Monday, July 30, 2012

My July

Some crochet time:

New projects started, works in progress and an appreciation of what I've achieved in a few short years.

In the kitchen:

Homemade bread, baking and just some delicious, fresh food.

Family time:

Movies, fires and marshmallows, and plenty of play time.

Appreciating my garden:

Finding that there's more in this small space than I realised.  What a delight!

July has been a bit of a hilly month.  I've fallen in a couple of holes but things are looking pretty up right now and I'm really looking forward to a wonderful August.

xx Susan

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Family time

This last week has been very much a time of recharging the batteries and trying to pull myself out of the fog that I found myself in.

It's been a difficult process but I'm feeling a thousand times better this week and everything's feeling not quite so overwhelming.

We've had lots of little moments together as a family during that time.

No major outing or big exciting events together, just precious moments snatched here and there among the other things going on in our lives.


Playing hide and seek, soccer, making a fire, toasting marshmallows....


...and helping daddy mow the lawn.

It's helped that I had the most wonderful day out with my sister.  We went to the shops but didn't really buy much, we just enjoyed chatting and spending some rare time together without kids in tow.

I've had another few moments too where family has helped out and it's really made a huge difference to how I'm feeling this week.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

xx Susan

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A new project

We had a lovely morning at my sister's for our weekly knit and natter on Wednesday.  It's been a few weeks since our last get together because of a few other things happening in our lives, so it was so lovely to have a chatty morning out.

I needed it and so did my little pirate boy.

I've still got a couple of projects on the go right now which means I just HAD to start something new.  Considering that I am sewing together squares for a blanket then I think I can be excused for beginning another one.

This time it's a cardigan from THIS book which I got for my birthday, and not a blanket.

Eeek, scarey, do I dare even start?

I bit the bullet and have finally gone into the territory of clothes.  My last attempt resulted in me pulling the garment apart after only a few rows because I realised that I had nowhere near enough yarn for that particular project and as it was discontinued, I couldn't get any more of it. 

  I decided that I'd better get on and make it now otherwise it'll be too hot to wear it soon which was a bit kick in the pants to do something.

I've also been lucky enough to have the chance to get quite a bit of it done uninterrupted today.  Little Miss R is at school and my Uncle and Sister took Master M away for the day to the movies and then some play time at my Uncle's house.

It's been a case of needing time out desperately as things have been really getting me down lately.

So for now I'm really enjoying my new project and am looking forward to hubby arriving home late tonight. 

Hope you're all having a great week.

xx Susan

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lets do some menu planning

It's taken me awhile but I've been inspired by my sister to do my menu planning a little differently.   I usually write it up on some A4 paper and then put it up somewhere in the kitchen so I can see it.

My sister inspired me to do the following though.  She printed out cute little cards which she then wrote different meals on and then could just stick them up on whichever day she wants to make that meal on.

I've cleaned off part of my fridge and used a whiteboard marker to rule it up.  Then I just wrote a heap of different meals out on coloured paper which  I then blue-tacked to the fridge.

I've done up a plan for two weeks at a time as that's what I find works best for me and I stick to it about 90% of the time and only change a couple of things around.  I decided to do only main meals at this stage as well as what I wish to bake for the week.

Drawing it up in white board marker means that I can put it on the fridge so I get to see it a lot during the day but I can also change the dates.  For me this is an important requirement as I need to know what date it is so I can mark on it if it's a day when hubby's home or away.

I really love cooking and I don't mind if it takes me a little longer than usual to make a meal.  I'll only do this when hubby's home to look after the kidlettes though as when he's not there it needs to be quick and easy meals otherwise my stress levels go through the roof.

I've colour co-ordinated types of food too.  Meat dishes on bright yellow,  seafood meals in purple, vegetarian dishes or soups in light green and chicken and pork dishes in bright green.

I've gone through my most used recipe books and written up meals, as well as favourites for the kids like bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potato).  I was given the below little fridge magnet years ago from my sister and I think it's fitting that it's not only from the person that inspired me to do this but that it also has room in the top of the bucket.

That means I can put lots of other little cards with meals written on them in it.  When I want to do my menu plan for the next couple of weeks  all I have to do is got through pantry, freezer and colour coded meals to work out just what I need to get at the grocery shop.  It certainly helps me stick to my $80 budget.

In the meantime, I have been getting a bit more crochet done.  Not a lot mind you but I should have something nice to show you a sneak peek of soon.

xx Susan

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday arvo

After weeks of grey skies and rain, the sun broke out on Sunday afternoon, the last day of the school holidays for us.

We were able to play outside without getting wet or without getting clothes so muddy that Mum has to soak them in a bucket for days.  (However I realise ANOTHER thing my darling son has wrecked lately is my bucket.  It has a crack in the bottom and slowly leaked water all over my laundry  That is better than completely flooding the bathroom like he did yesterday I suppose.)

The weeds and clover on the ground did cheer me up.  There's nothing like some sun shining on your weeds to make you realise that even they can look nice.

My girl decided she was the heroine from 'Brave' although I didn't mention that it was a bow and arrow and not a sword that was used.  I have no wish for a make shift bow and arrow to be made and then have broken windows from stray missiles.

We did have another visitor which fascinated the kidlettes.  Lucky I don't have a vege garden or it would be having a lovely feast.  It flew off just after I took this shot, probably looking for a neighbour with a nice vege garden since we have such slim pickings and noisy children.

Then late in the afternoon my son presented me with this lovely, bright crucifix orchard.  He gave it to me with a big hug and an 'I love you mummy'. 

It was another beautiful moment except for the fact that mummy had to then explain why he can't pick flowers from neighbours yards. 

I think I got through to him (especially as elderly gentleman neighbour got a bit cranky).

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend.

xx Susan

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An expensive, (but enjoyable) afternoon out

It was the last Friday of the school holidays, still raining and hubby's last full day before he goes back to work.

Considering with the amount of rain around we really haven't done much with the kids, hubby suggested we take them to the movies.

We have a few options withing 20 to 30 minutes of us so we decided to head up to Sunshine Plaza shopping centre (or Mall to my American friends) where there are plenty of shops as well as cinemas.

We had a few other things we needed to do so we got there a bit earlier and let the kids have a look around as well.  They were so fascinated that a creek actually ran through the middle of the shopping centre.

The above photo is looking one way with cafe's and restaurants to the left and the cinemas are over the bridge in the distance to the right.

The below photo is looking from one side of the centre over towards the Brasserie (or Food Court to most of us).

The fountain really got the kids excited.

And of course the bridge that we had to walk across a number of times.  Trust me, it does look a lot better when not dull and raining.

The object of our outing was to go to the movies though.  It was our first family outing ever to the movies so we decided to go and see Brave.

I didn't realise until I was buying the tickets that it was actually a 3D showing of Brave and I didn't know how everyone would go with that.  I shouldn't have worried, it went well as the kids thought they were so cool.

What wasn't cool was the price.  Tickets for 2 adults, 2 children and 2 boxes of popcorn got us only a few coins in change out of $100!

I was in such shock about the price, especially as that one outing has cost us more than my groceries do each week. (Yes, I'm still doing the grocery challenge).

We all loved the movie though even if there were a few scarey bits and we had kids sitting on laps for cuddles.  Master M kept kneeling on the floor and looking through the cracks between the two chairs in front but his first experience at the movies was a hit.

Now I just have to recover from the shock at the cost!

xx Susan

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thank goodness my dryer's fixed

A couple of days ago my dryer decided to make a bit of a clunking sound then burn the towels that were only trying to become nice, fluffy and dry for us.   It's amazing how one small piece of rubber belt has the potential to burn your house down but we're lucky that we have a safety mechanism on the dryer so I only had smoking, smelly towels to deal with.

It's now fixed and with all of this rain still around I'm very happy about that as it means I can actually get some things dry.

Then while I was grocery shopping today I saw some of the most absolutely beautiful looking salmon steaks on sale.  I LOVE fresh salmon but very rarely buy it because it's so expensive if you're wanting to feed a family.  In fact, I used to wait until lovely hubby was away on one of his work shifts and buy one piece for myself occasionally as a special treat.

At half price, I could get two huge pieces today.

It was so absolutely delicious, with just a little salt, pepper and lemon juice for a bit of extra flavour.  Not that it needs it as I think fresh salmon really has no need for extra flavour.

I knew Master M wouldn't like it and I wasn't even sure about hubby so I cooked up a couple of frozen crumbed fish fillets and some home made potato and sweet potato (kumara) chips.

Little Miss R ate all her salad, all her piece of salmon (which she shared with her father) and all of her sweet potato chips.  I'm not surprised as good stuff like that this kid will eat.

Master M ate his chips, some of his crumbed fish and declared that the salmon was 'yukky'.  That's not surprising either.

I'm now having a big craving for more fresh salmon although hubby declared that he really liked it.  Considering the price, I may have to just go back to buying it for myself when he's away.

Then again, I have a girl that will fight me to the last tiny mouthful of it and will then tell her father if we've had it and I wouldn't share.  Did I really encourage this girl to speak when a baby?  BAD DECISION!

xx Susan

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's making me happy today.

Crochet...of course. When the going gets tough, pick up a crochet needle, try to hide from the world and hook to your hearts content.  I would have been a LOT happier if I'd got more than two squares done (and only the cream section of them), but hey, 2 is better than doing none at all.

Even the dandelions in my backyard are making me happy right now.  What's not to love about these little spots of bright cheeriness sprinkled about your yard.  When your son picks a few to give to you presented with the most beautiful smile and a declaration of "I love you Mummy"... you can forgive almost anything. 

ALMOST I say because he has been a complete and utter TERROR over the last 4 or 5 days.  (It's amazing how these bright weeds can almost render pushing your mother to the complete brink).  Perhaps it's a male DNA thing.  They know how to drive you completely insane and yet the smallest, tiniest, almost insignificant thing can wipe all previous ills. 

Maybe it's just me and I'm weak....

A tasty plate of leftovers as a picnic in the lounge while watching a movie can lift everyone's spirits.

A visit from Grandad whom we haven't seen in awhile is definately cause for celebration and frivolity.  Oh how we love him!

(This is my father-in-law and not my dad.  We do LOVE Poppy with an absolute passion too but he lives only a couple of minutes away and not 7 hours like Grandad does right now - Grandad moves around cause of work quite a bit.)

...and Daddy is finally home.  Everyone is happy at this event, none more so than Mummy this week.  It's leftover soup and homemade bread for dinner.

I'm hoping for some really loving family time over the next few days before lovely hubby has to go back to work and I've got to deal with the whole back to school routine again.

Hope you're all having a great week.

xx Susan

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home time

The rain is back.

Which means my weeds are getting a good water and growing to the size of Triffids.

There's been lots of very important things to do.

Like counting the money in our money box to see if we have enough to go on holiday to Disneyland yet.
(This is a planned trip with Aunts, Uncles and cousins in 2017!)

Little Miss R had a special outing with Aunty Sandy to go see Ice Age 4 at the movies.  That was one excited little girl, especially as they were going out to lunch afterwards so she was feeling very grown up.

On such a cool and rainy day I just had to make some more of the yummy no knead bread.  The kids voted for soup and homemade bread for dinner and they were getting no argument from me.

Of course while Little Miss R was gone for most of the day, I got to spend time with my darling son........we are now friends again.

Lets hope he continues being delightful so that he gets his chance of going to the movies as well.

xx Susan

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

No knead bread revolution

I have no idea where I've been but the whole No Knead Bread thing really passed by me.   I'd never heard of it until this week and I've now joined all the others raving about this delicious home made bread.

Throw a few ingredients in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and let sit for around 18 hours or so.

I won't give you quantities or methods for this bread as it's on so many blogs and websites.  Go here and here for a couple of good ones.

Wrap the bread up in a floured tea towel for another couple of hours.

Pop in a hot Dutch Oven and cook for about 45 minutes.

Let sit for 1 hour and you have the most delicious, rustic, crusty outside with a beautiful soft, chewy inside.

So easy, no kneading (obviously) and you can add whatever you want to it.  I'm thinking of some cinnamon and fruit for a fruit loaf or even herbs and parmesan to enjoy with a nice thick minestrone soup.  Yum!

xx Susan

P.S.  Thanks for the comments yesterday.  The cry worked wonders and I'm handling things a little better today.  I'm really looking forward to hubby getting home Wednesday arvo though.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I love my boy, I really do

He's sweet, cheeky, funny.

He's still at that age where he gives his mum cuddles and kisses before telling her that he loves her.

He's in his element when digging in the dirt. 

...and for the last 24 hour he's been driving his mother past the point of insanity!

He's outside digging again which gives me a breather for awhile.  Time to make a coffee, sit and have a bloody good cry.

xx Susan

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sometimes I'm amazed at what I've achieved

A few short years ago, I had no idea how to crochet or even had any inclination to try it or any other thing a little crafty.

How our lives can change in such a short time really.  Things we used to do to fill our time now have no place or even meaning in our life anymore. 

For me, this time with hook and yarn has been a revelation and such a joyous journey.

I've loved looking at yarn and thinking of all the possibilities that the small piece of thread can create.  Just changing a stitch, or a colour can alter the work dramatically in some cases and seeing a finished product always makes me feel amazed and proud of just what I'm now doing.

This whole contemplation of yarn began this morning when I went to put some clothes away in the kidlettes room.  There on Little Miss R's bed was a blanket I had made, as well as her school scarf and beanie... all of which I made too.


I then wandered through the house and saw with new eyes my WELCOME  bunting.

I also have a little motif bunting which I see every time I walk out of my bedroom door but have got so used to it that I don't really SEE it anymore.  Shame!  It's lovely although I think I need to block it again and give it a good squirt with something starchy to make it not fold in on itself.

In the lounge room I found another couple of blankets, folded on the shelf and waiting to keep my family warm on cold nights or mornings when we snuggle up on the lounge.

Then I thought about all the other scarves, beanies and of course blankets that I have made over the past couple of years too.  Seven blankets given away to nieces and nephews last year kept me busy for many months.

I'm proud of just what I've achieved over the last few years and I'm still loving this craft so much that I can see it will continue to be a lifelong love.  My Grandmother's would both be proud of me I know.

I just now need to keep Master M away from my crochet basket so he doesn't unravel any more rows of the current scarf I'm making.  Not a happy Mummy!

xx Susan