Wednesday, 29 April 2020

The slow turning of the days

Is anyone else forgetting what day it is and finding the days seem to be trundling along at a slower pace than usual?  It isn't a bad thing as I'm loving the slow rhythm of our lives right now.

I also know how very blessed and fortunate we are as hubby is still able to work and we're not suffering the stresses that so many others are currently feeling.  We're learning not to take our life for granted.

Ours days are gently meandering along following a very loose routine.  The week hubby is home, Patch and I get to go for our usual morning, hour long walk where he can run off lead, sniff and piddle on nearly every blade of grass and find very smelly, muddy drains and creeks to play in.

The track is so overgrown and in some places the grass is taller than me but we love this spot and are hoping the grass may die down a little with winter on the way.  I hope so because I won't be looking forward to snake season around August if it's still overgrown like this.

School still trundles along at our own pace.  It's a bit hit and miss each day but I'm not letting it bother me as the kids are still learning and we're embracing the extra family time.

Many evenings, weather permitting, when hubby is home, we are enjoying a backyard fire.

I can sit there for hours watching the flames and it's nice to be outside, glass of wine (or cup of tea) in hand enjoying our time together.  

Everyone seems to come and go, doing their own things, then enjoying the fire for awhile before going back to doing their own things again.  I'm loving some of the conversations I've been having with the kids too and learning a few more things about what makes them tick.

Patch is usually my constant companion when I'm out there and refuses to go inside until I do.  He's good company as he doesn't chatter or say much at all :)

There have been times when we've had dinner by the fire and we're even contemplating getting the camp oven out to cook something one night and make it feel a bit like we're camping.  Toasted marshmallows have been torched and devoured for dessert on the odd occasion.

Hubby heads back to work tomorrow for another week so there's usually no fires when he's gone.  I'm pretty hopeless at keeping them going so we usually only enjoy them the weeks he's home.

That means it will be more snuggle time with the kids of an evening.  They like to do their own thing most nights but if they can agree on a movie we'll all watch that together although that's pretty rare.  

What we've found to work better is to have a one on one movie night with Mum about once a week.  

Whoever's turn it is gets to choose the movie and we snuggle up in my bed watching it then the next night it's the other child's turn to choose the movie and have snuggle time.  It's saving arguments and it also gives the kids a chance to have that one on one time with me that's been a bit difficult to find these days.

Patch and I are also slowly working out a routine for our walks when hubby's not home either.  We don't go for our big walk but he does get shorter walks each day.  Once school goes back we can adjust our routine again but for now he's still happy he's getting out and about.

I hope you all are safe and well and enjoying your week.

xx Susan

Thursday, 23 April 2020

A little Crochet time

During this time when we're all cooped up in the house, I have been able to get a few crafty things done.

I had been sewing quite a bit but have no photos to show you what I was in the process of making.  All of that ground to a halt once the kids were home with me each day as where I sew is in a section of our living room.  That is mainly the kids domain when they're home and I found the constant interruptions when I was trying to concentrate on sewing a bit of a pain.  In the end I packed the sewing things away until they go back to school.

So it's back to my favourite craft of crochet and using up what's in my stash.

I found a lovely, easy pattern on the Annie Design Crochet website for a scarf.  I loved the asymmetrical design and the fact that you only need to tie in two ends, one at the beginning and one at the end.  That's always a bonus!

In fact, I enjoyed making it so much that I ferreted through my stash to find some more yarn that I thought would look lovely in the pattern.  I'm loving making this one too and I suppose all we need now is some cooler weather so I can wear them although I'm not holding my breath for that to happen any time soon in my neck of the woods.

I don't think I've shown you another version of my Venetian shawl either.  I made this months ago in a silk/alpaca blend and it's really soft and drapes beautifully.  The photos don't do the colour justice but it's a really lovely, silky olive green.

I've also been busy making some face scrubbies so that I can use fresh ones each day then pop them in the washing machine each week.  They're much nicer to use than cotton pads and I love that I can re-use them.

More wash cloths have been flying off the hook too.  I'm trying to use up my cotton scraps which is why I've been making scrubbies and wash cloths.  I love using things I've made myself and they also make great little gifts.

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

xx Susan

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Staying at home

Staying at home is nothing new for us.  In fact our current circumstances feel a bit like a usual weekend so we're dealing with it all fairly well here.

For the record, we're not in lockdown right now but there are a lot of restrictions in place.  In Australia, we have the advantage of seeing what's happened in the rest of the world and can get a head start on self-isolating and putting into place many of the practices other countries have been using.

I'm also trying to get as many walks in with Patch as I can, while I can.  Where we go is quite isolated (and very overgrown right now) so we've been happily enjoying our walks when we get the chance to have them.  Not only has it been wonderful walking in the fresh air for an hour but it's giving us a bit of a break from a constantly full and relatively small house.  I've been loving how many butterflies and dragonflies have been flying about when we walk.  There's so many of them and just a small thing like that can lift the spirits.

Today is also the first day of the school holidays but the kids have been off school for the last week and a half.  They made the school's here in Queensland student free for the last week of Term 1 for all except Health workers and others who need the support of the school's right now.  Hubby and I made the decision to take our kids out earlier as it didn't make sense to us when the government kept saying to social distance, only be in small groups etc and then said it's still safe to send all our kids to school.

Six months ago I would have freaked out at the thought of having the kids home and home schooling for a time.  After doing just that with Master M for most of the school year so far, I knew I could cope with it.  That's not to say I'm a great home schooling Mum.  In fact I'm completely crap at it as I learned very early on with Master M that I'm no teacher.

We just do the few tasks the kids have been set by their teacher and puddle along with other things.  If they're still home in Term 2 then things will have to change and I'll have to get with the program a bit more but the one thing I won't be doing is putting pressure on myself or the kids.

We have been baking.  They both love to help out with that and really enjoy it when they do cooking at school so we're trying to schedule that into our weeks as that's something I can handle.  We've made muffins and cakes but the main thing that Miss R wants to make and help with are dog biscuits for Patch.

They're really easy to make and since we don't have a dog bone biscuit cutter, he gets a tub full of hearts and stars.  It's a little embarrassing how excited he gets and how much drool lands on the floor when he knows he's getting one of these treats (or two depending on who is sneaking them to him).

They also freeze well so we keep enough out for 3 or 4 days worth and pop the rest in the freezer.  They go really mouldy quickly in our humidity so it's best to get out just a few at a time.

This is the recipe we use.

Dog Biscuits (Cookies)

2 cups Self Raising Flour (or 2 cups Plain/All purpose flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs

Mix together with enough water to form a dough.  You'll need about 1/4 cup of water which I add about half first then about a tablespoon at a time until I get a dough consistency.  Roll out until the dough is about 1cm thick then cut out with whatever shapes you have and place on a baking tray.

Bake in a 180 C (375F) oven for 20 minutes.  Once cool watch them be devoured!

We have also been doing jigsaws.  For some reason we usually only ever seem to do jigsaws at Christmas time but I was de-cluttering the games cupboard the other day and found a few I had forgotten we had.

I always do my jigsaws on artists canvas which you can get from craft stores or many of the bargain stores around the place.  They're light and non-slip so the pieces don't slide off.

Most of the day the jigsaw sits on the dining table because you have to walk past it to get to anywhere in our house really.  So we just put in a piece or two as we're walking past then at meal times it's easy to pick up the canvas and move it to a coffee table or sit it on a bed without worrying about pieces falling off.

We're up to our third puzzle now and have a bit of a pile to get through so we'll happily chug along getting them done one piece at a time.

I've been doing plenty of crochet too but have just realised I have no photos of any of it.  I'll have to fix that over the next few days and give you a bit of a crafty update.

Until then my friends, stay safe and find some little bit of peace in your day if you can.  Patch and I are enjoying quiet moments outside after dinner.  The evenings have been beautiful and I'll head out there with a cup of tea (or wine if it's been that kind of day) and we just watch the amazingly clear night skies of late.  It's been a tonic.

xx Susan

Monday, 24 February 2020

Keeping busy

One thing I seem to be doing more of while we're still tweaking our new home schedule is craft.  Not just crochet but plenty of sewing as well and I'm really loving it.

I started to sort through my stash of fabric and decided to make more shopping bags as I really enjoy making them.  I also sold some of them just before Christmas as someone I had gifted some to wanted to purchase a few for Christmas gifts of their own.

So while Master M is doing some school work, I cut, pin, sew and press and keep myself occupied making bags.  While doing it I'm right on hand to help him and keep him on track too which is working out well.

The best thing is that I'm using up my stash and also selling some which is very gratifying.

As well as going through my fabric stash, I've been having a clean out of my yarn as well.  I've got a couple of scarves made in recent months which I don't think I've posted about yet so I'll have to go back a bit further in my photos to see if I can find some to show you.

Since it's been such a long hot and humid summer, working with wool hasn't really appealed so I've piled up all of my cotton and have been making dish and wash cloths.

The ones I use everyday were looking a little worse for wear so new ones have been much needed.  Very few of them are the same size since I'm using up all the tiny leftover bits that I'm never quite sure what to do with.

Even if I'm only making a half size one, I've been finding a great use for them and can whip one up in an hour, sometimes less if there's not much cotton.  They've also been a great small project when we're 'in school' too.

I admit that I did try my hand at amigurumi since I had so many small balls of cotton but I have to say that I really don't think I have the patience for it.  I love the end result but find all the bits and pieces that need joining together too fiddly so I'm not sure if I'll be doing much more of that in the future.

Enjoy your week!

xx Susan

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Miss R has a new bed

We have FINALLY put Miss R's new bed together after it sat in boxes in our hallway for weeks.

Her old bed was in the most horrendous condition and this time she got to choose which bed she wanted from what was on offer at IKEA.

She chose one of the day beds which has storage and a second bed can be extended as well.

She absolutely LOVES it!

I absolutely love the fact that I no longer bump into boxes when I'm checking on the kids at night!

I'm also hoping to slowly catch up with blogging and visiting my blog friends soon.

Anyone who has visited me recently will know that Master M has started High School and the last 6 - 12 months especially have been a bit stressful for him.  

He's also only going to school for one hour a day for now so we're really adjusting to things and trying new routines to see what's going to work best for us.  Well best for me anyway since it's my days that have just completely changed.

We're slowly getting there and I'm starting to feel like things are getting back on a more even keel so hopefully I'll be here a bit more in the future.

Until then, I hope you are all well and I look forward to catching up with my friends soon.

xx Susan

(P.S.  Yes, hubby and I are still married after putting the bed together!  :)  

Thursday, 16 January 2020

January... so far

I hadn't meant to go AWOL for so long but somehow I found myself flitting about, doing a multitude of things and realised I'd hardly turned my computer on in weeks.  It was quite refreshing actually and has helped me begin the year in a reasonably relaxed mode.

I have also been decluttering like a bit of a fiend.

I rarely make resolutions for the New Year but I've found that watching so many people in this beautiful country of ours lose everything in the horrific bushfires made me take stock of the clutter in our house.  I really looked at what we have and realise that we really don't need half of it.  So I've started 2020 with a fresh outlook and have been decluttering on a bit of a grand scale.

It's been quite uplifting and cleansing but I'm breaking it down into small areas and just doing a bit each day so I don't burn myself out and then stop completely because it all becomes too much.  So far things are going really well and I'm loving how much tidier and nicer some of the areas in our small home are already looking.

We have also had a couple of birthday's to celebrate already this month.  

Master M has turned 12!

It was a wonderful day full of pancakes for breaky, cake and candles and then off to the cinema to see the new Star Wars movie and dinner afterwards.  He loved his day!

Hubby's niece turned 21 on the first day of the year so the kids and I joined hubby's family for a nice lunch to help her celebrate.  Hubby was away at work so he missed out but we enjoyed ourselves and had a lovely day.

We've had plenty of laying about too...

In fact it's been a good mix of quiet, at home kind of days interspersed with a few outings here and there which we've all been enjoying.

This week seems to be full of appointments as we've been off to see a new paediatrician and have NDIS reviews and a few other things so I'm looking forward to relatively quiet and some less stressful days next week.  Then the week after that it will be back to school which we are as ready as we can be for.  

That's going to be whole new territory but we've got good plans in place and at least both kids will be at the same school which makes morning drop off and afternoon pick up so much easier.

I hope January is swinging along nicely for you too.

xx Susan

Monday, 23 December 2019

Gingerbread Muffins

In my last post I mentioned that Miss R wanted me to make Gingerbread muffins over the weekend.

I'm happy to report that one batch has been made but as there's not many left then I'll probably be making another batch on Christmas Eve.

This year we're having muffins and fruit for breakfast as I really like to start the day with as little fuss as possible. 

 As well as the Gingerbread muffins, I'll also make a batch of savoury cheese muffins to balance things out a bit.  Both kinds of muffins freeze really well and are great popped into the microwave for 30 or 40 seconds for a yummy breaky or snack at any time.

I usually ice my gingerbread muffins with a cream cheese icing although the traditional lemon icing would be beautiful too.  Master M doesn't like lemon or cream cheese icing but he loves the muffins plain so I always leave some un-iced just for him.

The mixture itself is quite liquid so don't panic if you think you've missed an ingredient.  It also fills 12 muffin cases up nearly to the top.  In the past I've used smaller cases and made around 20 or so muffins which is a nice little bite full but this time I've made them the normal size.

Gingerbread Muffins

1 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup of Golden Syrup *
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt

* (I think you use Corn Syrup in the USA or you could substitute maple syrup but I've never tried it with this).

Pour the boiling water into a bowl.  Add the syrup and bicarbonate soda and mix well then allow to cool slightly (I usually leave it about 5 minutes while I get the other ingredients ready).

Add the oil and eggs and mix until combined, then stir in the sugar.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.  I usually use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.

Pour into 12 muffin tins lined with cases and bake at 180 C (375F) for approximately 20 minutes.

Once cooled top with icing if you wish.

Cream Cheese Icing

250g block of cream cheese, softened (e.g Philadelphia brand)
2/3 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together with an electric mixer until well combined and creamy.  It only needs a couple of minutes.


xx Susan