Thursday, December 14, 2017

December...... so far

Somehow December seems to be sneaking past quite quickly. 
 
It started in a flurry of activity as the final days of the school year came and went.
 
Then we had lovely hubby's birthday which he was actually home to celebrate this year.  (Bought cakes though as I had been in a frenzy cooking a million mini Christmas cupcakes for class parties at school.  I just didn't have the time or energy to make a birthday cake as well.  Bad me...I know :) )
 
 
 
 
We have had a graduation.
 
Little Miss R has now finished primary school and is off to high school next year.
 
How on earth did that happen so fast!

 
 
I even got the chance to get a rare photo of my family.
 

 
 
The school holidays have been very homey so far as we haven't really had any outings. 
 
There have been sleepovers though with Cousin R coming to stay for a couple of nights. 
 
THAT has made it an extremely noisy house as three children chatting and getting excited constantly can make you want to walk around with ear plugs in most of the time.
 
I love the movie time snap of them all bundled up together and focused on the goings on in movie land.  So sweet.
 

 
 
There has been Christmas tree decorating. 
 
It all starts off with them carefully placing decorations and then when they start getting bored (which happens quite quickly), everything gets thrown on.  As a result it looks a bit like some creature has barfed up tinsel onto the tree!
 
We love it though and it's making the house nice and festive.
 

 
 
We've also put up the battery operated lights again which I bought last year. 
 
I really love this garland across the top of the tv cabinet.  There's something so magical about fairy lights and I find it quite extraordinary that a few little lights can bring so much happiness and content.
 

 
 
They also have a great practical side as we had a pretty huge storm whip through here on Saturday.  There was A LOT of damage not far from our home with a whole strip of trees uprooted, roads blocked, property damaged and power lines down over the roads and along the train lines. 
 
It was a mess and the clean up has been huge but we dodged the worst of it which was good.
 
We lost power for nearly 12 hours (others around town lost it for 24 or more hours) and luckily we had just finished dinner when it went out.  That's when the fairy lights came in handy as the kidlettes and I sat in the lounge room listening to the window rattling thunder and the bright flashes of lightning. 
 
There was also a game of Harry Potter trivial pursuit in which I got my butt whipped by Little Miss R.  I have come to realise that even though I've read the books years ago, I don't know a lot about the movies.

 
 
Another birthday has been celebrated.  This time it was my Mum's birthday and we all went out for lunch.  (no photos of this though).
 
Patch has been a bit sad lately too.
 
We don't seem to walk as often during the school holidays.  I know I should take the kidlettes with me, and I do sometimes when I think they need to get out more, but the walks are usually for me.  They're often my de-stress time and sometimes the only chance for quiet time I get.
 
Hubby's been home the last couple of days so we've had a happy Mum and a very happy dog.  I swear that he's had a smile on his face the whole time he's running and sniffing and piddling.  That dog squirts on everything.
 

 
We're nearly halfway through December and hubby goes back to work today.  He won't be back until just before Christmas so I'm going to have to work out what I need to do before Christmas and try and get organised and get things done soon.  That way I won't be in a panic and do things at the last minute when hubby gets home.
 
I may have to call on family to help out with the kidlettes and make a mad dash up the coast or somewhere.  We'll see.
 
I hope your December is going well and isn't too stressful.
 
xx Susan
 
 
 
 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Agnes Water and 1770... a night away

Last Friday we headed up to Agnes Water and 1770 for the night.  It's a bit of a drive for just one night but lovely hubby needed to pick something up from a mate and it was the only time we had.

The kids were happy to get out of school for the day so that was a bonus. 
 
 
 
 It was a bit of a drive up, mainly because we ended up making a few extra stops and detours.  One was to hubby's mate from work who lives on a farm out of Gin Gin.  The kids loved that as they got to feed the cows and stretch their legs.
 

 
 
 We made it in time for the kids to have a swim at the resort pool then we headed up to 1770 to watch the sun set over the water which is quite a novelty here in Queensland.
 

 
 
 The kidlettes explored the rock pools while the sun slowly made it's way down (they weren't interested in the sunset at all).


 
 
 There it goes....

 
 
 The next morning after breakfast we went for a walk along the beach.

 
 
 It was an absolutely gorgeous day so the kids enjoyed chasing the waves and a little bit of sea foam.

 
 
 

 
 
After out walk it was back to the resort for a swim before we had to check out.  I wish I had taken my togs too because that pool looked so inviting and refreshing.
 

 
 I made do with sitting in the shade (once I worked out how to open the umbrella) and read some of my book for awhile.
 

 
 
 We then had a brief look around the area, heading back up to 1770 to do a few walks around the headland.
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 It was really beautiful up there.
 

 
 
 All too soon it was time to head home.  Next time we'll make sure we stay a bit longer so that we can get out and about and see a bit more of the place.
 
I hope you're all having a great week.
 
xx Susan
 


Monday, November 13, 2017

Crafty bits

It's been really busy around here over the months and I've let a few things slide.
 
Housework is one but I only get worried about that if I have a visitor all of a sudden, and blogging has been the other. 
 
 I don't know if this post will be the start of many but I hope so.  I hope I remember to take photographs and make the time to blog because I do enjoy recording a little of our lives.
 
 
 
As I said, I've been busy.  So much seems to have been happening and there's been a lot of stress involved so I've found myself trying to alleviate some of the stress by decluttering and sewing.
 
I've decluttered A LOT!  It's felt so good to have a good clean out and to get rid of so much that we really didn't need.
 
My fabric stash needed a good declutter too and even though I did pass a lot of it on, I also decided to get rid of a lot of it by turning it into bags.

 
Christmas is coming up and I usually give the kids female teachers a shopping bag or two for their gift.  This year I'm giving out a few extras to other staff at the school for the extra support and help that we have needed throughout the year.

 
Some of the fabric made 2 or sometimes even 4 bags when I had only planned to make one.  Some have different linings depending on how much fabric I had but my stash is slowly dwindling. 
 
 I didn't want to leave bits and pieces of fabric still sitting on the shelves which is why I've ended up making so many bags.

 
I am now getting quite a stash of shopping bags though but that's okay.  They make nice gifts or hubby suggested I sell them as I think I already have about 15 made and another 8 cut out and ready to sew up.

 
I love the fact that they're all so different.

 
Some days I don't get the chance to sew anything.  Other days I may only get the handles sewn.  Then on other days I complete two or three bags.  It all depends what's going on at the time and I'm making sure I enjoy the process as this is my current de-stresser!

 
Little Miss R has been asking me again to make her a new blanket like her brothers but all in blue (her favourite colour).
 
 
I've still got some yarn left over from when I finished Master M's blanket but I will have to order more of other colours.  I may have to do that very soon and then I can work on her blanket over the school holidays and the Christmas break.
 
I'll let you know how that's progressing too.
 
xx Susan
 


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Holiday camping

A week or so ago was the September school holidays and lovely hubby took some time off so we could go camping.
 
We packed up two vehicles and off we drove.  Me in one towing the camper trailer and hubby in the other towing the boat.  We had one child each and Patch the dog was in his crate on the back of hubby's ute.  When you go on a family camping holiday you really can't leave the dog behind.
 
We went to Boondooma Dam which we have been to before but it's been a few years.  No other family members came with us this time, it was just our little family of hubby, the kidlettes and me. 
 
 It was lovely.
 
From late on the first afternoon we had the campfire going which pretty well ended up getting stoked up for every meal.  Our butane gas can stoves broke within the first 24 hours because their springs aren't very sturdy so it was back to the old fashioned fire to boil a billy to have a cuppa tea.
 
 

 
 
It was pretty dry and dusty where we were.  In fact it's been pretty dry and dusty everywhere with fire bans, crunchy brown grass and big patches of parched dirt everywhere.
 
The dam levels are really down from our last visit which turned into a bit of a positive for us.  Most people like to camp near the water so they can have their boats anchored near their campsites.
 

 
 
Being camped RIGHT NEXT to other people really doesn't appeal to us unless they're our family or friends.  We camped in the same place as last time and had no neighbours at all.  If you look in the middle of the next picture you will see our little camp right there in the middle of nothing. 
 
It's not that much of a walk down to the water and we were able to keep the boat down there the whole time we were camped as well as the kids kayaks.  We seriously had a whole huge amazing area to ourselves.
 
 
 
 
There's a bit of a walk to the top of the opposite hill up to the dam wall which the kids and I did one day.  They loved the walk there but decided it was a bit too long to have to go all the way back to camp again.  (Ice-cream bribery was involved and everyone made it just fine).
 

 
 
Patch came with us on our walk too and was a very grateful pooch that he was able to be a part of our family holidays too.  He did get a treat for walking all the way too but it wasn't ice-cream for him.
 

 

 
Not only were the kids bikes utilised a lot (perfect for a quick trip to the amenities when you camp a little further away from them), but the kayaks were used quite a bit too.
 
No electricity.  No computers.  No X-Box.  Just some old fashioned fun. 
 
Bikes.  Kayaks.  Tennis.  Reading.  Card Games.  Board Games. 
 
Hubby found out Master M has been learning to play chess at school so there was a lengthy chess tournament.
 

 
 
We taught Little Miss R to play Patience.  Most people would refer to it as the American name of Solitaire these days not the English version of Patience.  Once she realised that Poppy calls it Patience, that's the only way she will refer to it now.  She then played it A LOT!
 
 

 
We did catch a few Red Claw as well which is one of the main reasons we went camping at Boondooma Dam in the first place.  Unfortunately it was still a little cool (about 0 degrees celcius our second night there), and some decent pot fulls were still a few weeks away.
 
What we did catch was pretty tasty.
 

 
 
I cooked them very basically by keeping them in their half shell, brushing them with some garlic butter and cooking them on the hot plate on the campfire.  Bloody delicious is one of the best ways to describe them.
 
Time seemed to pass all too soon and next thing we knew we were packing up and coming home.  Lets hope we don't leave it so long before our next trip away.
 
xx Susan
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Time flies

This last school term seems to have flown by so fast and I can't believe we're already half way through the first week of the Winter school holidays already.
 
We've been busy.  I've been making myself do more things and get out more and we're all loving the results of this.  Sometimes it's not for long, just a little outing to get us out of the house.
 
I've also finally finished my picnic blanket which I sewed the top of a couple of years ago.  I just cut up squares of old jeans and pieces of fabric that I had left over from other projects and joined them all together.  It has been patiently waiting for a backing during all of that time and I ended up buying a dark blue sheet which I cut up and sewed onto the back.
 
It was used the day I finished it and a few times since.  It's the perfect size for us to sit on for a snack and me to crochet upon while the kidlettes go off and have some fun.
 
Then it goes straight in the washing machine when we get home to get ready for our next outing.
 
 
 
 
On weekends if I've decided there's been too much screen time, we'll grab a snack or buy something yummy from one of the local bakeries and head off to find somewhere to run off some energy.  Sometimes it's up to Maleny and Mary Cairncross Park, other times it's to Skippy Park or Pioneer Park which are our usual favourites.
 
We usually have something to eat, a play and a run and are home within  1 1/2 to 2 hours and much happier that we've done something, no matter how small it seems. 
 
 
 
 
There's also been more cooking by Little Miss R (with help from Mum).  She decided she wanted to make Crème Caramel which isn't something I've ever made but we gave it a go.  OMG!  It was incredible and really EASY.
 

 
 
The biggest problem we had was with the caramel as it didn't get cooked enough.  Not having ever made it or seen it being made I kept thinking I was burning it and there were a few other problems too.  As a result we ended up having more toffee in the bottom of the ramekins than caramel but there was enough to make it really good.

 
 
There's been other outings with specialist appointments for the kids up the coast which luckily turned out to be after school time and hubby was home.  We headed to Cotton Tree in Maroochydore for some fun in the playground and fish and chips by the water for dinner where we watched the sun set.
 
 
 
 
Of course there has also been Zoo time.  These school holidays they've got an obstacle course set up so we headed up late one afternoon when I decided we needed to get out for a bit. The kids really love the waterslide they had in the summer holidays so we decided to check this out.
 

 
 
A few times around this really got the heart pumping and the kids hot. 

 
 
They expelled a lot of energy, especially by the 5th and 6th times they went around so we all went home happy.

 
 
There was also a drive with hubby.  This was a spur of the moment drive on our way home from the shops and ended up being a little bit of an adventure.
 
We're not hard core 4WD enthusiasts but hubby took us on a track that he used to drive a lot with my brother when they would go hunting.  It's been really churned up from the weekend warriors over the past year or so.
 

 
 
Some parts were really muddy and other parts the road was hard and really gouged out.
 

 
 
We got through it all easily though and the kids were pretty excited about our spur of the moment drive.  I'm just glad we didn't get bogged.
 
I hope you're all having a great week. Hubby heads back to work tomorrow and I have an appointment today so I'm off to have a lovely day to myself.  I'm REALLY looking forward to this!
 
xx Susan
 
 
 


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Birthdays, cooking, kidlettes and eveything else in between

The last couple of weeks has seemed to have just whirled by.
 
I've had so many plans which haven't worked out that well but then we've had quite a few special family events and random things that have been really good.
 
First of all was a completely random late (school) afternoon trip down to Bribie Island.  It takes a little over half an hour to get there (more or less depending on taffic). 
 
 
This was also a lovely hubby suggestion and idea which is so extremely amazing because as much as I love this man,  he NEVER instigates ideas to do absolutely anything.  Every idea for outings, events, celebrations etc have to come from me so this was sort of an angel singing kind of moment.
 
 
 
 
The fact that we ended up having fish and chips (after he'd bought the blood worms for his fishing trip the next day - I knew that there had to be some kind of reason), watching a beautiful sunset over the mainland in the distance was so much of an unexpected added bonus. 
 
Then a couple of dolphins swam by which added to the extreme excitement of it all.  No photos of the dolphins sorry.  I was just as excited as the kids feeling like I had been 'let out' for the afternoon.
 
Anyway, it was really lovely and a couple of days later we celebrated my Uncle's 70th birthday with a lovely lunch out with the family.  I didn't even think to take a photo of the day as I was having such a good time.
 
The next day was Mother's Day and there's no photo's here either.  It was about the 2nd or 3rd time in a decade that lovely hubby was home for Mother's Day which meant that for an extremely rare occasion I could actually relax and enjoy myself.  (I've often said that Mother's Day is usually the busiest and most stressful day I have every year). 
 
 
I've also been doing some more cheese making.  Please turn your head to the side....
 

 
 
The editing of my photo way beyond me at the time, even if it was to give a quarter turn to a photo. 
 
What you see though is the process of making Haloumi cheese.
 
Yes I made it myself.  Yes it is incredibly yummy and awesome.
 
I blended a couple of people's recipes and ways of doing it and ended up doing what was best and easiest for me. 
 
Pressing it between something heavy (water filled milk containers on a baking tray and a cutting board worked a treat)....



 
 Then blanching and salting the final product made me pretty proud of what I had achieved.

 
 
Then there was the final drum roll and cooking of the Haloumi to see if it really turned out okay.  No matter how well you think you have done, it can all turn to pot if it tastes like crap. 
 

 
 
It was INCREDIBLE. 
 
Even Master M said that it tastes exactly like the shop bought cheese.
 
I also made some ricotta which is super easy and made a pretty incredible spinach and ricotta filling for some ravioli the kids and I made.
 

 
In between all of that we also celebrated my brother's birthday and then my birthday.  (One week in May is always a busy family time.)  Oh and lovely hubby was home for my birthday too which was just as miraculous as having him home for Mother's Day so it was a good week.
 
 ...and just to finish things off for the moment.  I've finally picked up the crochet hook for the first time in a couple of weeks and have started a new project with this lovely pure alpaca yarn I have.
 

 
 

I hope you are all having a lovely week.
 
xx Susan