Saturday, December 5, 2015

This week's links ...

1. I'm going to make this Triple Layer Christmas Icecream Pudding (with some changes to make it more boy's birthday appropriate) for The Boy's party tomorrow.

2. This Christmas printable may have been needed over the last few weeks.

3. Journaling as a Spiritual Discipline: How to set up and organise a journal. Indexing themes is such a good idea.

4. December Reflections. A list of daily prompts with relaxed options for joining in.

5. All the goodness in the world.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Around here ...

There is temporary fence around our courtyard garden after Riley made several fishing expeditions, ripping out a couple of water plants and pulling out the newly planted bamboo that replaced the first lot he pulled out ... he's pretty proud of himself.

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We had a tapas dinner in the city care of a super early sound check for the orchestra before presentation night. The Big Girl, Hubby and I went to dinner with another couple while The Little Girl did her thing.

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The Bounce party has been postponed until February and replaced by afternoon tea and a swim this Sunday because of a broken toe.

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Which also means The Boy will not be able to do the year 6 dance at his graduation next Monday or dance at the disco later on that night.

The countdown socks are filled with treats ...

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and the Christmas Tree is up.

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All three kids finish school next Tuesday but The Big Girl has not been required at school this week, making the most of it with two parties and too much ipad ... and we may have ventured to Westfield to watch The Mockingjay Part II.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

This week's links ...

Sandwiching my blog writing in between The Little Girl's swim meet this afternoon and The Big Girl's basketball game early this evening ...

1. I'm currently halfway through making Italian Meatloaf for dinner. I hope the kids don't realise but I threw some wilted radicchio that needed eating into the mix.

2. What is grid journaling.

3. This visual journal page is so much fun.

4. Free printable Chalkboard Christmas prints.

5. Printable game for New Year's Eve.


Friday, November 20, 2015

and so it goes ...

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 another year and The Boy is 12.  It was pancake cake and nachos for dinner. Money deposited in his bank for a present as well as something to unwrap (I was pointed in the direction of this fun Steve Jobs biography by this post ... where I'll be returning for future gifts.).

He's the kid that sees all the possibilities and none of the consequences. We're trying to help him keep one toe on the ground without ruining him.

Only a few more weeks of primary school to go. High school next year. He's excited. I'm nervous. Even he admits he's organisationally challenged.

But before that he'll celebrate with a birthday party at Bounce Inc.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Melbourne to Alice springs Roadtrip: Day 11 Kings Canyon

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

My day began with a trip to the general store to pick up milk. Yeah there was no milk. They would be getting some more in on Thursday ... after we had left. There looked to be 3 carrots, two apples and lots of frozen sausages in the fridge. So the lesson is, don't expect to pickup supplies at Kings Canyon ... and that includes diesel ... they were out of that too! They did have some freshly made sandwiches though. The kids decided they would do with salad wraps as we had run out of chicken, but I was a little tired of wraps for lunch after 10 straight days so I picked up a couple of bacon and lettuce sandwiches for Hubby and I.

 Today was the day to tackle the Kings Canyon Rim walk, a 6km walk that starts with 500 steps to the top of the canyon.



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The track then follows the rim passing through a variety of landscapes and with spectacular canyon views.




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  Being scared of heights I do not like steep drops ... or metal fences that pass over them ... 

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About halfway into the walk there is another set of stairs. You can either descend halfway down, cross the bridge and go up the stairs on the other side or continue down into the Garden of Eden.

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Don't skip the garden.


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Once back on top of the rim, but heading down the opposite side we stopped for some lunch and the boys climbed one of the rock domes.

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It wasn't long until we were descending back to the car park.


The afternoon was spent lazing the afternoon away at the resort. Followed by dinner at the restaurant which is actually pretty good.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This week's links ...

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My desk the morning after the midnight deadline for my essay. I had to take the Little Girl to pickup an award at her school sports presentation night before getting back home to cut 400 words from the essay. About half of that is now on the floor next to my desk after I pushed it all off so I had enough space to catch up my work. Clean up will be happening soon but first some links.

1.  We have a foam roller and I credit it with helping me stay running ... I roll my IT band everyday I run. Here's 11 self-massage techniques.

2. 15 Tips to improve your drawing skills.

3. Free Brush Style font (email subscription required).

4. Simplifying your digital life.

5. The value of remembering ordinary moments.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

This week's links ...

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 My morning run, long the beach between Pt. Lonsdale. and Queenscliff.  My longest run since I picked up running after my month long break, 8km.

Here's some links for your weekend ...

1. How to raise seedlings.

2. How to Use Evernote to Reduce Paper clutter.

3. BBQ Sauce. I've tried a few different BBQ sauce recipes, may give this one a go.

4. A Season to Gather Happiness.

5. Not doing it all.  Just do the things that matter most to you.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Unexpected gifts

I had my last class of Church: The quest for Christian Community today and realised that I have two weeks to finish my essay not one like I'd thought. Of course that meant that I didn't have to rush home and keep writing, a decidedly unappealing prospect after my early morning wake up and tech wrestles, followed by three hours of class. Instead a took advantage of a small oasis of time between getting home and needing to do the after school driving to water the garden, pick some broad beans and refill our leaky pond. Riley stole a broad bean out of the bowl while I was picking and would have stolen more if I'd let him. It reminded me of the kids sneaking out to the garden with a friend in tow when they were younger to snack on fresh picked pods. Some other little animal has been helping themselves to the broad beans so I stripped every last one which leaves me with a good offering for the communal table over the weekend.

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We head off to Pt. Lonsdale to spend the four day weekend with mum and dad (and possibly brother and sister?) tomorrow afternoon. I'm looking forward to some time reading, relaxing and some (but not as much as I had anticipated) essay writing.

The vegetable garden will need to be cleaned out when I get home to make way for some more tomato plants. The lettuces and other seeds I planted have made a start and a single self-seeded sweet pea is putting on a show. Another unexpected gift that gives me a lift every time I see it.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Melbourne to Alice springs Roadtrip: Day 10 Alice Springs to Kings Canyon

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Depart Alice Springs 8am.

Morning Tea Erlunder: 9:50-10:15am; 190km.

Lunch Kathleen Springs: 12:50pm; 253km

Kathleen Springs is located about 20km from the Kings Canyon Resort. There is an easy walk 2.4km to the spring fed waterhole at the end of Kathleen Gorge. Being one of only a few permanent water sources in the area, it was well used by cattle farmers. There are signs along the walk with information about the European and aboriginal history in the area.

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After our walk we drove on to our accomodation at Kings Canyon Resort. We chose to stay in a family room at the backpackers, sharing the shower block with the campground. To stay in the motel area would have been too costly as we couldn't all fit in one room. As it was we all shared a reasonable room but the shower and toilet block was not very clean when we got there so most of us decided to avoid the shower as much as possible. Luckily we would only be staying two nights. After settling in we went for another easy walk down Kings Creek.



From the end we got our first glimpse of the red cliffs.


Close to sunset a large proportion of the guests start to gather on the sunset viewing platform to enjoy the view. Many took some sunset drinks, or you could purchase at the small bar but we just enjoyed the changing colours of the cliffs as the sun dropped behind the horizon.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

This week's links ...

Back Creek


There was no dryland for The Little girl this morning so I didn't have time to squeeze in a run before picking her up. Instead I had breakfast and wrote 850 words of an essay, pushing my run back to mid-morning. That meant I could happily include the local, secluded Back Creek trail (pictured above) in my run.

I promised myself I would write 1000 words today ... that's a quarter of the total, and I've done that ... so now I have some spare time to post a little reading for your spare time.

1. I think I might be a little bit obsessed by travel journals ... take a peak here, here, here, here, and here.

2. Starting seeds in egg cartons. To avoid the problem of the too shallow container, use the whole egg carton and cut a flap in the top.

3. Breaking through puzzling situations ... is it despite or because. Insightful.

4. Humans vs. Monsters by Pip ... "I agree that it’s SUPER IMPORTANT to go through life with our eyes wide open, critically examining the ideas we come across from day-to-day and working out who ‘our people’ are and how we feel about stuff. But I DO feel a bit grossed out by the new default some have adopted – smack down, silence, dismiss or expose rather than ‘stop and consider the human behind the act/words/deed’."

5. A Place to Fall Apart  ... that would be the church at its best.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip: Day 9 Alice Springs and West MacDonells

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Today we started out at the Todd Mall market. The Big Girl loves to shop so was very happy I included some shopping on our trip. A mix of food, second hand goods and crafts. We picked up some yummy lemon curd donuts for our morning tea. The Big Girl also picked up some souvenirs for her school friends at the nearby shops.

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Next we headed just our of town to the old telegraph station. Site of the original settlement. Alice springs was built as a midway point between Darwin and Adelaide. The telegraph line had two teams building up out from Alice Springs to meet the teams building south from Darwin and north from Adelaide. Completion of the line allowed settlement throughout the outback.

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This spot was chosen because of the spring which also gave the town it's name.


We went on a short walk up to Trigg Hill and this guy was sitting on the path in front of us.


We had organised to meet our good friends out at Standley Chasm.  On the way we stopped at Flynn's Grave.

No mobile phone coverage means that it can be difficult to meet up but luckily just before we reached our agreed deadline to walk into the chasm our friends arrived. It is short easy walk into the chasm which is spectacular, with high red stone walls rising almost straight above the narrow creek bed.


Our last stop for the day was Simpson's Gap. We timed our visit for late afternoon to give us the best chance of seeing the Black-footed Rock-Wallabies. They were very difficult to spot but finally we saw some poking there heads up from the rocks high up in the gap walls.


Total driving distance while in Alice Springs: 571km

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Album: Weeks 14 and 15

I'm keeping up with my catch-up plan but I've decided not to post every page here which saves me a bit of time re-sizing and uploading, and also solves privacy issues when I have a lot of photos involving other people.

What we did Week 14: It was the last week of term for The Boy, while the girls were already on holidays for the Easter break. The Boy had his Passion Project Fair at school. They worked on a research project on any topic they were interested in for the whole term. The Boy researched plane design. Good Friday we went to church then headed down to the beach house. My sister was out from Singapore with her kids and my brother and his family were down too. Lots of food was eaten.

What we did Week 15: This was the week Riley came home to join our family ... but I'm getting ahead of myself. We forgot to have the Easter egg hunt on Sunday so we had ours Monday. Then holiday haircuts once we were back in Melbourne. Then Saturday we picked up Riley. I had so much fun putting together these pages because the photos of Riley were so cute and you do forget. I had a lot of photos this week so I made four pages. (not all the photos were of Riley, I also had a lot from Pt. Lonsdale) Here's two that do have a lot of Riley:

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

This week's links ...

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 I had a break over some of winter from running, mainly due to lots of colds and a couple of bouts of vertigo and it is so hard to get back into it. I'm persevering though and this week managed three 6km runs. Luckily for me Melbourne has some beautiful tracks to run. The photo above is a creek running next to a small section of path I ran this morning before breakfast ... although I do have another favourite path further along the creek which is plain dirt and a lot more secluded ... and so not really OK for early morning runs.

Here's some links for your weekend ...

1.  7 Photo Apps. I use VSCO and love it. I pretty much exclusively use the camera in this app, in fact I used it to take and edit the photo above.

2. The Best Pens for Writing.

3. Fabulous collection of DIY and craft projects.

4. Video: drawing planner icons.

5. A bit over the top I think but interesting all the same: A man who recorded every detail of his life for 5 years.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Album: Weeks 39 and 40

I can't believe I'm posting week 40 here. Where did the year go? Despite my good intentions I managed to get behind on this project so my new good intention each week is to complete the previous week plus catchup one week. I think by doing this I should complete the album on time.

What we did week 39: It was the second week of school holidays. BOOST juice was running the name game and The Big Girl's name came up on the Monday and mine on the Tuesday, so free Boosts for us. Unfortunately when we went to claim mine on Tuesday the girl said we had to have a Boost card. After a quick exchange via facebook and email I soon had a voucher coming to me in the mail and since I didn't make a special trip to Camberwell for my boost I wasn't too annoyed. The kids decorated their second batch of cupcakes for the holidays. The Big Girl has a food technology exam that involves decorating cupcakes so she was practicing. We went summer wardrobe shopping for the kids. The Little Girl's friends threw her a surprise birthday party and she celebrated her actual birthday on Sunday. We all went to Pt. Lonsdale and you can see some of what we did here.

The pages: Lots of photos that I wanted to include so four pages.
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What we did week 40: It was the last week of the school holidays. Hubby took Riley home with him Monday afternoon. Meanwhile Dad took The Boy back to Melbourne on some errands and I took the girls to see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. It was quite different from the book but I really liked it. I think the changes probably made it a better movie. Tuesday I took the kids for a walk along the Barwon River away from the ocean, then to Barwon Heads for a drink. Wednesday we headed back to Melbourne. Friday was the first time we had the Grand Final public holiday. We helped dad clearing out his factory so he can get it ready for a new tenant. Friday night Hubby, The Boy and I went out to friends for a BBQ. Saturday was AFL Grand Final Day. A very warm one. We went to friends who are Hawk's supporters to watch the game then have dinner. The Hawks won easily. Sunday Hubby took The Boy and The Big Girl to his parents place at Woodend to celebrate his mother's birthday. I took The Little Girl to Boroondara Rec Centre to swim the 400m freestyle at the MetroEast Distance Meet.

The pages: Two pages. Since the photo I chose as a full page one had a large expanse of white sky I decided to put the journaling on top and leave more room for photos on the other page.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Melbourne to Alice Springs Roadtrip Day 8: West MacDonell's

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

 We began our day by driving 135km out to Ormiston Gorge. The 7km Ormiston Pound walk is one of the regions best. The path begins by following the accewss road before dropping into the Ormiston Creek and then climbing up the outside of the Pound. AS always the kids set the pace ... and it was a cracking one, hills are done at about the same pace as flat, although Hubby specified that every 20mins they must stop for a drink break. The Little Girl set the timer on her watch.

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As you reach the top of the wall there is a small track that winds up to a lookout over the Pound. Quite steep and rocky it's worth the short climb for a magnificent view.

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As I said, the path is quite steep.

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Back on the main trail, there's a reasonably steep descent into the pound, then it winds across the Pound floor.

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I found the last part of the walk to be the hardest and although it was a small distance probably took us at least on hour of our three hours. For large sections we had to clamber over large boulders along the creek bed. The stunning red rock walls took my mind off my sore legs.

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There are a series of waterholes through the gorge. These are fairly permanent. With the water come the birds and we enjoyed spotting the tiny ones flitting through the trees.

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There is a cafe and toilets not far from the waterhole at the end of the gorge and also picnic tables were we could eat our lunch. On the way back to Alice Springs we stopped at the Ochre Pits located 25km from Ormiston Gorge. This Ochre deposit is still used by the local Arrarnta people and is a registered sacred site.


In Alice Springs we had just enough time to make a quick stop at the Museum of Central Australia for the girls and I while Hubby took The Boy to the Central Australian Aviation Museum.