Thursday, April 6, 2017

Failures and not.so.failures?


Hi there. Long time. Things are craaaaazy around here. My basil is going crazy. I thought it died on me but green shoots began to sprout and before I knew it there was still life in my plants and it's taken a whole 'life' on it's own? How crazy but good crazy. I feel like I should be making pesto every day. I don't. But maybe I should find more uses for basil. Actually my oregano and sage have exploded as well. Maybe I should start selling little bunches to my neighbours? Haa haa.


Finally made Sarah Wilson's Chia and Cacao bliss balls which was in my pantry for a while. I didn't add the whole cup of water this time. Just maybe half a cup so the mixture was thick enough to roll into balls. I gotta say my kids didn't take to them but I have eaten them all this week. Yummm.


I pledged to eat no meat during Lent so trying to find dinner dishes that require no meat is a bit interesting to say the least. The weather here in Sydney has been up and down so when it's wet and rainy I make curry. When it's sunny I make steamed barramundi. It's also been cooler going into Winter (June) so I like making hearty dishes. Curry is easy though and takes no time at all. Heat up your curry mixture, add coconut milk, fish and vegies and you're done. Serve on rice or noodles. Mmmmm.
My sister hooked me back into basketball. Sundays are tough because they're Unisex games and the guys are competitive. I got this black eye from the guy accidentally knocking me with his head. People at work think I was wearing eye-liner. Lol. I wonder what those people thought who were interviewing me and staring at my eye? I should have coloured in my other eye to match but I hardly wear eye makeup.


The thing about basketball is that you should wear the right shoes. I wear my runners. Not good if you're running around like a chicken. I twisted my right ankle during the last 5 minutes of my Unisex, It was game over for me but we still won the game by hitting two three pointers in the last minute. It didn't feel bad after the game but I should have iced it longer when I got home and not had a warm shower. Apparently, warm water makes the blood rush down there. I felt the pain not long after and I was in agony at night. I wanted someone to cut off my leg. That's how bad it was. I wondered how I could sleep through such agony, on my back with my leg up on a pillow but I prayed. I offered up my pain and took two panadols. I eventually did sleep the whole night. Imagine that.

Anyway, I shall survive. This week of also bad parenting failure... three kids off to school without sport uniforms and wore standard uniform instead. The youngest was a bit upset about being the odd one out. At least, the lost swim cap by 2nd grader was replaced for free! Eldest child I remembered today has sport and so did she. Phew. One more day to go. 

It's the last week of school. No homework! Yessssss.
Then Passion Week and Easter. I can't wait. 
Only good things to come I believe. Only good. 
Note to myself: Easter dresses and shoes. Check all kids.
Maybe hire a cleaner....

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January is almost over... almost.


We spent Australia Day (26th Jan) at Parramatta Park. Channel Nine's Morning Show was filming live from there and I waited to get a lovely photo with the every so classy Lisa Wilkinson. It was a really good day. We got up really early and got a short hot air balloon ride. They're tethered to cars so you only go up and down. My youngest daughter was a bit scared but it was fine.

Here are the boys going up with their dad. 


We also ended up watching the 9pm fireworks show. It was pretty awesome. At the end they had two sides going and you didn't know which way to look! They had these fireworks which seemed to stay like little clusters of colour in the sky. It was worth it. I'm glad they did it in the park. A few years ago it was in the park near the school and it wasn't that great. Too many people and not enough food stalls. This year there was a big section for the kids. The wait in line was rather lengthy though. Even during the evening. At least the local council allowed free parking so we didn't have to pay. The portable toilets were clean and it wasn't too hot and sunny.


I've been needing this side table for about a month now. When I couldn't find them in stock at any Kmart I placed an on-line order. After three weeks they couldn't find stock either and refunded my money. Then that same week I tried my luck at my local store and found they had four of them in stock. I grabbed two and happily went home to set them up. I'm no home decorator but these will be perfect when people come over and when we need to have our cups/ipads/tissues/barbie dolls in the lounge room


Someone also graduated Preschool and will start Kind this year. Wow! I'll have all my kids in school. People have been telling me that I'll have more time for myself but I find that hard to believe. Don't they know that I still work and I'll most likely be working full-time come this March/April if all goes well at work. Fingers crossed at least I'll get back into exercising and doing the whole life balance thing.

Anyway time to tick off a few more things on my list as school returns tomorrow for the bigger kids and then Kindy kicks off half days Thursday and Friday. What a week. We've been having a summer like no other. The weather has been crazy. This week has been above 35degrees (95 Fahrenheit) with the last two days 40Deg / 104 F. We have been at Wet N Wild or swimming at the pools. My kids are all dark and tanned and I can't wait til they go back to school. I really want to clean the house while they're gone this week, not that the tidyness will last but I am a wishful thinker.

Anyway, best get off my butt. Hope you mums are all ready for school or already have started this week. Hats off to you. I am exhausted just thinking about it...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy 2017: What we did in the holidays


Hyams Beach - Vincentia

Welcome back everyone! Happy New Year! Hope you had or are still having lots of fun these school holidays! Ours has been terrific. I remember last year wasn't great because it rained but this year Summer totally came to town and it was awesome. Christmas was lovely and then we hung out again at mums on New Years Eve and watched some free fireworks coming from somewhere unknown. Yes, we were up til midnight!


I got a new oven so I made cinnamon scrolls. I think I left them in for too long though as the top row got a bit too brown. Still, they were yum but I need to find the perfect recipe. If you have one let me know.


We had that wonderful Watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry. OMG it's so good.


And I finally got around to making those vine leave rolls. My mother in law would be so happy. She keeps giving me free vine leaves but I keep letting them rot in the fridge but I did have some spares in the freezer which made it easier to roll. I used a combination of this recipe*. Instead of adding those spices I did add the Arabic spice mix and I used some vegetable stock to boil them in. My in-laws tell me that adding the lemon at the end is better otherwise you get bitter taste. I didn't find that though when I added it during the boiling process. I didn't use that much parsley but added in a bunch of dill and mint. I may have used too much water as I ended up pouring some out at the end but my daughter said some as it keeps it juicy. It's so good. Do try it.

We are going to Nowra this Friday for two nights. We did go for a day trip last week (never gain, it takes forever to get there. My sisters are crazy!). Hyams beach was nice though even though the water was cold. I got parking really close which is a great bonus when you have kids. Just need to stock up on more dvd's for the car ride and I won't get lost on the way back this time.

I've been buying things for school and I can't wait for all my littlies to start. Especially my little one who starts Kindy! I bought a new printer from Big W when they had a sale on. Word of warning, if you buy a printer that uses Wifi, get one with an lcd panel. My new Canon MG3660 does not have one and it took forever to get it working. I ended up calling Canon Support and spent 30mins on the phone with the guy but he was really good. Also, the paper tray sticks out which I don't like. I liked my old Pixma MP560 but I stuffed it up by using another brand (Calidad) of cartridges and it doesn't print out colour well on paper. Still, this one works well and I can print off my iPad and mobile phone now too. I like Canon. It's reliable.

Now I'm back at work. Insert sad face.......

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Spirit


The kids nagged me about getting up our Christmas tree so we spent a good part of Saturday doing it. I didn't make the mistake last year of putting up the tree first and then putting up the icicle lights across the back. This time lights go up first, then the tree.
 
Much easier, especially when it's done by hubby. I did buy a new set of blue bulbs for the tree from Big W and the Merry Christmas sign under the t.v. matches them. I went with a blue and white theme (sort of) this year and I think it turned out nicely.



My son was meant to make a Nativity set for school. He is driving me nuts at the moment. He has been diagnosed with a combined type ADHD and his concentration levels are giving me and his father frustrations like no other.
 
Anyway, he was meant to bring in a shoebox and other bits to make a Nativity scene. I had remembered that I bought this panel of fabric from Spotlight a few years back because I thought it would come in handy one day. So it seems today my fabric hoarding is not for naught.
 
We started his project and eldest daughter helped me cut out the pieces. We decided not to use all the pieces. I sewed them up and the kids helped to stuff. Dad helped to do the big cardboard cut out. It turned out ok, I thought. But apparently the next day, his teacher said "You'll get an E if you use that!" Clearly not impressed it wasn't what she wanted. Ho hum.
 
So on Sunday afternoon he spent a few hours getting a shoebox version done instead. I didn't take a photo but it was nice too. This fabric Nativity now is situated in our lounge under the t.v. stand. I suppose it is kid safe since it can't be broken unlike our ceramic version we normally use.



I finally got a new diary from the bargain store. I normally umm and ahhh for a while at other shops before I bite the bullet and make a decision. It's cream, classic and week to view. I'm very happy with my purchase. Now I can start writing in things for next year because sometimes it's actually nice to write instead of inputting data into my phone.


Hubby made me lunch (for once). We are a bit health conscious since putting on weight after our trip and other celebrations. It's a very healthy deconstructed rice paper roll (without the rice paper). I just felt like sharing the picture.

Summer is hitting us down under. I hope it stays hot over Christmas. Last year it rained. Like ALOT. Like torrential rain as I was driving up to Port Stephens. This year I got a special deal because of the rain. So mid Dec we are going up there again and hopefully it'll be nice and warm. I can't wait. I really need a stress free holiday even though it won't really be stress free. I don't think life ever is after you have offspring. Lol.

So far I've bought most of my Christmas presents for the little ones but I like doing a bit of a round of shopping the week before Christmas. It's just fun looking at bargains. Not sure if we'll do the seafood market again this year. We can get the same prawns at the local fish shop. I do love Christmas food though (there goes the diet).

I have downloaded Nicole's Christmas Planning Checklist. I should really look at it again and actually use it. There's a lot of good items in this list that I totally forget up until the last minute.

Have you got any special plans for Christmas yet? Is it really the end of the year??? Already?


Thursday, November 3, 2016

San Francisco in One Day



Last year I met up with hubby in San Francisco after his work conference finished up. It was a long trip marred by the fact that I went to the wrong terminal and ended up missing my connecting flight. I also missed the second flight and wound up tearful and jetlagged while getting my ticket filled at the children's line at Southwest but the lady was nice enough to do it for me. I would have just cried otherwise. Then the first flight where my bags went was delayed by 5 hours so I was in SFO Airport requiring the baggage place to track it down and thankfully send it to me later to my hotel. Needless to say, I wanted to avoid this at all costs for this particular trip.

So, this time my bags were checked in again at LA to the baggage transfer people at LA and I was told to go to Terminal 7 , which is like a 10min walk outside of the building. I was messaging hubby at this time. Now that there are automated kiosks you don't need to wait in a big line to get your ticket. It's awesome but I suppose jobs were lost in this process. But a lot of kiosks are being used in the airports now so it really speeds things up.

I recommend this web link for how to transfer cheaply to Union Square: http://www.sftodo.com/sfo-airport-transit-bart.html

So I made it to SFO in one piece and no tears. I picked up my luggage and made my way up to the Airtrain terminal. I re-acquainted myself with the BART ticket to Powell St station ($8.95). In half an hour I met up with hubby and even though a bit jet lagged I was happy. It was nice and the sun was out.

First stop was leaving my bags at the Handlery Hotel and then we went straight to Macy's to the Cheesecake shop for lunch. This is me looking happy and tired knowing I can't sleep yet and would have to do Friday  all over again because I left Syd Fri morning and went back in time.


After a nice lunch and feeling completely full we decided to hit the road. Now let me tell you that San Francisco (they hate it being called San Fran apparently) has lots of peaks and low streets. We were basically at 45deg walking up the street from the Marina. To the Marina was fine but I was sweating it out on the way back. We also went into Lombard (Crooked) Street because we never did that last year. It was interesting. Lots of tourists there too.


        Walking up to the heart of Union Square. We rode the cable car again around to the Marina.


Another important note, wear comfortable shoes. I mean I had flat casual shoes on but there were a bit narrow and my feet were hurting from all the walking. We had popped into Ross for Less but I didn't feel like buying those $37 Skechers which would have made my day so I sufferred the consequences. I tried to have a nice day for the most part but there isn't much to do unless you want to jump on a rental bike or shop at Macy's.


We passed the Ghirardelli sign. Not sure if there's a choc store there. I'm sure there was but we weren't going to buy chocolate. So we finished our day with a quick shower at the Handlery (they let me use the pool shower even though it didn't warm up that much) and then back to the airport for two flights to NYC. Urghhh. By this time I was really over flying.

Do you have any memories of San Francisco? I'd love to hear about it.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Re-charging the batteries in NYC


Hi everyone. Sorry I've been away for a while. In New York City sans kids!!! I met up with hubby in San Francisco and we then went to the eastside. I can't tell you how jet-lagged I was by the end of this trip. Anyway, two more aeroplanes (and a half hour midnight delay in Chicago) later, we finally made it to New York. I'm liking all the new automated ticketing kiosks they are using these days though. I was a bit anxious about LAX but it wasn't as bad this time around. Plus, I was messaging hubby as to where I should be going. My luggage went straight through to NYC so I didn't need to pick it up and walked all the way out to Terminal 7. But I'll leave that drama for another time.






I can't remember much about Saturday (the day we landed) but I can tell you that Sunday morning we headed to church at St Patricks Cathedral. It's only a 7min or so walk from our hotel. New York is pretty easy to get around by foot. So wear comfy shoes. The Cathedral was spectacular. There were security personnel inside so it was very different to attending mass at home. Nevertheless there was a lot to see and the Bishop joined us at the end. There was a mass for the Polish community and a few of their dignitries and youth groups who attended. There were big screens all around so you couldn't miss what was happening on the altar. We loved it.



We took the subway down to the Twin Tower pools. They are in the place of where the Twin Towers use to be and the names of the fallen are engraved all around the pools. It was very sad and I felt so sad looking at the names and the names of Fire Brigades and Police departments who lost their lives in this terrible act of terror.



This was the other pool not far from the North Pool. Needless to say the South Pool is identical if not for the names engraved here. The water flows right into the middle and there's lots of tourists around. There was a memorial but I felt too sad to go inside. I would have just cried looking at it all.


This is m inside the Westfield that they built in the same area. It's right outside the subway entrance. You can get lost trying to find which exit to take to the pools or to see the World Tower which is taller than the Twin Tower buildings. The shops are expensive here so we didn't shop. The architecture was amazing though and very impressive. It was kind of like stepping into a space ship.



On our last day we squeezed in Central Park. I would have liked to do the carriage ride but it doesn't open until 10am. I was really disappointed because we had to check out of the hotel by 11am and we had to leave to get our flight back to LAX. We should have done it the day before when we were at Barney's (big mistake, just go to Macy's instead). Anyway it was cold like most of the days spent in NYC and here I am at some fountain.






This was taken from Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre). We didn't realise there are three levels. Everyone is crammed into the first observation deck but we saw people above us and kept finding stairs to the top two levels where it was less crowded. It was sprinkling on us at first but it stopped and we enjoyed the views although not particularly clear.



This was Times Square. It's normally packed with tourists and guys selling tickets for the buses. We didn't feel the need to get on the tourist buses. We just walked everywhere or took the subway. All in all we enjoyed our week there. I wish we could have stayed longer but the kids were home with limited sitters so we had to make do with what we could get.

I came back to birthdays, a wedding and work. I do feel better having a little break. Reviving our marriage and remembering what it means to be able to communicate our thoughts, feelings and needs had made a big difference to the way I live my life. Sure there are ups and downs but if I focus on making more ups happening and getting through the downs together I think we'll be fine. I'll be fine and that means the kids will benefit.

Next post.. my day back in San Francisco.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Happy Father's Day! Happy Birthday!

 
Most things with me are last minute. So for this Father's Day I didn't pick up anything until the day before the actual day. I actually wanted to pick this up last year but had that crazy idea that "hey, I could sew up one of these myself!" excuses and didn't end up buying him one. You sewists know that one!

So this year I went with the realisation that  "I've got no time to sew let alone do anything for myself" so I went with the wise choice of buying this little Lynx toiletries bag. It's a nice colour and size, comes with a body wash and body spray. He can use it when he goes off again to San Francisco at the end of this month.


No, it ain't Christmas, it's the rest of his Father's Day pressies (include the Lynx bag at the back) Can you guess that triangular shaped one in the middle? These are gifts the kids bought from school.

This is how you wrap a little bracelet. I call it the accidental fussy-cut package!
Make a rectangular pocket, tape it up and admire your handiwork.
I think it's pretty cute if I don't say do myself. He probably had no idea.

 He got this for me from one of the guys at work. It's very cute.
Can't wear it I'm afraid. It's only for tape.
 

My favourite person turned 10. I can't believe it. Double digits. We went out and watched a movie, ate dinner at restaurant with my sisters and her cousins and my mum. Then did a bit of shopping when we got home. She reckons the best part was the shopping! She is definitely her mother's daughter! Lol. She drives me crazy but I love her to bits. I got her icecream cake this time.

 It's gelato icecream and it was delicious. Great choice for all kids young and old.
There wasn't much left by the time I started cutting it.
 
We also had a fruit platter, just to be healthy. It was good too and the weather was nice and sunny. I can't believe it's week 8 already!! Arhhhhhh but closer to my trip to New York! More on that later.

I hope you had a great Sunday too!!!