Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Christmas in July Markets and home life

I love the Christmas in July craft market we have here each year.

Some of the stall holders are here every year and are often seen at other markets around town.

One of the ladies even remembered The Princess buying her last purchase for Mother's Day when we saw her at the Cotters Markets!

So, here is my plug:

Sunday 31st July
Holy Spirit School
Junior Assembly Shed
Via Church entrance, Ross River Rd, Cranbrook, Townsville.
Cafe and Raffle - supporting Camp Quality.

If you are interested in holding a stall please call 07 4773 4908.

There are so many people who come to shop and browse at these markets and oftentimes you have to park a street or two away to get a park if you aren't there early enough.

Okay, enough of my plug (and I'm only plugging because I love much of what is on sale there by such creative and talented crafters).

I'm not necessarily a fan of winter.

I don't like the frizzy hair or dry, itchy skin it brings me.

I really dislike getting out of bed or a warm shower in the morning to cold air.

But I do love winter food!

Especially stews and soups.

Little Man and I made chicken and vegetable soup.

I did cheat and use a pre-packed vegetable soup mix from the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket.

I chopped up 2 chicken thigh fillets, a whole onion and 2 cloves of garlic (we've had sniffles and sore throats around here lately).

Little Man sauteed them in a bit of olive oil then we threw in the vegetables and sauteed them for a few minutes.

We added a couple of litres of chicken stock and let it simmer until the vegetables were just tender.

I love adding some little alphabet pasta noodles just before serving and a good shaving of parmesan on top with a sprinkle of parsley.


This is part of the cleaned-up mess after the children made their Orange Franken-cake.

I played around on the iPhoto features so you didn't see how messy my kitchen benches really looked!

I love my new Mother's Day sink - I love the extra 3/4 sink and it's ability to be used as extra draining/drying space.

$35 at auction for an Oliveri sink is pretty good - especially since it was brand new.

Yesterday we went to the library to borrow some books and on our way went op-shopping.

I bought two pillow cases - I haven't decided if the yellow one will be turned into a Pillowcase dress for The Princess, or if it will be trimmed with lace or something for her bed.

The blue case will probably be trimmed as well. 

Both were 50c each I think.

I love the little blue apron that I paid $1.50 for.

It will come in handy for collecting eggs or picking from the vegetable garden for a quick meal.

(My Mrs Beeton's apron came with my my cook book and gets lots of use)

I love the lace doily.

It cost $1.50 and I have grand plans for that piece.

That plan has been inspired by Dottie Angel.

I love her blog.

I wish my house was as clean and sparkly looking as hers.

On my way in from hanging out the washing I happened to look up and spotted this little fellow sitting on the outside lamp.

I don't know what made me look up, but anyhoo, there he was.

He's only little so he's young.

I'm hoping the tree snakes leave this one alone.

(darn - there's a grammatical error in here that i discovered in preview mode but now i'm darned if i can find where it was - oh well, i'm only human!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Sunday at home

In light of everything that has happened over the past few weeks, it has really brought home to me that more than anything, home is where I want to be.

The Princess and Little Man baked me a cake.

Another of their Frankencakes.

This was an orange cake with a small dash of vanilla essence.  It was covered in vanilla icing with coconut and topped off with chocolate chips.

They couldn't wait long enough for the cake to cool so they went ahead and added the icing anyway.

This is the result.

It was very delicious.

 After eating cake, I put away the groceries.

I really dislike my pantry.  

The previous owner made it narrow and deep, which means I am forever losing things in there.

I make do with the space I have by putting things in baskets that I can slide out.

My last pantry had relatively shallow shelves so that everything could be easily seen and accessible.

I designed my last pantry around the Tupperware Modular Mates so that it was only the depth of the container plus a little bit extra.  I have the Modular Mates two deep in this cupboard and there's still room in front of them for a row of jars.

My pantry is really ready for another clean out.

I'm almost too embarrassed to post this picture, but I have seen worse so I can bear it.

At the end of the day it was time to sit down and relax.

A decaf coffee and a magazine and I'm content.

Yes, this is a plug for my favourite dairy - Mungalli Creek.

I much prefer their bio-dynamic milk but this milk is their cheaper alternative.

And it is so yummy.

Once done, The Princess and I snuggled into bed and watched Monster-in-Law.

What more could a mother ask for?

Today, Little Man and I made chicken and vegetable soup.

Even yummier!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank you.

I've been a bit down recently over a spate of bad news.

Firstly, I had two deaths in the family in quick succession.

One was on The Groom's side, the other on mine.

My great-uncle's death really saddened me more, obviously.

Uncle Peter was my model of what a farmer ought to be.

I have fond memories of my great-uncle and great-aunty's house and farm and visiting as a child.

Milking the cows, riding in the tractor, pushing hay off the trailer, sitting in the smokey kitchen in front of the wood fire with my sock covered feet aimed toward the warmth.  Laughing at my sister getting zapped by the electric fence when I told her with the straightest of faces it wasn't turned on!

Secondly, my beloved dad has early-onset dementia and has been in a nursing home for a couple of years now.

His health is never going to get better and there is no cure.

He has moved into a next stage of the disease and I have another stage of grieving for him to go through.

Once a daddy's girl always a daddy's girl.

But it was the most recent event that has left me reeling.

For her support and shoulder to cry on, I want to publicly thank


from A Clothesline Out The Back.

And who says online friends can't become real life friends!

Thank you!!!

image from:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Down to Earth and Lurkers

Rhonda-Jean at the wonderful Down to Earth blog wrote recently about lurkers.

I confessed that I often popped in and read without leaving a comment.

I think we all do it, and perhaps I need to rethink my 'lurking'.

I sometimes have a peep at other's blogs that people have as their followers or who they follow.

Sometimes, those blogs don't interest me.

Sometimes, they do.

I vow to leave a 'calling card' from now on and thank them for sharing their lives with me, even if it is just a 'hello, just stopped by' message.

I look at my visitor traffic sometimes and wonder who these people are who come to my blog.  

Are they repeat visitors who genuinely show an interest in my little life?  Or did they stumble upon me by accident and quickly moved on?

I don't profess to having the most interesting of lives, or have scores of knowledge to share.

But, I feel like that by sharing a part of me, I'm giving back to those of you who share your lives with me.

Rhonda-Jean, if you are reading, here is the link to my maiden post - I credited you as my inspiration.

Keep up the wonderful work to all of you out there in interwebby world.

Thanking you.

Another of life's little lessons

Will I never learn about dogs and chooks?

Last weekend we lost Maude to one of the dogs.

The gate to the chicken yard mustn't have been closed properly and when the chickens have woken up in the morning Maude went for a wander.

I think she's walked past where the dogs sleep in the aviary shortly before they've been let out for the day.

They got her behind the golden cane palm in the little garden bed at the front wall of the house.

The poor thing.  She didn't even stand a chance.

I've picked three zucchinis this week and I'm so proud of myself.

We ate one for dinner earlier in the week, gave one to the neighbour who provided us with the seedlings, then I am going to make a quiche on the weekend with the one I picked yesterday.  

I'm just holding out for the tomatoes.  That's all I really want.

I have had bad news delivered to me that has really made me question myself and what I believe in.

I'm numb, raw and very emotional.

I'm sure there's a silver lining to it all and there's a lesson to be learnt from it.

I just have to wait until I'm ready to think clearly enough to find it.

For now, I need to process and regroup.

I am my own worst enemy and very hard on myself, moreso than probably necessary.

I desperately want to discuss it but am unable to.    

I am hurting.

I am angry.

I want to retreat into my own world with my own little family and pretend things are hunky-dory.

In the meantime, there's my husband, children, dogs and garden to think about and care for.  

I'm sure they'll keep me going and strong.

If there was ever a time to be grateful for my family, this is it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Of dusty boots and sore derrieres

Today was the day I finally got back in the saddle.

It has been a very long time coming.

My bottom and thighs are now screaming in protest after not having had contact with a saddle in well over 20 years!

I used to ride a fair bit back when I was a kid and young teen.

But as one knows, boys and make-up kinda get in the way of the good things in life.

The Princess has been expressing her desire to learn to ride for quite a while now, so I took the bit in the mouth (pardon the pun) and booked us both in for private lessons.

She did so well and I'm kicking myself I didn't take a camera.

All of the motorbike riding she does has given her great balance in the saddle, too.

Well done Princess.  Soon we'll be in group classes.

Here's to many more days on horseback.

(and hoping we can convince daddy to buy us horses - heehee!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Holidays are almost here

Only one more week to go until it is school holidays!

I am looking forward to time spent at home, doing very little other than pottering around at home.

I have been so busy at work this term that the poor house has been neglected.

The cobwebs have developed cobwebs!

Luckily the vegetable garden is relatively self-reliant at the moment.

There is very little watering to do as the sprinklers have been turned back on, and thanks to a heavy layer of hay for mulch, very few weeds to pull up.

I have been picking plenty of lettuce leaves, shallot leaves, chives and parsley, but yesterday was a real joy.

I picked my first zucchini!

It was meant to go with the chicken parmigiana for dinner.

But that didn't go to plan.

We had a family funeral to go to and after catching up with family we didn't get home until well after dinner time.  

Tonight we will eat it.

I've been marking all day today, I've got about 5 stories to go and then I start on another lot of assignments.  There are 3 more assessments due in by the last day of school.

Oh well.  Back to the grind I suppose.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Just breathe...

Well, I've managed to survive my first week of full-time teaching in such a long time.

It has only reaffirmed my decision to do supply/relief teaching for years to come as being the right one.

I still don't envy teachers.

The house is a disaster.

My puppies miss me and have been busily destroying anything left outside.  Like my spare sunglasses.

I spent all day today doing the washing.  About 6 or 7 loads of the stuff.  Blankets, sheets, towels, clothes.  You name it.  I've still got more blankets to wash (I like to wash them weekly if I can) but it can wait another week I guess.

I also spent today planning lessons for this week.  

Saturday we about 'me' so I went to the eco-fiesta with The Princess and we had some lovely mother-daughter time.  We ate vegetable curry puffs, drank rosella and then ginger cordial from the Herb Society stall, and got some free plants from the Council.

In fact, I got LOTS of free plants; I had explained to the man at the stall where we live, the types of wildlife we have around and the animals I want to encourage.  

I ended up going home with more than half a dozen little plants. the sign said 'one per person' as The Princess kept reminding me. Plus, I bought some plants from the Herb Society and the Permaculture Group.

So, yesterday, armed with a shovel and buckets of water, The Groom and I dug and planted (well, I directed, he dug and planted and I watered - but it was a team effort).

I planted

salad mallow
ceylonese spinach
sweet leaf
Mt Stuart bottle brush
Burdekin plum
rusty pittosporum
forest red/blue gum
native olive
weeping paperbark
river she-oak
silver wattle
    I have also got some turmeric rhizomes that I need to plant but can't figure out where.

    The Groom ran out of sunlight to rig up a little fence in the chicken yard so I can plant the sweet potato vine I bought.  That will have to wait until the following weekend.

    I started picking the rosellas to make jam and cordial.  I didn't realise how prickly the little things were!  Ouch!

    Little Man had his first race in Motorcross today.  He came off just as the chequered flag was waved.

    The phone call I got from The Groom about it was reassuring - "the ambulance just treated him and he's okay, just a bit bruised and a bit of a hole in his stomach."  


    He is okay, though.  Sore, tender and with bruised pride.

    It's a good thing I wasn't there, Little Man assured me.  

    I would have embarrassed him by running across the track calling out "baby boy!"

    Hah!  He knows me too well.

    Well, one week down, three to go.

    At least I'm very grateful for the work and the experience of more work.


    I think it might be time to re-read Radical Homemakers and give thanks for my decisions in life!