Monday, February 28, 2011

On my weekend ...

I dropped the kids of at the in-laws at 8am. She kindly agreed to take the kids to tennis lessons for me.

Went to my first class.


Picked up the kids from the hairdresser at 1pm where MIL was getting her hair done.

Went home had lunch.

Sent the kids out to the pool.


We all made meringues.


The kids trashed the area at the top of the stairs but not entirely unproductively.


It started to rain then stopped long enough to cook the BBQ.


The Big Girl prepared a home coming surprise for Hubby.


and he finally arrived home at 11pm.

Sunday morning church.

Then out to Rebel Sport where I fought with The Big Girl about wearing a skirt to play tennis ... it just looks so cute.

Hubby meanwhile was buying the other two soccer boots.

You can tell I wasn't there ... the pink swoosh ... not practical for handing down to The Boy. Oh, but the Little Girl was so chuffed ... I'm glad I wasn't there.


Home for lunch before The Boy went out to a party.

Visited the Guide Dogs open day.


Had afternoon nap. Woke up feeling worse than before.

Had takeaway Chinese for tea. Hubby's choice.

Helped the Big Girl with her speech on a great leader ... she chose Jesus.

Watched The Mentalist. Went to bed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Links to Somewhere Else

I'm going to try to do this more regularly ... but I can't promise anything.

1. Paislee Press and One Little Bird are hosting the designer spotlight challenge over at oscraps this month. The deadline for the second challenge is nearly over but you still have time to do a layout with a question and pick up the freebies they're offering.

2. An interesting critique of determinism. Is that biological determinism in your genes, or are you Gaga about free will? From the article:
Yes, our genes influence our behaviour. But this does not determine who we are. We are not the slaves of our biology and possess a formidable capacity to make our own world and on a good day to even choose who we want to be.
One thing I don't understand is why people are so eager to believe something that when carried through consistently is self-anihilating.  Surely that is a pointer that they've made a mistake?

3.  Hubby is overseas at the moment but he was watching a show on the BBC and they shared about the site Phototuts+. He thought of me and sent it via email. I haven't had the time to check it out thoroughly but it looks like it's got some interesting stuff on it.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

How could I pass this one up? Little Girl made these when it was just the two of us home last Sunday and we kept the nutella our little secret.  The other two don't like nutella but it didn't stop them getting stuck into these cookies. I have to confess we didn't stick strictly to the recipe, mainly due to a shortage of ingredients, but a little thing like not enough butter or choc chips never stopped us before.  I'm sure if we followed the recipe they would have been even better.  So when you're craving a cookie but you're a bit bored with the old classic I recommend you give these nutella chocolate chip cookies a try.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A good start.

Both girls have had a good start to the year.  Little Girl tried out for the special choir ... a solo audition ... and made it ... doesn't take after her parents obviously.  Actually a solo singing audition is just about my worst nightmare ... well maybe not worst ... there was that one where The Boy fell off a cliff.  She also came home the first day with a permission slip from the NGV, they wanted to use a piece of her artwork on their website.

The Big Girl made the school swimming team for the first time this year.  She was in the 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke and 4X50m freestyle relay.  The district competition was yesterday and so I spent the morning down at the pool cheering her on.  She swam well, I'm really proud of the progress she's made this year.


Monday, February 21, 2011

On our weekend ...

I had a tantrum about The Boy's hat and we got to tennis lessons late.

Lunch, jobs, relax, kids in the pool.

Went to Yarraville for my niece's naming day ceremony.


Sunday morning church.

Got soaked on the way out to the car ... car to supermarket ... supermarket to car ... car to house.


Lunch, wrap presents.

Drop off Big Girl at a friends, The Boy at a pool party.

Little Girl makes cookies, pick up The Boy, raid the lolly bag.


Pickup up Big Girl.

Roast dinner at mum and dad's.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

52 Photos: Up

A little late with this.  The prompt as Up.

52 Photos: Up

The Boy threw the soccer ball up first day we were in the house. He was suitably chastised but after his first week of tennis he came home and threw his hat up in the air and it landed up there too. I have to wait for Hubby to get home from overseas  to get the extension ladder to get it down. Let's just say that I think the neighbours are probably aware of my displeasure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Other QueenThe Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love historical fiction and especially those about actual historical people. I have read and enjoyed other books by Philippa Gregory so this should have been a good read for me but I really just ploughed through to see how it ended (maybe I should have just consulted the encyclopaedia and be done with it). The story was written from three first person perspectives, Queen Mary, Bess of Hardwick and her husband. Each chapter was very short, some only three pages in length and from a different viewpoint and this hindered the flow of the story for me. I found myself going back and checking who's viewpoint it currently was because the voice of each narrator wasn't different enough to be obvious.

The action starts at the beginning of Queen Mary's time under house arrest with Bess of Hardwick but I would have loved the story to have begun earlier and covered what must have been a very interesting story. I would love to hear if anyone knows of other author's who have written about this period of Mary's life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On my weekend ...

I took the kids to tennis lessons.  The Boy won the Champ of the Week Award.

The kids cleaned and vacuumed their rooms.

Little Girl and I put the tea on while Big Girl did the Suduko in the paper.


We went for a walk.


Monkeyed around in the underpass.


Browsed at Tim's bookshop and got two presents. A birthday for Mads and naming for Jasmine.


Stopped and had refreshments


before walking home with little Girl crying for a solid 10 minutes because the other two were holding my hands ... fun.

Were greeted at the door by the smell of dinner cooked ... I love you slow cooker.

Went to church Sunday morning. Played, read some blogs. Skyped Hubby at my sister's place in Singapore.

I did the ironing ... they cooked chocolate cake.


Auntie Neenie came over.

We dropped off Mads present.

I told him to clean up this mess.


We ate carnitas.


and watched Modern Family.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Three more reading challenges

I know at the start of the year I said I was only going to join 5 reading challenges but I completely forgot about the challenges starting in February.  So I'm changing my mind ... I'm going to add in Rose City Reader's  2011 Battle of the Prizes (American and British versions) and if I'm going to do those I may as well add in the Book Awards as well.

2011 Battle of the Prizes, American Version

This challenge pits winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction against the winners of the National Book Award in the American Version of the Battle of the Prizes.

Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value? Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three great books!


Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Pulitzer and the National (here is a list of double dippers);
2) One that won the Pulitzer but not the National (Pulitzer winners are here); and
3) One that won the National but not the Pulitzer (National winners are here).
Full rules and sign-up here.
2011 Battle of the Prizes, British Version

This challenge pits winners of the English Man Booker Prize against winners of the Scottish James Tait Black Memorial Prize in a British Version of the Battle of the Prizes.

Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value? Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three or four great books!


OPTION ONE: Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Booker and the James Tait Black prizes (here is the short list of double dippers);

2) One that won the Booker but not the James Tait Black (Booker winners are here); and

3) One that won the James Tait Black but not the Booker (James Tait Black winners are here).

OPTION TWO: For those who have already read all three of the double-dippers, or otherwise do not want to read one of those three, pick two Booker winners and two James Tait Black winners for a total of four books.
Full rules and sign-up here.


3M(Michelle) is once again hosting the Book Awards V Challenge.  She writes:

Thanks to all those who participated in the first four book awards challenges!! Are you up for a fifth? The challenge for Book Awards V will last for 10 months, from February 1 through December 1, 2011.


  1. Read 5 books from 5 different awards during February 1, 2010 through December 1, 2010.
  2. Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.
  3. Choices don't have to be posted right away, and lists may be changed at any time.
  4. 'Award winners' is loosely defined; make the challenge fit your needs.
To join, go to the Book Awards V Challenge.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Caramel Cake

In my book something that is billed as "My Favourite Cake. Period." is just screaming out to be tried and tested.  So I was idly flipping through my bookmarked recipes looking for something to make for sweets when we had friends over and thought why not?  Little Girl helped me did most of it herself ... except for burning the first batch of caramel ... I did that all by myself.  Apart from that ... which shouldn't be a problem if you don't leave the caramel cooking while you wander off to chat ... it is an easy cake to make and completely lived up to the hype.  You must try it yourself.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Award

A couple of weeks ago now Laura left a lovely comment letting me know she'd picked my blog for an award.  I'm really bad at these things but I wanted to acknowledge her and spotlight a few blogs I visit.

First up if you pop over to Laura's blog you can see how she's going with her daily photo project for 2011. It's a twist on P365, but you can read about it here.  She's also a keen scrapbooker and you can learn a bit more about her here.

Now I'm supposed to post eight things about myself ... ummm

  • I just looked over on the bench and saw that I've forgotten to put the bread rolls in the oven and now they won't cook before I go out to pick the kids up.
  • I'm really happy with my birthday/Christmas present (an apple green kitchenaid) and I've been giving it a workout.
  • I also bought a slow cooker which I think may become my next best friend.  Walking in last night after the kid's swimming to the smell of dinner ready and waiting for us was heaven, and saved a lot of stress at 6:30 in the evening.
  • I made up my own recipe for my first try at slow cooking ... is that a little crazy?  I can smile because it was really yummy though.
  • I'm going to be doing theological studies starting this year.
  • I sent in my passport renewal today.
  • The photo is awful, which is lucky because that means it's bound to match my state when I hop off the plane and I won't be rejected by the photo recognition software.
  • I just realised I need to renew Big Girl's passport as well.
(Edited:  I wrote this first part last Thursday so in some respects a little out of date)

Now to send you to some other blogs:

  • I "met" Tamara through being on CT team with her.  You can read what she's going to be up to this year, about family life, weekly menus, of course some scrapbooking, lots of photos and plenty of inspiration.  She is truly inspirational, her love for her kids shines through in the stories she tells and with a husband that travels, one child her needs a lot of extra care, a job and lots of running around I'm not sure how she does it all.
  • Amy and I did a Shimelle's blogging for scrapbookers course in 2009 and I've been reading her blog ever since. She's currently in the middle of a renovation.  Usually she is a prolific scrapbooker I love her simple style that lets the photos and stories take centre stage.
  • Cate is another scrapbooker who I think did the same blogging course?  There's always lots of inspiration on her blog, projects and more projects plus she changes her blog header each month (very cute).
  • Photographing Mom.  She's also doing a photo-a-day project this year so expect lots of gorgeous photos.
  • Nicole who shares life and layouts.  She is another scrapper that utilises simple design to keep the emphasis on the photos and stories.
  • Melissa gorgeous photography, projects and inspiration plus temptation.
  • Evalyn ... scrapbooking, life you can check out her project life and one little word.
  • Robyn who posts a lovely mix of life, cooking, scrapbooking etc.

Monday, February 7, 2011

On our weekend ...

Begin with a text from the tennis coach saying tennis lessons are called off due to the amount of rain, followed by an excited boy bursting into the bedroom to tell me that the pool was overflowing.  I thought I better go down and check the water wasn't coming into the house.  Everything was alright but the water did lap at the back door, within 30 mins the pool had turned an awful green colour.


Since tennis was cancelled we spent the morning doing homework, piano practise and the two boys went off to do some jobs before coming home and doing some packing away. The Boy was very excited to try Hubby's Yr12 blazer ... that will be him in a few years ... hopefully he's grown a bit by then. Little Girl also put her two cents worth in with Hubby playing scrabble on the iPhone.


Little Girl and I made strawberry jam in the afternoon. She led the way having made it with Grandma before. Informing me that we use equal parts sugar and fruit ... and you need to skim the froth off the top, which is good to make into milkshakes.


We went to Dinner Tonite again then came back to watch Legend of the Guardians which we hired. Big Girl is reading the books at the moment and she managed to finish off the first one in the car coming back from dinner. We watched it up in our room which requires the transport of toys, pillows and quilts upstairs.


After church, lunch and The Boy getting home from a birthday party the kids watched it again. Hubby and I pleaded off ... once was enough ... and watched some TV downstairs. The movie finished while we weren't quite finished the show we were watching so we asked the kids to stay in the front of the house. Their plea for cookies pasted onto the glass door made me laugh ... how hilarious is that. We relented and got cookies and then everyone played while I pottered around in the kitchen making bread, bread rolls and pizza.


Auntie Neenie was home today and so she came round for tea. It was good to see her again. We had homemade pizza and icecream sundaes ... yum.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Weekend Browsing

All the kids went back to school this week and they had such a great start.  The Boy went Monday and he hasn't clung to me once which is great.  There's been times in the past where I've had to carry him into class and hold his arms down so he didn't grab the door jambs and hang on as we passed through.

The girls started Wednesday.  Usually I try to take them into class on the first day but Hubby left early in the morning for Ararat so it was just me left to do drop offs.  I felt bad letting them out on the road outside school at 8am and watching them walk into school weighed down by backpacks full of their books and also carrying a second shoulder bag full of books.  They were really heavy.  I suppose at least they'll have a hard luck story for later.

It's rainy here today ... really rainy


 I've been able to spend some time browsing my reader and bookmarks.

There's heaps of fun projects around for Valentine's day.  I'm not a huge fan of this holiday and this year Hubby will be overseas but I'm tempted by DIY Valentine fruit stickers (via Ann), or this iPhone valentine printable (I could throw this in Hubby's case for a surprise) and some cute cards ... maybe it's time for a rethink?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mango Rice Salad

I'm not a huge fan of rice salads but this one that I originally saw in the HeraldSun caught my eye.  The ratio of other stuff to rice seemed much more favourable than most rice salads.  It didn't disappoint.  We didn't have lemon infused olive oil or the fried asian shallots but it was still yummy.  Even mum who doesn't like rice salads was a fan.  It is a very summery, fresh tasting salad.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 2011 Wrap-up

This month was mostly spent on holidays at my parents house at Pt. Lonsdale so lots of beach, food and extended family.  The girls both did nippers this year.  Little Girl is starting to get the hang of things and Big Girl really improved this year, even competing in the Iron Nipper and getting a 6th place.  Both girls have about 30 girls in their age groups so that was a pretty good effort.

There was also a lot of rain (not quite as much as Queensland and northern Victoria thankfully) but we had flooded roads and were stuck inside for extended periods.  We took the opportunity to take the kids to see Tangled.

We celebrated my dad's 71st birthday at 360 degrees at the Queenscliff port, I took the kids back to the city to see Mary Poppins, Hubby and I went to the Australian Open with my parents and we hired the A-team and watched it one night.  Our house was demolished and we celebrated Australia Day with friends over for a BBQ and swim.  The Boy started in grade 2.

Project Progress
1000 Gifts: #1-30

 Books Read and Progress on 2011 Reading Challenges:
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larrson - At 599 pages it qualifies as a chunkster. (1/6)
  • Slave by John Macarthur - counts towards the Christian non-fiction challenge. (1/10)

I'm currently reading The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory.

I've placed a reserve at the library on The Help, The Book Thief, Let the Great World Spin, Lake in the Clouds and 1788.

39 Things: (3/39)

52 Recipes:

I cooked 4 new recipes but have only posted 2 so far, Summer Trifle and Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto.


I did four layouts this month, all pages for the US album.

  • I organised my google reader.
  • I completed my blog makeover, including updating my sidebars with current content, updating my about me, put in vertical dividers between the posting areas and sidebars, changed the connect section on my sidebar  (I got the vintage social media icons from webexpedition 18. (via Mandi)), added pages to track my reading challenges and other projects for this year and a new header.  If you're reading in a reader you may want to click over and take a look.
  • I've uploaded this months photos for back-up and emailed links to my family.

This month:

  • I start my course on the 26th February.
  • Small group starts back Tuesday and mainly music on Friday week.
  • I have ideas for two more albums I'd like to do.  One following my things we do in summer series using simple storyboard page designs and an album following the progress on our new house.  I also want to put together my P365 album. (Not sure whether these will happen this month)
  • Organise my bookmarks
  • Renew my passport
  • Get back into some kind of routine

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

We made this recipe last week.  The Boy said if he was a judge he'd give it a 10/10.  The others ate it but it wasn't a favourite.  The recipe has basil in it and The Boy started this conversation:

The Boy:  Basil tastes like soapy water.

Hubby:  How do you know what soapy water tastes like?

The Boy:  One day in 2010 I tasted it.

Little Girl:  You know you don't have to say 2010 you can just say last year ... it was last year you know.

Anyway, the photo: