Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Feeling Thankful


We are finishing the month of Mary with a procession around the block and Mass. It's a devotion to Mary which brings us closer to her son Jesus. At a time when the world is in turmoil and to hear about the Manchester attack on young children was truly heartbreaking. Our Mother Mary has revealed to us that through the power of prayer we can change the hearts of others. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fatima. If you would like a good read about this powerful event please read here: http://www.fatima.org/essentials/facts/story1.asp



We attended our annual Church Gala and it was fun. It's lovely to be out without the kids. Lol. We don't do it often. This was at Clarence House in Belmore. It's a lovely venue and I was told it was closing down at the end of the year due to lease issues. There was lots of room on the dance floor and the walls were pretty.

These napkin rings were a nice touch too.


They served up a pasta as a starter and it had pine-nuts and cream. It was nice. My kids would have eaten it. I love having anti-pasto at weddings and events like this. Feta, cheese, ham, proscuitto, tabouli.. oh heaven.


I had the fish while hubby had the lamb shank. It was not bad. A bit dry but still nice. Hubby said the lamb shank was tasteless. The chocolate mousse was also dry but his pannacotta was yum.



On the weekend I went for a walk to the shopping centre with the kids. I wanted to get them out and it was nice to leave the car at home. The weather is starting to get colder so the more sun now, the better before the doom and gloom.

This week is going to be a big one for me. I'm doing a birthday party for Elijah who turns 6 and I'll be turning a significant number as well this week. I haven't come to terms with it yet. Since my ankle injury my knee is also getting sore after a game. I'm definately feeling older and I am not comfortable with it yet. My boss told me at least we both do not look our age. Thank God for that, right?

I haven't decided what I'll be doing but I will surely pamper myself on my day off. Is it wierd to think about sewing?? At least I booked what I needed for his birthday and I know one of this friends will attend from school. At this age he doesn't really play with anyone. He doesn't seem to care if his classmates come or not. He said he's too shy to give them invites. Oh dear.... at least his cousins will come.

If you have any suggestions for me on birthday ideas please let me know. So far I bought a banner and hired a face painter. The bowling alley will do the table and plates etc. I don't want to go overboard. I'm just looking forward to the pizza. It's delicious.

Anyway, have a great week.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Activities


I was looking forward to the kids first school break. I needed the break after Easter but didn't take the full two and a half weeks my kids had off. We still ended up doing a really nice bike long bike ride with daddy and a few helpful nephews. There were bike tantrums, but we made it to the Armory and had a wonderful lunch picnic. Since it was a public holiday there was long wait to be seated in the cafe so we got takeaway instead. The food was fresh and tasted pretty good. Then we took the ferry back home. The kids were tired and it was a nice day. I like bike riding but with four kids and varying levels we needed extra help with the younger kids.


Another outing we took was to a park and they had laid out wreaths in honour of the veterans and soldiers for the ANZACs. The park was pretty cool. They had these automated voice recordings about each separate event that occurred during the time of World War I. It was really moving to hear about it.


The kids had a bit of a play in the sand and activity area which was good. I really need to get my kids out and about. They tend to spend way too much time on their bums. Do you have this problem as well? I'm finding that the older ones are putting on unnecessary weight around their waistlines. I'm not saying they are fat but they have a sedentary lifestyle at home which I need to change. I'm going to have to start putting them into sports which means I'll be doing more running around in the evenings.



I did some sewing and was asked to over-lock this satin fabric for my sister -in-law. It's the month of Mary which for Catholics, means we have a devotion to Mary, mother of Christ and she has the statue from church this Friday. All gather at her place to pray the rosary and ask her for her intercession. They place the statue of Mary so she is off the floor and so this satin will be placed on the table and flowers will decorate the base of the statue. I started off overlocking the edges and then realised I could use a rolled hem instead and it would look prettier. It was a lot of fun to see it come out all nice and rolled together. I hope she likes it.



Someone at school got Class Captain. I think he's more of a class clown but I was so proud and happy for him. Sure he lost the pin on the second day but it was my fault because I don't think I pinned it on properly for him. Thankfully in the morning, his brother asked the office if anyone had handed it in and about half an hour later they called him to the office to pick it up. Awesome.


Here's a pic taken by my son of me back in the game. My ankle has recovered mostly but my sister says I'll always have ankle issues from now on. Great. When I did my ankle I felt a bit sad because I received two negative comments. One friend frowned about me playing basketball and hubby said I was trying to re-live my youth. It made me question whether this comment was true or not but I realised that it has nothing to do with age or what they think. It's about what basketball gives me: time for myself, physical activity, emotional well-being... etc. So don't let anyone's negative comments make you think twice about giving time for yourself.

"You deserve it and it benefits others when you are in a positive mind space." Enough said.

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.