Thursday, March 31, 2011

52 Photos: Two

This week's prompt is two. That immediately brings to mind pairs of things and I settled on my new tennis shoes. I haven't played tennis for ten years and just three weeks ago started playing again ... but not just a casual hit, but cardiotennis. I am very unfit and really felt it the first week. Even so, i'm loving it, I'd forgotten how much I love hitting that ball around and this is the perfect situation to have a decent whack.

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Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati

Lake in the Clouds (Wilderness, #3)Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the series about Elizabeth and Nathaniel. The story begins with the discovery of a runaway slave (Selah) and subsequently splits into two separate plots with Elizabeth and Nathaniel leading Selah to freedom and Hannah embarking on a trip to New York City to learn how to vaccinate for small pox. Hannah is the leading character in this book with Elizabeth and Nathaniel even taking on a more supportive role. For me this was a bonus as I really enjoyed Hannah as a character and the insights into the medical profession at that time were fascinating. I haven't looked ahead to see what's in the next book, hopefully we will follow Hannah as she moves on with her life. Excellent read, better than the second and equal to the first in the series.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lamb Korma

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Recipe adapted from the book that came with my Breville Flavour Maker

Ingredients:

2 tbs oil
4 large onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp dried chilli flakes'
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs ground turmeric
1tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
3kg cubed lamb
1 cup natural yoghurt
2 X 410g cans tomato puree
1tsp salt
4 carrots diced
5 potatoes cut into large chunks
2 cups peas

Method:

1. Heat oil in pan. Add onions, garlic and ginger, saute about 5 mins until onion is softened.

2. Add ground onions, chillies and spices. Cook about 3mins until fragrant.

3. Add lamb and cook until lamb is browned.

4. Place into slow cooker.

5. Add yoghurt, tomato puree, salt, carrots and potatoes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

6. 5 mins before serving stir through cooked peas.

Wednesdays we go straight to swimming and piano lessons from school and don't get back home until 6:30pm so I normally try to make something in the slow cooker. I love walking in the house and having tea waiting. I served it with some brown rice. The kids loved it and there was plenty leftover to freeze for  the next week. I just made sure we ate all the potato ... that doesn't freeze well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On our weekend ...

I had class from 8:30am to 12:30am which left Hubby to organise the Saturday morning activities which looked a little like this:

  • 9:00-9:45 am - tennis lesson Little Girl and The Boy
  • 9:45-10:45 - tennis lesson The Big Girl
  • 10:30- 11:30 - soccer practise Little girl and The Boy
  • 12:00-1:45 - pool party The Boy
Luckily The Big Girl went home with a friend from tennis for lunch and stayed until mid afternoon.

I got home at lunch time and tag teamed with Hubby (he was off for a boy's weekend with some mates from school). I quickly shovelled down lunch then went and picked up The Boy.

On the way home we bought a violin for Little Girl, borrowed some chemistry books from the library for The Boy (he's doing a project on colourful chemistry) and picked up Big Girl.

Little Girl couldn't wait to give the violin a good play and The Boy enjoyed assembling the music stand and letting off a party popper in the backyard.


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The the kids had baths before getting dropped off for the night at Hubby's parents.


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I was going out for drinks with the year 6 parents. I even dried my hair and put on lipstick.

Sunday morning started bright and early picking the kids up before heading to church. We hung around afterwards, had a snack and by the time we got home Hubby was back from his night away.

Lunch then Hubby took the girls for some cross country training before heading off with Big Girl to spend some vouchers she had been given. The Boy went with them. 

I took Little Girl for an icecream.


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We all curled up on the bed for a movie - Toy Story 3

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Pizza for tea. Bed for The Boy. I read a chapter of Anne of Green Gables with Little Girl while The Big Girl finished her slideshow for school.

Watched some House. Went to bed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Been reading this week.

Linking up to Saturday Stumbles.


1.  Secure passwords. I'm not going to comment on this one.

2. As a mum to two girls that haven't even hit high school yet, had me nodding in agreement. What About our Girls?

3. Love this room. Unfortunately the Bare Books don't ship to Australia.

4. ... and I was concerned about my bad morning yesterday... nothing compared to this.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


"In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t."

I'd heard about this from other bloggers then my sister mentioned she had started reading a copy lent by her mother-in-law while she was in New Zealand and was going to have to download it onto her iPad to finish reading it since she had to leave the book behind when she came home. My mum has since bagged herself a copy and read it so a multiply recommended book, and with good reason. I loved it. The last book I read that was written from multiple viewpoints didn't work but this made up for that bad experience. Excellently written, each character's voice was unique and matched to the character. Three women bravely breaking outside the boundaries other people make for a wonderful story with a perfectly awful antagonist in Hilly.  I literally couldn't put it down ... and the pile of ironing waiting is testament to that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interhouse Swimming Sports

Yesterday the girls had their interhouse swimming sports. First up though I had to put iced cupcakes in bags to sell at the sports to raise money for the year 6 graduation dinner. Do you know how hard it is to get cupcakes into bags without smearing the icing all over the sides of the bags? Luckily Hubby was home AND he was doing the early run taking Little Girl to choir and The Boy to his school. I just had to get the cupcakes and Big Girl to school by 8:30am.

Anyway we managed and the girls seemed to enjoy themselves and the swimming even if the Big Girl spent a large part of the day gnawing on her finger nails.

The Little Girl:

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  • 25m Freestyle: 3rd
  • 25m Backstroke: 2nd
  • 25m Breastroke: 2nd
  • 4X25m Freestyle Realy: 1st
  • 4X25m Novelty Relay: 4th
The Big Girl:

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  • 50m Freestyle: 1st
  • 50m Backstroke: 1st
  • 50 Breastroke: 2nd
  • 25m Butterfly: 3rd
  • 4X25m Kickboard Relay: 1st
  • 4X25m Medley Relay: 4th
She was a little disappointed that her favourite event 100m breast stroke was cancelled and she moved to  the 50m. She was third going into the last 25m and only needed one more stroke to overhaul first ... she is much better suited to the longer distances.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chicken Fricasse

Really easy slow cooker chicken recipe. The kids even liked it. Give it a whirl. I just used normal chilli powder.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

On my weekend ...

The kids had tennis lessons.

Hubby took the two youngest to get mouthguards. I got home with the Big Girl when they were fitting them.

The we pottered around, Hubby getting paperwork done, I rang the violin shop.

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Little Girl went to a friends to play. Big Girl disappeared into the garden searching for cicadas.

Then she started making chocolate ladybugs. While waiting for the chocolate to set they jumped on the trampoline. I read my book and went for a walk.

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Big Girl continued with her making, The Boy cleaned the table, then we ate a BBQ dinner outside. Our outdoor dining was cut short by a visit by a pair of very persistent wasps.

The Boy and The Big Girl finished off the ladybugs and we all watched Bedtime Stories on TV.

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Hubby woke the girls up early to start cross country training. The Little girl beat them both back on her first try.

Straight after church we drove up to Healesville for mum's family reunion and my auntie's 70th birthday.

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My sister was wearing the same top she wore last year.

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Long drive home, a "get whatever you can find" dinner ... and relax.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This week I saw ...

a few interesting things. Linking up with Saturday Stumbles.

1. The Difference between Christianity and Other Religions in a Nutshell. Even if people don't find the historical evidence compelling, the central claim of Christianity is at least open to historical examination in direct contrast to other religions.

2. Interactive before and after satellite photos of Japan.

3. I gave this a try, it's kind of fun. "Lo-Fi"ing a photo. There is a free trial.

4. Why you should enable HTTPS in your twitter account (or facebook).

6. Sara Gleason has all her free downloads collected together in one convenient archive page. If you're a digital scrapbooker you must check it out.

7. Cute subway birthday prints on eighteen25.

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Afternoon in Queenscliff (a layout)

Donna Duncombe has some new products out this week, multi-photo templates, emerald solids and bold is beautiful alphas in white, black, green and blue. I love multi-photo templates because I'm usually scrapping events that have more than one photo. I had these photos from 2009 and decided to get them onto a page. I can't believe how much smaller the kids look.

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52 Photos: Room

Two houses ago we made turned the garage out the back of the house into a playroom for the kids. Now in our temporary home we have a playroom again ... also called the fairy house.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On our long weekend ...

I woke up Saturday morning with vertigo which I get occasionally so Hubby offered to drive me to class which was nice because the medication makes me drowsy and not good anyway if I got dizzy while driving. He had to put the kids in the car drop me off by 8:30am the get back to the kids tennis lessons by 9am.

I managed to get a seat at the bottom of the "U" of desks so I didn't have to turn my head to look at the screen. We had the professor of NT so he gave us a fascinating overview of the setting, culture and history.

There were two functions on at church as well so we got yummy catering by the cafe for morning tea and they dropped a plate of leftovers at the end of the session which I was munching on when I left to find Hubby waiting for me.

He's left the kids at home "cleaning up" so we went home and packed for Pt Lonsdale.

We arrived down there about 3pm and relaxed.

I stirred myself from the chair to ice the pina colada cake I'd made Friday night.

The kids played with the lego, the Wii and Hubby helped cook tea.

Mum was trying a few new salad recipes which were yum.

Hubby took the kids for a sunset spa.

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Then we ate cake and I went to bed.

Sunday was a lazy day. I was still feeling light headed. Hubby read a book ... a whole book in a day. Big Girl was shocked she said "but daddy never reads books"

The girls played board games and electronic games.

We ate lunch in shifts.

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These two disappeared together for most of the day, reappearing for food.

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The afternoon was spent in a game of monopoly. Big Girl took us all to the cleaners.

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Then we headed next door to my brother's place for pizza night.

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Monday was holiday ... I had to laugh when I saw Big Girl's diary.

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Hubby had an early morning hit with Big Girl and The Boy

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I ate leftover pizza

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Then we took the kids to the beach.

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Ate again

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and Big Girl caught a lizard.

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Drive home, unpack, eat a couple of toasted hot cross buns, bed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pork with apple and Red Cabbage

I bought some pork cutlets the other day and I had a kind of old, in desperate need of eating, piece of red cabbage, so I went in search of a recipe for dinner. I also had a few apples that had been back and forth from in the school lunchboxes and so had developed a few bruises and an orange I'd bought for another recipe and forgotten about so pork with apple and red cabbage was pretty much perfect.

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I served it up with creamy mashed potatoes and some yellow beans from our garden ... YUM!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Book Thief by Markas Zusak

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist- books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found."

I loved this book, beautiful poetic prose, the story meanders along but I was never bored. The characters are each interesting and the little unusual touches including the illustrated sections added to the whole experience. Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some things to check out

Linking up again with Saturday Stumbles

1. The kids edition of Sweet Paul magazine, eye candy, food, general all-round cuteness.

2. A laugh for the girls with fix-it husbands: Communication is Key. (Doghouse Diaries)

OK, that's all I've got this week ... I'm off for the long weekend.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Donna Duncombe's Be Mine

Donna has a new kit out called Be Mine. Featuring soft pastel pink, yellow and mint. Last year my sisters and brother gave the Little Girl a trip to Build a Bear. A teddy bear was one of three things on her birthday list.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

52 Photos: Wrinkles

Not a shirt that can be worn without ironing ... especially when it's sat at the bottom of the basket for a week.

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This week's prompt was wrinkles.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapple

This was a crazy day and when I came to make this I found I'd run out of soy sauce. Luckily the last part is very quick and Hubby picked up the soy sauce on his way home from work and I could quickly finish it then. I added carrots because I like to serve up lots of veges and my kids love carrots. Other than that I followed the recipe. Definitely a keeper

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This is what happens ...

when you leave a cherry tomato bush to do it's own thing.

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Self-seeded and left alone. Yes, that is just a single bush. We're eating cherry tomatoes by the handful and all without any effort from us.

Monday, March 7, 2011

On my weekend ...

Hubby and the Big Girl went to Wye River for a daddy/daughter weekend away with her classmates.

I took Little Girl and The Boy to tennis.

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Then past the block ... they were putting in the switchboard.

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Home to tidy up and have lunch.

Then out to soccer practise. The Boy spent a fair amount of time being goalie ... swinging from the goals and wearing cones on his head. Which was still better than the Little Girl who refused to take the field after the initial practises drills.

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Home for yummy watermelon. A jump on the trampoline and a surprise visit from my dad for a cup of tea and some fruit cake.

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Back out for Dinner Tonite. The kids had a fight about who was going to vacuum.

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Then we went home and they watched The Incredibles while I did the ironing.

On Sunday we went to church. Then came home straight after and the kids did some craft.

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We had lunch then walked or scootered up to the bottle shop to pick up some supplies ...

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to make spiders.

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Followed by a swim in the pool while I studied. It didn't last long. The pool is freezing after the cold weather we've been having.

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Hubby and Hayley came back with lots of stories of junk food and wild animals. We had pizza, watched The Mentalist and went to bed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Caught my attention this week.

Well this is two weeks in a row now and I'm linking up to Simply Staci once her post is up.  So you can pop over there if you want to check out what other people are looking at. (ed: Saturday Stumbles is now up)

1. The cutest little origami mushrooms ... or should that be toadstools?


2. Some good tips on cooking for others which I'll be referring back to next month I think.


3. Peeling back the Western Comfort Bubble by Mark Sayers
"Its revealing that when our Western Comfort  is exposed for the illusion that it is, and our fragility is brought into perspective, how quickly people get religious."

4. For Angry Birds fans: Bring on the Mighty Eagle (Doghouse Diaries)


5. The first of 52 doses of free templates, tutorials, techniques and talks from Tiffany Tillman.

Friday, March 4, 2011

February 2011 Wrap Up

February means getting back into school/activities routine which is kind of hard after nearly months of sleep ins, beach days etc ... I'm not sure I'm quite there yet ... but I did renew my passport.

The girls had a wonderful start to the year.  It's hard to believe they are in grade 6 and grade 4.  Big Girl is already complaining about having to wear a dress to the graduation dinner.

We battled flooding in the backyard which turned the pool green, hired Legend of the Guardians to watch as a family and made strawberry jam.

Hubby was away overseas for two and a half weeks this month so that complicated things.  The Boy kept us busy with two parties, we went to the Guide dogs open day and celebrated a naming day.

Project Progress
1000 Gifts: #31-84

Books Read and Progress on 2011 Reading Challenges:


I added three more reading challenges but that is definitely it for this year.

The Other Queen - Global Challenge (1/7)
1788 - What's in a Name (1/5)


39 Things

I started my first subject in my diploma on 26th Feb. (#20)


52 Recipes


I added three new recipes ... might have a bit of catching up to do ... I should be at recipe #29 by now.

Scrapbooking:


I did three pages for this month's designer spotlight at oscraps. All three are for our 2010 album.


Credits here, here and here.


Other:
  • Uploaded my photos for backup.
  • I still need to organise my bookmarks.
  • I printed out some job charts for the kids but they still need a little tweaking ... thinking I need to add "brush hair" to the Big Girl's. So far it's working well, especially for Little girl and The Boy.
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This month:
  • There's a long weekend but I've got class on Saturday morning so I'll go away after that.  
  • I need to finish our tax.
  • I want to try to get the last few pages of our US album finished.
  • and start reading again with the kids.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Olden Days

The Boy dressed up in olden day clothes and ready to go on his excursion to Bundoora Park.

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We almost had a fail on this. I didn't realise it was dress up until last night and he has no shirts.  A frantic ring around and my good friend offered up the shirt and hat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1788 by David Hill

17881788 by David Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My husband's ancestors came out on the first and second fleets (at least one was a marine on the first fleet, another a prostitute) and I had some knowledge of the big picture but this was a fascinating look into the details of what happened. I wasn't aware the Norfolk Island was settled by people from the first fleet for instance. The author's telling of the story is enhanced by of journals and letters written at the time. History made interesting, I highly recommend this book.