Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't you hate it when?

Sometimes the decisions I make are questionable..............Case in point, I bought some chicken thighs from Aldi last week and they were a bit wiffy in the pack when I got them home but rather than ditching them I still put them in the freezer, when deciding to cook them up later in the week I defrosted them and then the whiff was not instilling me with confidence as to their freshness so clever me opted to ditch them into the bin.

A few days later the otto bin has been warming up the raw chicken and there is now a serious whiff coming from out of the bin. I am feeling for my neighbours as the bin is sitting right near two of their bedroom windows. Thank goodness Wednesday is bin collection day as the whiff is nauseating.

Stupid, stupid me........yuk, yuk

I went walking......what did you see?

Today was a new day to start some a new habit; attempting to get out for a walk in the morning before it gets too hot and humid.

With Emily walking beside me and Josh peering out from his pram we hoofed it down to the local Coles and whilst walking together we noticed some funny things.

It is interesting how observant little people are. A man walked past us with out a shirt on. So Emily commented to me "Mum, that man has no shirt on", "Why doesn't he have a shirt on", "We can see his boobies". The man promptly put his shirt on, perhaps he over heard us!

On our return walk we happened to hear a bleating sound that was much like a goat. It seemed a bit odd that there would be a goat around but chained to the fence on a building site (being cleared for a new house) there was a little black goat bleating away with nobody paying it any attention. Not really the kind of animal you would expect to see, I wondered who it belonged to?

Then to top it off I like sticky beaking into other peoples front gardens. I noticed that one house had very bright coloured potted flowers lined up in front of the wall of the house. They were very bright indeed so much so that I realised they weren't even real.......they were plastic flowers. Who puts plastic flowers in pots along the front of the their house. Interesting indeed.

So, when you went walking recently, what did you see?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Half way to three

Look at that face!

Little J is half way to three! Not quite a big boy but no longer a baby. Still crying as the main way to communicate a need but learning new words every day. Relishing in his play mate Emily and trying to copy all the things she does, whilst learning to be independent. But most of all loves cuddles or "cuggles" as he calls them, rumbling around on the floor with Emily, his bath time nuddy run, and patting the "gog" aka Zorro

This age is so beautiful, I wish I could bottle it up so I never forget what he was like.

Love you Little J

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A snapshot

Gee whiz, my plans to blog reguarly have not quiet come to fruition. It seems that at the end of the day I either can't bargain my way on the to the PC with Ashley or the couch looks more comfortable than the PC chair. I do however have lots of ideas of what to write so thought I would get back into the swing of things with a condensed version of what we have been up to since my last post.
So here goes, we have been
Swapping postcards with other bloggers.

Watching the paving contractor make laying this square of paving look super easy. It took him only five hours!
Enjoying the use of everyday household items as play things. In this picture Emily & Josh are pretending that these bowls are indeed space helmets.

Finding new places to play hide and seek in the house.

Enjoying babycinos for morning tea now that we have our coffee machine fixed. Boy, how we missed them.

And finally, copying Playschool art ideas. After seeing printing with cookie cutters one morning Emily decided it would be fun to have a go as well
So, there you are, these are some of the things we have been up to. And just in case you were wondering, I think the microwave safe has deterred the mouse and we have not had any visits of late (yeehah!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The safe

Any guesses as to what the food is doing in the microwave ?
Unfortunately it is the only secure place in the kitchen where a new mousey visitor can't eat the food!
For the past week or maybe a little longer we have tried to capture it but alas it is not tempted by peanut butter, cheese or bread. Emily suggested banana but I didn't think it would have the taste for it as it seems it's favourite food is always inside something plastic that it needs to rip open.
Ashley and I have named it the iron mouse as it seems that nothing will tempt it....time to consider some hard core stuff like bait or perhaps we need to borrow a cat for a night!
In the meantime excuse me while I go and unload the microwave of the bread so I can make some toast for breakfast.
Have a great day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The start of a market garden, perhaps?

Since first starting my vegie garden last spring I have come to enjoy spending time outside playing around in the little square. Of late I have grown beetroot, garlic, silverbeet, onions and lettuce. As part of the backyard project I wanted to incorporate some new garden beds to expand my planting space enable a bigger and more varied type of crop to be planted.

So after another day spent slogging it out Ash constructed 2 of 3 new beds for the expanded vegies. This is what they look like, 1.2 x 1.2 constructed out of ACQ treated pine (arsenic free) and stained in merbau. Looks pretty good hey! I will have to repost another photo in 2 months time when it is full of green growing goodness.

Whilst I will never have the time or resources to have an actual backyard market garden I am looking forward to increasing our produce to share more with family and friends.

Now to start planning what to plant! That is tonight's job.


Some firsts for little J

Around 8 weeks ago at 16 months Joshua learned to walk so I figured it was about time for some shoes. There is something so adorably cute about shopping for a pair of first shoes, I decided that these were just right for a first pair. I like the idea of keeping the first ever pair of shoes as a bit of a keepsake. I kept Em's first pink pair and I know that my Mum kept my first shoes.

So here they are! Already broken in after a play around at the park this afternoon

Emily joined in as well, having always wanted a pair of sparkly shoes I decided that she was old enough to appreciate them and they do look like cinderella slippers which is what she has nick named them. Perfect for wearing with dresses and skirts for summertime fun.

But the most exciting activity of the day was Joshua's first haircut. Some passer bys were heard to confuse his gender in the past week due I would imagine to the length of his mop which has been growing at some rate since his birth so off to the local men's barber to see if they could help.

A lovely lady spent a good 10 minutes cutting it away and we are left with this. Short enough but with little bit of a wave remaining. And yes I did keep a lock or two as a momento.

Photo is not the best but hey you get the idea!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh man, that is one huge pile of dirt!

Check this out!

What was once a bare patch of earth is now a few tonne of dirt that Ashley spent last weekend cutting out of our backyard. Not with a fancy tool or much help from me but with good old fashioned hard work. I have realised that DIY really should be called DITH W an abbreviation for Do It The Hard Way, it doesn't quite have the same ring to it but you get the idea right.

All this was necessary to create this

A level 4x4 area for our new paving to go on. Due to start late next week I hope to have some pictures of the first main part of our backyard reno to show next weekend, so exciting.

This weekend we need to find somewhere to move all that excess dirt to so Ashley will be constructing several new garden beds that form part of the design.

It is great to see it all coming together, super effort Ash!


Polarize play around

I would love to take the time to learn more about using Adobe Photoshop to improve my digital photos but at the moment I am making do with a few iphone apps that allow you to play around with photos taken on the phone and then save them.
A free one I came across called Polarize gives the photo a look I really like, I thought you might like to see a few of my latest iphone favourites with the Polarize application.

And indeed they are all of Joshua, the last is my fav, taken a few weeks ago he looks so peaceful sleeping and much more like a baby than the active toddler he actually is.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Daddy's Little Helper

In the interest of recycling Ashley has taken an old gate that was previously hung around the side of the house and is turning it into a potting table to use in the garden.

To get the project started little Joshua wanted to play Daddy's little helper and share in the action. He enjoyed playing and looking at the hammer and drill, so cute

I love watching how inquisitive lttle people are in exploring new things.


Help, I'm stuck in the mud!

Why is it that it is always raining when you have something really important to do outside?

Case in point Mr Weather man; this weekend we hired a rotary hoe. Check it out, that is some serious machine for a backyard

Whilst a little bit of rain was helpful to soften up the ground a bit, there might have been a bit to much and we had to give it away on Monday until next weekend as the yard became a mud pit in parts.

Alas the rotary hoe was money well spent and it did a great job tearing up our old, half dead lawn and loosening up the hard compacted ground.

It feels great to have started our project and I am confident that we can get it completed within the next two months, especially with daylight savings allowing for some early evening work when Ashley arrives home from work.

And I will need some gumboots after all, just to make sure I don't get stuck in the mud during the next few weeks.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Observations from being out and about

Wow, haven't written a post in a little while, it is amazing how time can get away from you and all the days seem to blend in to one. Twelve days it has been in fact.

A mouse is back in the little red house but hey I have written about that enough so onto something new.

I love noticing different things when I am out of the house, some attract my attention because they are weird and wonderful, other things because I just like to wonder how or why it is happening.

Some of the interesting things that have caught my attention of late.

A man riding his bike along the local main road, nothing new here, but running alongside him was not one but two dogs that he was holding onto via two leads. Check that out! How is it possible to do that, I can hardly even walk Zorro on a lead let alone ride a bike holding the lead beside me.

Then there was the young man, riding his bike into the local supermarket car park, attached to the back is a little trailer with a sub woofer powered by an adapted car battery of sorts. His choice of music was not my style but her certainly attracted attention.

Then there are the bike riders with strange spokes sticking up off their bike helmets. Why, I asked? To ward off the swooping magpies of course.

So next time you are out and about, open your eyes and wonder at something new.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

FAIL mummy; time for action

Picture says it all really!
Cut Emily's fringe, not a good job, lucky poor child doesn't realise how awful it looks!
Long term solution; start going back to the hairdresser or grow out the fringe
Short term solution; wear hats, pin it back with clips etc
Please forgive me Emily

We love morning tea!

Most days little Joshua is asleep over morning tea time so those two hours are good time for Emily and I to do some things together that might be challenging to achieve when he is awake.
At the Little Red House we love a good morning tea, there is something about a yummy treat to tide you over to lunch. On the rare occasion we will cook piklets! So simple and easy.
Yesterday with all the rainy weather it was a good time to have another crack at perfecting them. I think I have finally mastered them, not that it is hard right but for a while my technique was all wrong but this week I have it sorted.
I think the two things were adding a bit of baking powder into the mix to puff them up a bit so they are more like a hotcake than a pancake and adding some butter to the pan when cooking them so they brown up beautifully.
We also like to add some frozen blueberries or sultanas for some extra nutrition and flavour.

This is the end result, the photo doesn't do it justice of course, trust me they were yummy!

Only thing to improve is may be a little less burnt bits, pan was way to hot! And trying to do half white flour / half wholemeal for the nutritional benefits

Emily loves to help make them and to eat hers sharing a cup of tea with mummy. Well, the little people's equivalent which is a proper tea cup, a smidge of tea and the rest full of milk.

So what do yummies do you enjoy for morning tea?


Monday, September 13, 2010

Backyard Dreaming, it begins

After much thought, reading, discussion, opinion gathering and several sketches I think I finally have finished the design for the backyard project; feeling very excited and nervous.

To kick start the project I went out on a limb and picked out 16m2 pavers for the entertaining area on the weekend. Ash was away on a man's weekend so it was up to me to make the choice, not easy let me tell you. There was a big range in price, colour, size and type but I hope that what ended up with will fit with the theme / style of the backyard which can best be described as natural and informal. And of course I hope Ash likes them!

Now I need to source a contractor to lay them as we have decided that laying pavers is a bit above our DIY skill level, after all somethings are better left to the experts.

So it begins, there is no going back and I couldn't be more excited.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Max is alive!

What do you do with a little girl who needs something new to play with?

Turn Max to "ON"..... let me explain a little more.

When Joshua was born Emily received her only baby boy doll named Max. We picked him up from ELC. At the time and throughout the past year he has been well loved and one of Emily's fav companions, recently when we were looking for something to do for the afternoon I decided that Emily was old enough to enjoy playing with Max on another level. So, I switched him on and put his battery in. What a delight for her, not only does Max's mouth move in and out when he sucks on his dummy and bottle, cries and babbles but the best bit for Emily is that Max burbs!

It has been so much fun for her and she has taken delight in showing any friends and family the new and improved Max.


Do you see what I see?

Give a little girl a camera and see what happens? Pictures captured at a whole different level, check these out as taken by Emily recently

Little Joshie boy

And again

Sesame Street on TV

Another one of Josh

And looking up at Mummy making dinner
We will have to do this again, Emi enjoys taking pictures and does have a kids camera but it needs a new battery


Friday, September 03, 2010

My green thumb and experimenting with seeds

Yay, it is springtime and I couldn't be more excited. Although it is rather gloomy outside and all but nonetheless it is indeed spring. I love that springtime encourages more outdoor adventures and lots to do in the garden.

I have a confession, I am a green thumb. Never thought that I would be or could be but spending more time at home and in the backyard has sparked a passion for learning more about my garden and more specifically about growing veggies, herbs, fruits for the Little Red House. It is good to finally have something of my own to do, a hobby you might say.

In fact I have started watching Gardening Australia at 6:30pm Saturday nights for info and tips. When I was younger my Mum & Dad used to watch it and I thought it was torture! Ahh how the years make you mature.

We have had one veggie bed for a year and that has been a good experiment. Our most successful crop would have to be silver beet and lettuce. Currently we also have onions, garlic, leeks and beetroot.

I am getting more confident in what to do and as plans for our Backyard Dreaming project continue I am hoping that we can expand this to a few more. I have had my nose in a few books at the moment. Two which have provided some interesting reading are Backyard Self Sufficiency by Jackie French and Harvest by Meredith Kirton.

Emily has been helping me get some spring and summer seeds on the way,

We started them off on the 18th August and finally are getting some little buds of life sprouting up. I have experimented with a few different approaches of what to put the seeds in to see what works best and what is most economical.

We have tried homemade newspaper pots, peat pots, toilet rolls, egg cartons and recycled nursery pots.

It will be interesting to see which provide the best start for the seeds.

I am obsessed with going to check on them every day and give them a drink. It is amazing to watch them come to life.


Monday, August 30, 2010

But wait there is more!

Damn it the mouse caught was a mummy mouse who had furry little babies living under the house.

Yesterday two came in search of her, oh my goodness, enough already. Poor Emily cried "Daddy, Daddy there is a mouse behind my dolly!". Ash was not sure whether to believe her but had a check and blow me down there it was. In broad daylight and all, this mouse was obviously not taught very well.

So off I went to acquire some more traps at Coles. Last night we discovered there were in fact two little mice, they were much smaller than the one caught last week. Well, there was much calamity around the house last night as Ashley tried to capture them, including waking Emily up at 11pm with by switching the light on whilst I used a toy to flick it out from under the bookshelf whilst Ashley wrapped it up in a towel before we decided to put it in the freezer. Poor Emi she was so shaken that she slept the night in our room.

This morning we discovered the second one caught in the trap set in the kitchen. Please, please let that be the last of them. There is something about these little pesky creatures that sends me screaming from the room, give me a spider or cockroach any day.

Unfortunately our little girl has now developed a bit of a phobia. Every little noise is claimed to be a mouse and today she was stuck on her stool in the bathroom refusing to come out in case there was a mouse about. I hope that this will fade in time, poor thing.

Let's hope my next post will be about a non mouse related source of excitement

Morale of the story, we must scout around for the holes in the floors and walls on the weekend!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Got you!

Well let me tell you we have had some frustrating days of mouse hunting at Little Red House. Our little furry friend has proven to be quite elusive and has continued to enjoy eating it's way through the packets in the cupboard.

We tried peanut butter on two separate evenings but the cheeky thing just licked all the peanut butter off so we upped our game and last night Ashley added some chunks of cheese to lure it out.

After setting them it was off to bed and listen out for any movement, soon after there was a commotion and we both sprung out of bed and into the kitchen to see what we had found.

Got you!

It was a relief but also a bit sad, the old school traps mean a pretty violent end for the mouse and whilst there was no blood it still wasn't nice. I declared that disposing of it was a man's job so Ash dropped into a bag and straight out to the bin.

So there ends the story of the mouse at Little Red House.

Only funny part was Emily asking Dad tonight if the mouse had it's head cut off, oh dear, I wonder where she got that concept from, especially considering that she is renowned for story telling her adventures, let's hope this one doesn't come up during group time at day care tomorrow


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is there a mouse in the Little Red House?

I don't know about you but I detest any insects, mice, coachroaches etc that make their home in the Little Red House. The thought of little creatures scurrying around at night and particuarly investigating around Emi and Josh's room is not a nice one. For a while now I have wondered whether there might be a mouse about the Little Red House.

There was lots of little black poos all around the house; in the pantry, behind the couch, in the bedrooms but I had not seen anything moving about so I wasn't sure what it might be.

However this morning I knew we had a crisis after discovering this in the pantry today

Some little thing had ripped open a pack of breadcrumbs........cheeky little rodent, hope it found them tasty.

So it was off to Bunnings this morning with Emily to find am old school mouse trap (neck snapper). The man about Little Red House will set it up tonight with some peanut butter. We have found this to be the most effective lure.

Let's hope we catch it and have no more surprises in the morning


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A spontaneous trip to the beach

I think I can feel that spring will be here soon, today was brilliant, it almost felt warm enough to crack out the t-shirts but best not get to ahead of myself least I end up being disappointed.

Instead the little people and I enjoyed a spontaneous trip to Avoca Beach. One of the brilliant things about living on the central coast is being able to drive to the beach within 20 minutes or so. Awesome!

Today there was nobody around and although it was a bit blowy (as you can see by Emily's hair below), it was glorious.

We enjoyed digging in the sand, squashing sand castles, crawling all over the sand (Josh) and collecting sea water without getting too wet (Emily) and we were lucky to share it with our friend Sam and cousin Issy.

Emily and Josh getting into the fun together
Love this shot - so cute!

It was so lovely to get out and enjoy the fresh air even though the wheels did fall off a bit at the end and I had to carry Emily back to the car. Ahh the joys of entertaining little people outdoors. As we drove home to the Little Red House I reflected that it was all worthwhile
We will have to head back again soon

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Treasure Box surprise

The Little Red House was gifted a box of gourmet chocolates over the weekend. Seeing we all have a bit of a sweet tooth here they didn't last more than 24 hours. So today we had one empty box and a plastic insert with lots of little holes which Emily described as a "Treasure Box".

A treasure box indeed, what a great idea!

This prompted a little backyard exploration and foraging (mainly on my part) to put together several treasures to go into the little box. There was some rocks, leaves, pieces of plants, shells, some sugar snap peas, flowers. It was quite the collection.

Tonight Emily was very keen to show Dad the treasure box when he arrived home. He was very impressed, but identified one of the "rocks" to actually be a small bit of Zorro's dog poo. Fail Mummy, Fail!

Needless to say I promptly through the "rock" into the bin whilst having a rollicking good laugh.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Backyard Dreaming - First Update

This is the first of many updates I hope to write about our backyard dreaming project that we have waiting in the wings at the Little Red House.

Since my initial post there has been no action but lots more dreaming! Mainly on my part I guess. I have collected a fair number of gardening design books borrowed from the library along with ones in my own collection and whilst they all offer lots of inspiration it is almost a bit overwhelming to have too many sources to look through. I feel as if I have lost my design mojo a little, so this week I am going to work hard to have one more look through all my books and finalise the first draft and then set about finding some contractors to look at some quotes for the paving. Whilst I would love for us (or should I say the man about the Little Red House) to have a go at doing this it would possibly be a bit foolhardy and could end badly so I will need to find us a reliable paving guy aka a Nigel Ruck type.

With only two weeks to the start of Spring there is only fourteen weeks until Summer will be arriving so we best stop procrastinating and getting working!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sore little dog

There is something about sending your furry best friend off to have an operation; a little voice in the back of your head that questions whether something might go wrong? Will he come home?

I knew that he would be okay but was so glad when he came home and I could actually give him a big cuddle.

Turns out he had not one but eight teeth removed. I know that is a lot of teeth to have removed!! And some serious damage all caused by a ball obsession.

So you ask, how many teeth does he have left? It is hard to tell as he is not so keen on opening his mouth for an inspection (understandably so) But there are a few left and the vet assures us that he will still be able to eat but no bones or hard treats and definitely no tennis balls!

Here he is recovering inside yesterday. He is a pretty tough dog, not a whimper just happily curled up on his bed, nice and warm

Let's hope that is the end of his veterinary adventures.
Good to see you home Zoobie

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A trip to the Doggy Dentist

Our number one household protector at the Little Red House is our best friend Zorro.

Black in colour, very lean and fast, always excitable and loving he has lived at the Little Red House since day one.

We always wanted a dog who would love to play ball so when he arrived as a five month old puppy we taught him to run and catch tennis balls. For Zorro this turned into a daily obsession and he was rarely without his ball in the yard, flipping it with his paw and chasing it all around.
Two weeks ago he was taken to the vet for his annual check up and vaccinations. The vet asked what he had been chewing. Turns out Zorro's obsession with his tennis ball had lead to serious tooth damage. Slinking back home I couldn't help but wonder how this happened, surely a tennis ball couldn't cause that much damage? Perhaps his teeth weren't that strong to begin with.
So there will be no more tennis balls in the backyard of the Little Red House.
As I write this Zorro is st the vet having one of his teeth removed and possibly a second one. Poor little guy, can't help but feel responsible. I guess we will have to find him another obsession but then again I think he is pretty content to spread out on the grass and soak up the sun.
Thinking of you Zorro

Friday, August 06, 2010

Backyard Dreaming

So here at the Little Red House there is a big project in the planning which I thought you might like to read about.

Six years after moving to the coast, our little family (me included) has become more interested in spending more time in our own patch of green out the back which has kick started a beautification project to finish off the backyard. At the moment we have already constructed and grown a line of native hakea trees, a veggie bed and a large garden bed of natives backed by a slow growing native lilli pilli hedge which might reach the top of our back fence soon (pleasssee!)

So what are we going to?

Paving & pergola big enough to accommodate an 8 seat table and BBQ, drainage, new lawn, sandpit, dwarf fruit trees, new washing line, a kids blackboard, expanded veggie beds and loads new plants to look after and enjoy. That pretty much sums it up, we will see how many of these we are able to achieve before the onset of summer.

I have been mulling over this for many months, indeed years, so it is time to put plans into action. I am currently exploring how to set it out, materials and of course the most important "how to" for some of the bigger jobs.

I know a post is far more interesting with photos so it's a shame our PC expired yesterday otherwise I would have dug up some old pics of the yard to accompany this post but perhaps I will find some to post up once the plan is finalised.

A new project is always exciting and I love having something to plan and look forward to. The thought of having somewhere to have lunch or dinner outdoors without a mish mash of borrowed tables and chairs is exciting (sad I know) so it is time to get going this weekend (hint, hint Ashley!)

I think I will provide a weekly update of our progress so I hope you enjoy reading about and seeing our "Backyard Dreaming" come to life


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A new beginning

Hi, here I am!

Twelve months ago I had no idea what a "blog" even was, but happened across one during a search for some kids party food ideas and thus by journey as a reader of blogs began.
Having pondered the thought of writing a blog for some months I have decided to give it a go. After all what is the worst case scenario; other than I am the only who might read it!

I have asked myself why I would like to write a blog and thought that would make a good first post and perhaps a point to check back on in the future to see if the reasoning proved to be correct.

So here is what I came up with:

1. I once wanted to be a journalist or work in PR but gave up on that idea long ago, so maybe this is my only chance to publish a piece of writing (albeit I am not sure you would really call a blog "publishing")

2. With the intention of primarily looking after my children for the next few years I feel a desperate need to keep my skills relevant, keep up with technology, interact with other adults and have someone to listen to what I have to say other than my two kids.

3. I feel the need to keep a personal record of this time of my life and the lives of my children. Looking back at on my childhood I have many memories but most are vague so I feel writing a blog will serve as a memory jogger in the future and might make some good fodder for the 21st, wedding speeches etc

4. The online world is truly amazing, there is a so many inspiring people out there and this is one way to perhaps connect with some of them.

So let's go and see what happens