Monday, July 17, 2017

The "it's as cold as ferk" garden edition


There's not too much excitement from around the garden in winter. Some rose pruning, loads of weeds, lots of rain.

I mowed the lawns yesterday and let the chooks out for a scratch around. They haven't laid any eggs for the last couple of weeks, and I don't blame them. It has been ridiculously cold. It is winter after all.

I was in awe of the rainbow I was blessed with as I drove down the driveway after school drop almost two weeks ago. We are in our last week of school holidays and so excited because our banana tree flower has opened to reveal a heap of bananas. The flower actually came out about a month ago, right before a week of severe frosts and I dreaded that any thought of bananas had been dashed forever. The leaves are severely frost bitten. We'll see how they go, surely it is too cold for any hope of a ripe banana anytime soon. I have a few friends who have these cool climate bananas that have had successful crops, just have to be patient I suppose.

There isn't much colour in the garden besides the camellias, hellebores, jonquils and surprisingly some gardenias. Rosemary plants are flowering now, and the mint is making a comeback from it's frosty die down. 

It has been raining a lot at night, with mainly sunny, cold days. I am watching the snow reports wishing I could lay in the snow and shape snow angels and catch snow flakes in my wintery gloves. Pat snow balls into snow men and poke twigs for arms and small rocks for eyes. We went to the snow with my neighbours last year, and I wish we were headed there this year. Ironic as it is, I am not a fan of the cold. I am longing for short sleeves and three quarter pants of the warmer Spring weather. 

We're off the warmer weather in a month or so, to QLD for this years holiday, which I will love to defrost my bones. I wish it was to sit back and relax, but we're off to the Goldie, to punish ourselves with the theme parks. Praying I don't need a holiday, from our holiday with kids and a hubby who is a huge kid without a responsible bone in his body. Thankfully we are not staying in school holidays, which will make our visit easier.















Do you go on an annual family holiday? Got any good tips for surviving the Gold Coast theme parks? 



Monday, July 10, 2017

Five crafty activites to keep kids busy these school holidays

Our school holidays here in SA have just started. Two whole weeks to try and not hate my kids company by the end of it! If the weather is crap I need to be prepared with things for them to do.

All you need to do all of these crafts is a printer stacked with a lot of paper, colouring pencils or textas, glue and your blinders on to the mess that might ensue! 

Busy kids are happy kids I say! Here's a few of the things I am preparing and printing out, so I am ready for when they say "I'm bored". Or in the case of my lovely girls, before they start picking on each other, hair pulling, or stage a fight bigger than last weeks welterweight world title bout. 

LET'S GET READY TO MAKE SHIIIIIIIT! Yes I did just slide that in... or in the case of my kids, who love cutting and making stuff with paper, replace shit with mess. Same diff really.

Fold a doll's house from Kate at Picklebums. I know my girls are going to love this one. This was Isabel's effort over the weekend.



Flextangles from Ana at Babble Dabble Do. This may be the very thing to keep those idle fingers busy these holidays, a certain rival for fidget spinners. It is amazing they way that they work. If you're kids are keen Pokemon fans they will love these  Pokemon evolution flextangles!






Toilet Paper tube puppets is one of my go to holiday activities. Toilet roll tubes are something we have a never ending supply of and there are tons of different designs. How do you like my toilet roll tooth fairy?

Twirly fish by Piikea Street. They really twirl when dropped from a height. If you have a few paper plates handy, these paper plate fish are EASY to make too. 



Over the last christmas holidays I printed out a christmas themed bingo game for the girls. They love it and still play any old time of the year. I have laminated the cards so they last longer. DKTK  have a Bingo card generator so you can let the kids design and print out their own game, which will hopefully keep them busy so you can sit down with a nice cup of tea.

I had forgotten all about the game of paddicks I posted back in 2014, so you get a bonus to keep the kids occupied. 

It involves each person take turns connecting the dots on a page with a line. When a box is formed, the player puts their initial in the box. When the page is full of 'paddicks', the player with the most formed is the winner.There is a printable page available to save you having to draw all those dots!

How do you keep your kids happy in the holidays? I might need some extra ideas!





Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Half yearly round up for 2017

I was excited about this year. It was a new beginning, who knew what it would bring. I do believe that this will be a year I will never forget.

Summer started school at the end of January. I am so proud of her, she's a social butterfly and floats easily amongst her peers. 

I am still in awe watching my third child learn. Five year olds are amazing little beings.

In February, I started my gymnastics coaching journey, enrolling in the Beginner gymnastics coaching course with Gymastics Australia. At the end I was able to coach under supervision.

I followed with the Intermediate coaching course, with Kindergym for 0-5 year olds as my gymsport, which I completed at the end of March, with 20 hours experience at the club, and a two day practical course in Adelaide. This was the first time in about ten years I had been away for the weekend without all my people, being husband and kids. It was liberating, and I didn't miss them one little bit!

Back to the beginning of March, and I lost my Gran. She had been slowly fading away, and with a few snowballing health problems the previous few weeks, she passed away at the age of 87.


She actually died the same day my son Jake, was readmitted into the mental health ward at the Mount Gambier hospital. I had the holiday house to clean that day after and drove around with all the emotions bubbling on the surface. I drove around with Metallica playing full noise for that week, it helped me through the emotions and the motions. I cried a lot! 

We buried my Granny Wanda the following Friday. Jake wasn't there. I stood next to my sisters and my mums cousin Fay. I will never forget it. Her coffin was draped with her crocheted Crows blanket, beanie and scarf, and a fishing rod. She was well known for her fishing on the Southend jetty. Her only living sibling, Nora, was seated in front of us.

I cleaned my sons house while he was in hospital, there was spit on the walls, seemingly tainted with red wine, to try to dull the voices. Dirty surfaces. His belongings were all packed lined up along one wall of the lounge room. The psych said it was common with Schizophrenics to pack, ready to flee, from an imaginary enemy. She had known of them moving around the country, with kids in tow even, in the fear of someone chasing them.

I cannot the imagine the despair and turmoil going through his mind at that time. I wish he had been diagnosed earlier. I am ever so grateful for the police for understanding, and for their help along with the ambos to get him back to the mental health ward in Mount Gambier. This was the turning point in getting him the help and support he really needed. I could have never have done it on my own, and who knows what could have become of him and the further anguish that our family would have been through.

He had previously been admitted for two weeks. Forcably by the police, on request from us, his family, and diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Obviously two weeks wasn't enough, for him not to be in that hospital environment on a new medication. He took his first weeks medication out of hospital in one night, in an attempt to be rid of the voices.

His second admission, was for three weeks. The medication by that time had kicked in and I can see it working now, we have our boy back (even though he is a man). It has been a long road since he was a teenager when all of these behaviours started to reveal themselves. It makes me sad that it has taken this long to have a diagnosis. It makes me sad, and finally happy that he crossed paths with a psychiatrist that saw his psychosis first hand. Jake had become a master at hiding it away.

That it wasn't fobbed off as bad boy behaviour, or drugs and alcohol. Don't get me wrong, there were drugs and alcohol involved. I will never forget the insane back and forth from him that night when I got a phone call from the coppers to come and help to try convince him to get in the ambulance. One minute he was in defiance to go, because it was a waste of time, because they(the doctors) didn't do anything to help, and the next minute crying in desperation because he just wanted the voices to stop, so he could sleep.

He's now doing well and has a fellow from MIND that visits him every week. An appointment with a clinical mental health nurse every fortnight, and regular follow up appointments with a visiting psychiatrist and with the psychiatrist, who, when faced with a 24 year old who begged for help to get the people with microcomputers to stop talking in his brain, made the diagnosis. I can only be grateful.

The same week this all happened, I met with a holiday house owner in Rendelsham and started as her house cleaner. She lives in Adelaide, and lets me know when she has holiday renters, and I set up and go clean afterwards. 

To say that I begun 2017 with my feet hitting the ground running would be an understatement!

In April at the start of Term 2, I lead my first Kindergym class. I loved it and was so pumped up and excited to do the second class, and no one turned up so I had to wait unitl the following week. I did the lesson plan for the next week that afternoon, I was so in the zone!

I am about to finish my first full term of  Kindergym, and am so proud that I jumped over that cliff of uncertainty and just went for it. I you told me a year ago, I would be working at the gymnastics club I would have told you where to get off. 

It has actually come at the right time, and fit in perfectly. Both the girls are at school now, leaving me with some spare time, a small wage,  and I get school holidays off! My fellow Kindergym coach has just announced she is leaving at the end of year, so eventually I will move into taking Kindergym two days per week, and possibly a Tiny Tots (five year olds) class or two a week. Who would have thought?!

I felt like a rock star earlier this week in Woolies, when coming across a couple of sisters that take my Kindergym classes. It is lovely that they stop to say hello and have a little chat. 

Without further or do, here is a little video with some highlights from the last six months.







Sometimes I surprise myself and blog on a Tuesday. Linking with Kylie.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Taking stock - the July edition

This is my second Taking Stock post, inspired by many other bloggers who have taken Pip, from Meet me at Mikes' lead.




Making: Chocolate cake for school recess, because there is nothing except a packet of twisties in the pantry.

Realising: My wine glass is empty!

Cooking: Shephards pie made with the tunisian spice mix I posted last week. I added after browning the mince. It was good! Hubby is taking the leftovers for work. I used mashed potatoes on top of the mince, but when I make it again, I might try sweet potato.

Drinking: Not enough water. Have to get into the habit of drinking more water. 

Reading: Making an real attempt to stop wasting time perusing Facebook, and to connect by reading more blogs and linking up more places. 

A new blog I am enjoying reading is Extraordinarily Ordinary, by a former local girl, Jess. She lives in WA now with her husband Jeff. She writes about life with three boys, who are all on the autism spectrum. She is doing an awesome job with her new blogging venture.

Wanting: To order some more of Leanda Michelles', Write to Heal essential oil blend. She has just featured all of the oils and how they relate to the Chakras on her Facebook page, and it's made me want more after running out earlier in the year. My favourite place to roll it on was my neck and wrists, and am feeling the need for it's calming and relaxing qualities. 

Looking: At my newly cleared garden patch. We've managed to kill off most of the ivy, and hubby cleaned up one of the garden beds where it had taken over. It is so good to see the garden bones that I created about 15 years ago. It is also exciting because I can replant! Look out garden centres, I am coming!





Pondering: Running away for a week. I wonder if anyone will notice I have gone?!

Enjoying: Having the opportunity to take some time for me. I had a peaceful few days at home last week where I could catch up looking after myself. 

Waiting: Our holiday home is listed on the Stayz website, but this week I listed it on Airbnb. So waiting for our first booking through them! We stayed there over the weekend. It was bloody cold down the beach, so not holding my breath that anyone would want to come and stay. While I was down at Blackfellows Caves though,  fishing with Izzy, we met some tourists who were staying at a house there, so there is hope. It is pretty quiet during winter, holiday rentalwise.

Liking: That the cat has been desexed and we can let it outside without the fear of it getting pregnant. The cat we got for nothing, has turned into a two hundred dollar cat! We took it with us to the holiday house, the lace curtains have suffered. It's not coming again!

Wondering: If when I ring at eight o'clock, I will actually get an appointment at the doctors surgery for my son. He needs scripts. I rang on Friday and they are fully booked all week! So it's up to ringing in the morning to try to get one of the appointments that open up. You would think that a schizophrenic who needs a script for meds would have one of those appointments before having to ring at stupid oclock. Got me fucked.

Loving: The gorgeous winter sunsets and sunrises we are getting at the moment. It's keeping the hope of warm sunny days alive. It has been biting cold the last couple of weeks, I am not a fan.

Listening: Next terms Kindergym theme is 'Under the sea', so I am listening to songs for children that I can incorporate with warm up and cool downs. I have an old phone that I am purposing for music only, that I can stream via bluetooth to the gyms sound system. Makes my job a lot easier. Trouble is I keep misplacing the phone during warm ups! I am finding some good songs on You tube that I can use.

Considering: Going to bed and finishing this post in the morning! Summer has just come out of her room and wants me to lay down with her.  

Buying: More bandaids. I cut myself quite badly a week ago while preparing dinner, but I am running out of bandaids. I am relieved at how well it is healing. It was touch and go in my head whether to go to the ER, but it's all good now. Amazing actually.

Watching: The Voice finale. How awesome these young people get such a fantastic opportunity. Boy George was one of my faves when I was a teenager. I had a scrap book with pages and pages of pictures cut out of magazines of Boy George and The Culture Club. It was a bit of an obsession! Not just them either, all sorts of eighties bands, made it into the pages of that scrap book, not to mention the four walls of my bedroom!

Hoping: I remember the bucket behind my car in the morning, when I take the kids to school. Izzy caught two fish on Sunday morning. She wanted to bring one home in a bucket with sea water in it. It is still on the ground behind my car. She caught rock cod, which aren't the best eating, I don't mind them, but I think the cat will get this one. 




Marvelling: At my mad cleaning skills. After returning home from our weekend away, I managed to get most of the washing done and the stack of dishes I left on the sink before we went away. I usually like to leave the house clean before we go away, so that I can walk back inot a clean house. I just could not be bothered on Friday.

Cringing: at the look of my banana tree after the frosts. It looks so sad and dreadful. The fruiting flower was jsut coming out too. I wonder if it will last through winter, I hope so.

Needing:  To repaint my toenails! I guess it's one of those winter things that don't get done as often, like shaving my legs, which I actually did do a couple of weeks ago! 

Questioning: If I need to write when bills are due in my diary, as I realised earlier in the week, I had been driving around without a licence for 10 days. It happened last time too, for three weeks! Lucky the coppers didn't pull me over.

Smelling: Jonquils! They are flowering in the garden right now, and I am eyeing them off to bring inside. It's feels like ages since I had flowers from the garden on my table, and it has been!

Wearing: Ha. Right now. A black hoodie and aqua leopard print pyjama pants. Otherwise, mostly trackpants and hoodies with runners during the day. Easy warm winter clothes to throw on in the mornings. Not much winter style going on here lately.

Following: bronzfinepix on instagram. She is a local photographer, who took out the local council photo competition, with her autumn trees shot at Mt Burr. Ive been following her for a while and was stoked that she won.

Noticing: That the filters in my reverse cycle air conditioner may need cleaning. The heating has been on for a while and I still feel cold.

Thinking: I should make some more patch work blankets. There have been a couple that have perished because of age, and I love the look of a patchwork blanket. Would be a good excuse to visit the fabric shop. Plus I have taken a few of our blankets to the holiday house, for the renters and there's not enough to go around here ;)

Admiring: The fit people about the place who actually get out and exercise. I need to do that, probably just walking, and lose some extra flab. I am more likely to get more use out of the winter clothes that are a bit tight in my wardrobe.

Getting: Sick of feeling like I do everything around here. I have made a pact with myself, that I ask for help from the other half, that doesn't sound like I am barking orders. I think that is just it. I need to deligate responsibility to the person who should be helping me out, and not feel resentful, just because he doesn't know what needs doing.

Disliking: How quickly my floors get dirty. 

Opening: Well hopefully if I remember, a new tub of Gumption. My kitchen sink needs a good going over. I have found this the best thing to get it sparkling in no time.

Giggling: Facebook has been giving me some giggles via the Puns page this week. If only my Facebook feed was full of good stuff. I have just been through my feed and unliked the pages that post click bait, my feed is much better for it. 





Feeling: Sorry for my Mum, her falsies broke last week and she couldn't get an appointment til Wednesday this week. You should have seen the look on Summer's face when she saw her Nanna with no top teeth! I was trying hard not to laugh.

Celebrating: Surviving my first term of leading Kindergym at my local gymnastics club. My last lesson is actually Thursday. The best thing is, I get to do it all again next term. 

Pretending: My kids are asleep. I am in denial that one of them will come out and say they need something or for me to lay down with them. 

Embracing: The school holidays which start on Friday. I cannot wait to sleep in past 7 am. I hope my kids will comply!



Joining Denyse for #lifethisweek



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tunisian lentil, chickpea and pumpkin casserole

In an attempt to warm myself up from the inside out earlier in the week, I made this comforting veggie casserole. The recipe is inspired by a recipe in the Maza gourmet foods recipe book. Although they sell spice mixes, I prefer to make my own with the spices in my pantry, googling spice blend recipes and experimenting. I have a few different spice mixes written down in my recipe scrap books now I used all the time, including my own taco mix blend.

I did however buy a jar of preserved lemons from the Maza foods market stall at the Rendelsham village market in February.




Tunisian spice mix 

3 Tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 pinches cayenne pepper

Mix all together. Place in a clean jar, label and keep in the pantry. There's enough of the spice mix to make the following recipe twice. Other than than it's good to use from savoury beef mince to sprinkle over veggies before baking.

How to make Lentil, chickpea and pumpkin casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons Tunisian spice mix
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
2 cups pumpkin, about 1cm cubes
2 cups water
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas
2 cans brown lentils
chopped parsley
half a preserved lemon, washed and chopped finely.


Heat oil over a medium heat and cook onion until soft. Add spice mix and garlic and heat through the spices, while stirring. After a minute, add a little water, a tablespoon, so the spices don't burn.

Add pumpkin, stir, then tomatoes and finally water. Bring to a boil.

Add chickpeas and lentils, stir to combine. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft and is nice and saucy.

Stir through preserved lemon and parsley.

I like it served with a dollop of natural yogurt and sprinkled with fresh herbs, like parsley, mint or coriander.







Joining Leanne for #lovinglife

Monday, June 26, 2017

Croc Family Robinson(O'Brien)


  • This post contains affiliate links, that if lead to a sale, would mean I would receive a small commission

I know it's the middle of winter, but my post today is about Crocs, amongst other things, or the knock offs our family are currently wearing.


hubby's fave footwear and the chilluns

My hubby loves his Crocs. I can't remember what happened to his last pair, probably a blow out of some sort, but he went looking for new ones and found them at Rivers, on sale no less, at five dollars a pair. He bought two and has one stashed away for when the other ones die and go to shoe heaven, namely the red bin, or in his case occasionally the yellow recycling bin, because sometimes, god love him,  he doesn't get the yellow bin concept.

In his absolute Croc loving bargain buying excitement, he decided the whole family needed a pair of the fantastic creation that is the Croc. He channelled his inner Oprah, and we all got a pair.

My son even has a pair, and I kinda cringe when he happily wears them out and about, with socks no less! His choice. He has Aspergers, and if he's happy and comfortable, I am happy.

Now they come in awesomely handy when I want the girls to throw on something in a hurry. Awesome, and they love their rubbery, spongy footwear.

Mine live at the back door. I think they rock for feeding the chooks, or ducking out into the garden to cut some herbs or to gather lettuce. But when he declares we should all wear them on our impending Queensland holiday, I am pushing the 'No way Jose' button. These babies, even though he picked a pretty cool colour, are NOT venturing past the letter box sunshine! Whereas, he wears them everywhere, and if we were church going people, he'd probably wear them there too!


my lovely department store yard shoes ;)


Sharing this post with Denyse for #lifethisweek



Monday, June 19, 2017

My tips for making Sushi rolls



Sushi rolls are one of those recipes I make every now and again. I seem to get a craving for that seaweed flavour with the mayo and fillings.

My son LOVES sushi, and when I deliver it to his house, he delves straight in. It's one of those Mums' cooking things, and I hope it's one of the recipes he remembers me for. I am totes hoping that when he buys it somewhere else he thinks, it's not the same as Mums. In a good way. I would have never thought when he was a little boy, that one day, my favourite thing to drop off at his house food wise, would be sushi rolls! I even take a little tub of soy sauce, along with a lot of love.

I've been making sushi rolls for what seems like forever, but I think it's been about six or seven years. Long enough to not have a recipe written down anywhere. So when someone asks, I can't give them one. Just advice, from trial and error of making them myself.


When you buy sushi rice, or nori sheets(in my woolworths, both found in the pasta, rice, asian cooking aisle) there is a sushi roll recipe on the packet. 

I cook the rice according to the absorption method on the packet. Make sure you don't take the lid off to often, the simmer is at the lowest, and don't be afraid to add a little more water if needed. The rice really absorbs the water fast!

Two cups of uncooked rice will make about six rolls.

When the rice has cooled a bit, mix in the rice wine vinegar. I use a little less than the instructions say on the rice packet, the nori sheet packet says to use less, so find a balance that you like. Place in the fridge straight away and cool down. Don't use the rice to make your rolls if it is still hot.

My favourite protein fillings are seafood, whether that be smoked salmon(yum yum) or processed crab meat, or chicken.

The day I took these photos, I used left over meat from honey soy chicken wings, from the night before.

I made my own homemade mayo with grainy mustard. As an alternative to that, use whole egg mayo, or kewpie mayonnaise, with mustard or wasabi mixed in to flavour. 

Have all your ingredients and utensils ready and layed out around your rolling mat/teatowel before you start assembling. Have a plate ready to place your rolls on to go in the fridge before cutting into sections.
You really dont need a bamboo rolling mat, save your money and use a clean tea towel.

Place the nori sheet with the ridges facing up, and the shiny side facing down.


Spread the rice with wet fingers and a wet spoon as it can get a bit sticky, to a thickness of about 7mm, not quite one centimetre.


Make sure you leave about 3 cm at the top of the nori sheet with no rice.

Place a line of mayo, in a line across the rice, about half way.


Lay the meat over the mayo and add the other ingredients, like avocado, carrot or cucumber.

Start rolling the nori sheet, holding the filling in place as you roll. Not too tightly, as the nori sheet will split.


Just before you close that roll, brush some water at the end of the nori sheet. This will help the end of the roll seal.


When cutting the whole sushi rolls into 2-3 centimetre sections, use a chopping board and a sharp, wet knife to get a clean cut.

You will need to wipe down and re-wet the knife with cold water after a couple of cuts, as the rice will dirty the knife and the cuts will become less effective.

I hope this helps and gives you all a little more confidence to have a go at sushi rolls yourself :)




Monday, June 12, 2017

Winter gardens and taking the groceries out


I took these first two photos on the way home from Pelican Point on Friday. Being a long weekend, we had people renting our house, and I'd been over to mow the lawns and turn everything on. The colour in the turning leaves of the trees begged me to pull over and capture their golden glow. I loved the way the leaves danced about when I drove through. There were quite a few leaves floating down to the ground while I was parked there.

The weather has most definitely turned and we found that no more than yesterday when we drove to Lake Leake for a barbeque. It did not take long after we arrived, to decide to turn around and go home, deciding we'd just taken the bread, sausages and sauce out for a drive in the countryside. It was freezing and should have known by the clouds hanging over the pine forests nearby. I didn't even get the camera out the bag for some shots of the lake!



Not much is happening in the garden, except for frost damage. The poor banana tree has copped it and the capsicums and eggplants, that should have been pulled out already (I have been slack, or busy. You choose the excuse) are just sticks with dead leaves on them. 

There is a little colour about, and my lettuce plants are booming, I was a little worried with the frosts, but they came through beautifully. It feels amazing to not have to buy lettuce at the supermarket! 



Jonquils are starting to flower, one of my favourite things that happen in the garden at this time of year. The white ones are first, the yellow ones will follow a little later.

We felt sorry for poor old Peppi shivering in the mornings, Brett went down and bought him a blue puffy jacket, with a hood even! We got such a laugh when we first put it on him.



 I am counting down the days when the temperature climbs above 18 degrees again. Although the kids were so excited during the week to see ice all over the lawns on the way to school. I've taken to presetting the heating to come on before I get up. Too darn cold!

I warned the kids not to play in the ice when they got to school, and I am the one this long weekend that has come down with a bloody flu, hoping I am on the mend now. I have a holiday house to clean today and ours tomorrow! 

Still having trouble deciding which photos to enter into the annual local council photo competition. It is coming down to how much money I can afford to spend on printing and also the entry fee for each photo. First world problems of course. Doing my head in.

How are you coping with the winter cold? Ever taken your groceries out for a drive for the day?