which one I do!

I'll be making hot cross buns on Friday and we'll have a chocolate tart for dessert on Sunday. I also have a long baking list of things I'd like to have made over this week to pop into the freezer. Corn flake bikkies, sour cream choc chip muffins, rhubarb muffins etc etc.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Titus 2, Proverbs 31and Deuteronomy

I have two issues I'm trying to sort my way through, and I need for both of them to have been satisfactorily resolved by the time my children return to school for Term 2, in mid April.
The issues are:
* How much time do I spend at school in classrooms?
* Should my children be in church, or out in Sunday School?

Titus 2 tells us that women should be busy at home/keepers at home/homemakers/work in their homes/workers at home...depending on the translation you pick. In any case, I take from that, that women should be diligent in their tasks at home, caring for their dwelling and those who live within its walls. Proverbs 31 talks about this same diligence in caring for the home, family and maidservants (ie. whoever lives within the household). However, this passage also talks about other pursuits outside the home, also taking these things on with great diligence and commitment.

Part of the reason I spend so much time at school (6 contact hours) is that we have been given very generous fee relief, and so I feel it only proper that I should put in time (which as a SAHM, I have) in appreciation for their generosity. The other part of the reason is that I want to be involved in my children's education in a practical way. Homeschooling, while I admire it, is not something I believe that God has called us to. I am NOT gifted as a teacher! The other day our Head of Primary asked me to consider taking on some extra time in Mr Busy's classroom, as the class is quite large, by our school's standards. In doing so I would be bringing my contact time up to 8 hours a week. My dilemma is that while I would be committed to that and ensure that I am there when I promise to be there, I know that I will struggle to keep up with things at home. I am not a highly energetic or driven person. I like a quieter, gentler pace. I am trying to figure out how to be equally diligent in my work at home, and my commitment to help at school, knowing that come May, I will be facilitating a parenting course 2 hours per week as well.

The second issue I'm working through concerns our children's Sunday morning program at church. 'We' are trialling a new timing structure, where the children don't come into church at all, but go straight to their activities. We were told this would allow for extra time to build relationships between the kids and so that they could have their own 'worship' time that would be 'more appropriate' for their age group.

I can't tell you how I have wrestled with this issue, just on its own merits. I don't mind the kids going off for teaching that is aimed at their young minds. But I was not convinced that children just watch the grown ups worship. Mine certainly participated of their own accord. Not only that but this is one area in which I AM able to teach my children!!! I highly value being able to pass on my spiritual heritage and values onto my children and help them to also value being part of the family of God in a corporate way.

At a recent parent's meeting we were told that they hadn't really been able to do the worship part of the kids program, because they just don't have time. WHAT? My children are having NO opportunity to spend time giving their praise to God? They also presented this year's theme: Gr8 M8 08. Great Mate '08. Yeah...ummmm...not so sure I want my children being taught that God is just a great mate. We're talking about the Lord God Almighty. Not just a good buddy.

I am certain that our Youth and Children's Pastor's heart is in the right place and his intentions are good. But I feel heavy and sad every time I send my children off before we even get in the door. Deuteronomy tell us to 'impress' God's ways and truths on our children. I have always felt that it was parents being exhorted to be doing the teaching and impressing.

I know that there a just a few of you who stop by and read my blog, but I would just love it if you would be willing to share with me your wisdom, as I pray through these things and ask God to direct my ways. Right now I just feel very very uptight about both!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Just so you know...

I don't enjoy summer. As of 90 minutes ago it was 38.3C in Melbourne. It's 30C inside my house. I know I should be glad it's cooler inside, but quite frankly I'm melting. And I'm surprised it hasn't rained. I watered my vegies this morning. It always rains after I've watered LOL.

I stopped by Safeway after school and picked up a cooked chook and we'll have that with salad ~ no cooking. Since dh was with us we also bought ice cream. A never-to-be-bought item, normally. But the heat melted my brain and I succumbed! This is why dh is such a great sales man. He convinces people to spend money. I told him after 20 years I should have become immune to his ways, but again....I'm blaming the heat. We're both off the hook that way!

The bright spot? I have book club tonight, and the venue is in a friend's home...who has cooling. Am I hanging out to get there, or what?! I'm not planning to come home til midnight. Maybe. If it's cool enough to step outside! Just kidding. I will come home, but I'll enjoy the cool while I can!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Who Am I?

Oh don't worry ~ I KNOW who I am! LOL But I was thinking yesterday that the few of you who stop by here regularly might want to know what makes me tick and what has happened in my life to make me the person I am today!

I was born in Queensland while my Dad was working there doing his National Service. But essentially I label myself an MK. A Missionary Kid. After having a fairly ordinary start in life and gaining two brothers (I'm the oldest in my family) we moved to Papua New Guinea, the year I turned nine. My Dad was/is an aircraft engineer with Mission Aviation Fellowship.

We spent one year in Mt Hagen. We had a fairly easy transition. On the road we lived on, two houses up was a family that were from our church in Melbourne, who had been with MAF for as long as I could remember. Six houses down, there was another family from our church who were doing a 6 month relieving job, also with MAF. So I knew other kids and other grown up's. After a year we moved to Wewak. I know my parents didn't want to go there, but that was the best 5 years we ever had I think. And even they would admit that too!

All things considered, life for us was pretty normal. Dad went to work and fixed planes. Mum was a SAHM and we kids went to school. I LOVED living in PNG and I hold very clear and strong memories from that time.

I was 14 (nearly 15) when we returned to Australia. That was devastating. None of us wanted to come back, but when God says it's time, it's time. We spent a good three years not coping with 're-entry'. And it happened at a time when Reverse Culture Shock was only *just* being talked about. Certainly there was no understanding of the need for de-briefing or needing help to re-settle. All I know is that the kids that had been my best friends before leaving felt very shallow to me and valued all sorts of things that I considered quite trivial. None of my church friends appeared to have a faith that led their lives ~ it appeared to me to be a side issue. Had I known then what I know now I would've chose to continue doing correspondence at home (I'd done it at school for three years in high school in PNG). But I didn't know ~ none of us did.

Not long after coming home, I started going out with my now-husband. He was my rock. I don't know how I would've gotten through those years without him. I don't know why he married me ~ or maybe he figured he'd seen the worst and it wasn't that bad really LOL. We married when I was nearly 20yo, after a 5 year relationship.

So here I am 21 years later. I have all my childhood dreams fulfilled: a husband, a home, my own children and I'm a SAHM. My life is as I love it. I have a heart for mission, but don't necessarily see us moving overseas. However, being an MK in PNG has made me who I am, and I am so grateful that I was born into a family that has lived a life of faith in action.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

It's beautifully sunny and just nicely warm. Typical Melbournian meterologists got it a little bit wrong ~ but I'm sooooo not complaining!

I had Bible Study this morning. The leaders must have spent some time praying for the music. When I got there two of the tunes I had practiced were the wrong ones! The two hymns were unfamiliar to me, so I figured I just had to learn them! Fortunately one of the alternative tunes was familiar. Talk about panic the pianist! It turned out fine and I had it all figured out by the time I needed it done by. Strangely, I also didn't get nervous this morning. Very odd. However, after 21 years of playing the piano in church it's nice to finally experience that LOL.

I drove straight from Bible Study to school and helped a friend prepare and serve dessert for the staff at lunch time. They celebrate each month's birthday's with a dessert day and a good friend of mine takes care of it. She does all the hard work really, I just have the fun of serving all our wonderful staff! Miss Sunshine's teacher took a seat and we had a nice chat about nothing in particular. It's nice to have a friendship beyond parent-teacher roles! He is an absolutely lovely man. Dh & I are very pleased to have him teaching our Miss Sunshine.

Not an incredibly inspiring post for today I'm afraid, however, life it was what happens in our 'ordinary'. And this is today's ordinary in my life. I have to say, I LOVE my ordinary. I'm incredibly grateful that I have the time to spend chatting over dessert with the precious men and women who educate my children!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tuesday's Catch Up

I really do feel like I'm a tad behind! However, I have managed to practice the hymns for tomorrow's bible study class and prepare some music for pre-class and mid class periods where it's required. I've cleaned my bathroom floor, thanks to some inspiration from homemaking blogs. I've been looking at that floor for two weeks and felt annoyed by it but never seemed to find 10 minutes to clean it. Now it's done. I don't know why I kept putting it off, really. I mean, isn't that the whole point of my being at home ~ to do the work that goes with being at home. Silly silly me!

Now on to my Menu Plan, which I usually post on Monday's. Here's what it looked like when I planned it two weeks ago:

Monday: Sticky Chili Pork Ribs, brown rice, stir fried vegies
Tuesday: Zucchini Fritters, potato wedges, steamed vegies
Wednesday: Chicken Parmigana, vegies (will make salad)
Thursday: Macaroni Cheese
Friday: Vegetable Lasanga, garlic bread, salad
Saturday: Zucchini soup, homemade dinner rolls
Sunday: Tuna & Rice

I did the zucchini fritters last night & will swap with the pork ribs for tonight. I'm ditching Friday to Sunday. Those meals all require the oven and it will be over 35C on each of those days, according to the current forecast. So...what will we eat instead? Good question!!!

Friday: Honey Soy Lamb Rissoles (bbq), tossed salad, bbq'd potato cubes
Saturday: Cold Meat (maybe a chook), Sunshine Coleslaw, tinned corn, homegrown tomatoes
Sunday: I'm still thinking. I might swap my jacket potatoes meal from the 29th.

Monday, 10 March 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Craig's Hut ~ The Snowy Mountains

We had a fabulous weekend. We were able to catch up with almost an entire family that my dh and I had grown up with in our childhood church, plus their various mutual friends. We spend a lot of time with the youngest son and his family, as they are my age, and our children are within months of each other. We have a long shared history and enjoy the time we spend together now as adults.

There were 20 children between us all, aged from 14yo to toddlers. They all played fabulously together, and of course, Mr Busy made friends with kids from other tents! The girls enjoyed the opportunity to test their new tent out for real and enjoyed themselves immensely.

The weather was perfect for camping. Sunny, warm, cool evenings to revive us. We enjoyed bbq's and salad sandwiches...and lots of homemade goodies! The children enjoyed the beach ~ I managed to avoid it. I don't enjoy the beach so much so I was happy to take the time to have a little nap each afternoon ;-)

It's nice to be home. I'm going to enjoy sleeping in my own bed, and having my own bathroom just three steps away!

Tomorrow I will post my menu. It needs tweaking to suit the 30-35C days predicted for the rest of the week. It was 39C today...and I felt every degree of it!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Off Again

It's Labour Day on Monday, in our State. Which means a long weekend. We'll be taking our 'home away from home' to enjoy some time with some old family friends. The couple who invited us were kids my husband and I played with in our childhood. Now our children play together :)

So we'll be off enjoying the Sun, surf and sand .... well, not so much the sand, but you know! What I mean to say is, once I've finished madly baking, checking kids clothes (Miss Sunshine was going to take 3 tops and one very short pair of shorts *sigh*) and madly packing everything into the caravan...and picking up kids from school.....THEN we'll be off. And I'll sleep in the car!!!!!

I look forward to catching up with all my blogging friends when I get back. I know I'll miss catching up with you each day!

Off to take scones out of the oven and keep packing....

Thursday, 6 March 2008

On Being at Home

Today I am feeling incredibly blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home-mum. This has always been my 'dream job'. I've never taken it for granted, and yet it is good to be reminded to truly appreciate it.

We don't have lots of things. We'll not be able to eat out whenever we want or even give our children music lessons in the foreseeable future. Wardrobes full of brand new, never-been-worn clothes are something we may long dream about. Expensive holidays in exotic locations are but a fantasy. But we have everything we need, and a number of wants besides. Would I swap my long list of what we don't have for what I do have? Not in a million years.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Chickpea and Mango Salad

I decided to splurge a little on the way home, while I was doing my fresh food shopping today. Mangoes are on their way out of season so I won't be able to enjoy this meal for much longer so I spent $1.49 and bought one to make this salad for my lunch. It's very simple, quick to make and absolutely divine to eat!

Chickpea and Mango Salad
serves 2 as a light meal, or 4 as a meal accompaniment

1 tin (400g) chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 mango, peeled & diced
1/2 small red onion, peeled & finely sliced
100g feta cheese (I like Danish best)
a few fresh basil leaves, torn
a little drizzle of olive oil (I use extra virgin)

Combine all the ingredients and mix.
Serve and enjoy.

See, I told you it was simple! I was dubious about this the first time I had it because chickpeas can be a little bit bland and the texture dry, but with the mango and olive oil they really come alive.

I am 'well built'. I'd like to be less well built ~ at least within the healthy BMI. I know now that I need to be very careful about how much bread and other flour products I have in my daily diet, so this salad is the perfect thing for me to eat for lunch while trying to limit having bread. The chickpeas give me both protein and a good source of carbohydrate so that I don't feel the need to eat the chair legs out of desperate hunger in a couple of hours.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Thank You Tina!

I got a parcel in the mail yesterday afternoon from Tina at Red Wellies, Rainbows and Cinnamon Whirls. How incredibly exciting when Mr Busy handed me the mail!!!! Here is the very pretty present inside the package.

And here is what was in there. I had it on within an hour ready to cook dinner!
I had admired the apron when Tina posted a picture of it on her blog. She very quickly assured me that I should definitely have it! So Tina, my tongue-in-cheek comment that if you should find your apron missing it would have found its way to my house is really very true! It DID find its way to my house and I just adore it. It is pretty and comfortable and it even smells really good!

Thank you so very much. I will think of you and your beautiful generous spirit whenever I wear it (which will be often!).

PS. I also learned how to turn the flash off, on my camera. Would've never known that unless I'd needed to take a photo of myself without anyone else in the house!

Monday, 3 March 2008

It's Menu Monday Again!

Picture by Deborah Chabrian from

I was just sitting here wondering what on earth I might dig out of my fog fuddled brain to post about and remembered it was Monday. Menu plan day. Whew...I have some time to find the Sunshine in my head! Here's this week's plan:

Monday: Glazed Chinese Chicken, brown rice and stir fried vegies
Tuesday: Zucchini Quiche, potato wedges and salad
Wednesday: Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni, mixed vegies with cheese sauce
Thursday: Pasta bolognaise
Friday: Hamburgers
Saturday: Chicken wings and salad or vegies
Sunday: Roast (whatever I get on sale, potatoes, steamed vegies

I think all the yummy treats I had over the weekend need to be completely curtailed this week! I haven't woken up feeling this foggy in quite a while. But today I feel very tired and unable to get my thoughts working at all. Apparently limiting the amount of sugar and wheat in my diet had more positive side effects than the one I was after!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

40th Anniversary

Picture by Kim Klassen from

I have just returned from a family trip to stay with my parents for the weekend. It just so happened that today is their 40th Wedding Anniversary.

My youngest brother's family and my family both spent the entire weekend with Mum & Dad at their home near Ballarat. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. My brother's daughter is nearly 2yo, so my children thought that was just wonderful...someone to fuss over! My girls slept in their new 3 man tent in the backyard and were kept awake (apparently!) by the noisy sheep!!! So much so that Miss Mischief had a snooze on the couch with her Daddy this arvo after a picnic lunch at the park. She never sleeps in the afternoon, usually! It was a really enjoyable weekend relaxing together and enjoying the opportunity to share a home again, even though our family has expanded somewhat since we last lived under the one roof!

My middle brother came up for the day today with their little nearly-2yo son, so we had the opportunity to spend some time with them too. Enjoying the sunshine and laughter and educating my newest SIL with things that my brother seems to have forgotten about his childhood! Like the fact that we'd lived in Ballarat for 7 weeks before heading off to PNG, late in 1979.