Monday, 26 September 2011

Listography: Celebrities who would like to have a beer with me!

Well, who wouldn't like to have a beer with me? I am absolute awesomeness! So here are the celebrities who have been badgering me to have a drink with them.

1. The cast of Ocean's Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen. Namely George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (Julia Roberts not need be there).

Ahhhh, need I say more?

2. Kate Winslet is my chickie choice coz I think she's a lot of fun, and I'm a lot of fun and we'd get on like a house on fire.

3. Dr Sheldon Cooper because we share the same IQ. Sooooo kidding. I just want to torment and tease him with sarcasm, and then say "Bezinga"!

4. Prince Harry. This would be a wild night out, wouldn't it?

What a hotty!

5. Hugh Jackman. Well in all honesty it has been me doing the badgering for obvious reasons.


If you would like to join the pub crawl, I recommend starting at Kate's and going from there. Remember to pace yourself!

Friday, 23 September 2011

A week of.....

Well it is officially the school holidays, and I am very much looking forward to two weeks void of the morning rush, and being able to sleep in.

It has been a struggle waking The Squeeze and The Bear up in the morning this last week. On Wednesday it was futile so The Squeeze had a "find my centre" day and stayed home. It was after nine o'clock before either of them crawled out of bed, and it was lunch time before they got out of their PJs.

But we have still had an action packed last week of term. On Tuesday night, The Squeeze went to her first disco at school. It seems social behaviour hasn't changed much in thirty years (oh I feel old!) The boys appeared to enjoy dancing more these days than they did in my day (oh so so old). And, they also appear to spend more time on their hair than the girls! But there is still that awkward, embarassing, barely moving, "Oh my God, a boy asked me to dance!", "Oh my God, I can't believe I have to dance with a girl." dancing.

The Squeeze was first asked to dance by a fourth grader (I'll remind you The Squeeze is in Prep). They barely moved throughout the entire song, standing there with embarassing smiles on their faces. I'll hand it to The Squeeze who tried to relax the mood with the odd wiggle and twirl but he wasn't buying it. I suppose it didn't help that I was on the other side of the room, camera poised, in hysterics. The next boy she danced with was more active, and more her age (he's in grade one). Ok, it was a pre-rehearsed dance but, hey, it was very cute.

"Come on. Hold hands??"

 All the kids had a ball and put a lot of effort into their groovy moves.

The following day was 'down time'. Well, for the girls at least. I, on the other hand, had a marathon day in the kitchen baking for my friend's gallery. Two weeks worth of goodies were needed before I took off for a week. What did I bake I hear you ask? Well, let me show you.

The day started early with an Armenian Nut cake, my favourite.

Followed by a Chocolate and Date Torte. Apparently this is popular at the gallery.

I then made a Chocolate Cardamon Fudge cake. Very rich and yummy but an arm workout to mix. I forgot to take a picture of this one so unfortunately I can't show you the end result.

By this stage it was lunch time and The Bear was due at kinder, and I was due at the gym for a PT session. After nearly killing myself to work off the beater licking of the morning, it was back to kinder for a teddy bears' picnic, then home to fire up the oven again. I still had one more cake, a batch of muffins, and two lots of bikkies to make!

Orange and poppyseed cake with syrup.

 By the time I finished making White chocolate and orange muffins (see previous post) I was starting to fade. It was ten o'clock before I had it all wrapped up with chocolate chip bikkies and melting moments. Phew!

After delivering all the yummies the next morning, it was back to the gym for more torture. Bloody nine week challenge! I really need to teach the girls the art of beater and bowl licking.

Today, the term finished with Elf Reading Day. All the kiddies from kinder and the primary schools dress up as a character from a book, then parade down the main street to have stories read to them by employees of businesses and volunteers outside the shops. Great way to end the term. Only, our day didn't start so greatly.

The Squeeze decided that morning to change her mind not once, not twice, but six times about what she was going to dress up as. Initially, she wanted to be Angelina Ballerina but quickly changed her mind to Aladdin's monkey (she had the costume from her ballet concert last year). I pointed out that she might be a bit cold in just a leotard and stockings. I suggested going as one of the Seven Little Australians as we had a dress that would suit. This seemed to be the goer until she saw the dress and thought it wasn't dress-up enough. My eye started to twitch.

"Ok. How about Pippy Longstocking?"
A flat "No" followed by a "Humf" and a crossing of arms.
"Well you can just wear your school uniform then."
"Nooooooo. We're not allowed to."
She then had a fleeting idea of going as Lola (from Charlie and Lola) but realised Lola wears ordinary clothes.

By this stage we were running out of time, and patience, and my eye was driving me nuts. This is when I spotted the "Pearlie" books by Wendy Harmer.

"How about 'Pearlie the park fairy'?" The Squeeze's eyes lit up. "YES!"

Finally we were getting closer to getting out the door. We didn't have fairy wings or a wand but a quick phone call to a friend to borrow some solved that. Hair, accessories, and off we went. My eye ceased to twitch.

The Squeeze is in pink. How cool is the smurf!

Unfortunately, I missed the parade due to a prior commitment with my PT - again! Have you ever known such stupidity? Why I signed up for this sometimes baffles me. Jelly legs all over again. So Mr. H went instead.

To top off the day, I managed to get Sunday and Monday off work so we can head up to NSW to see my folks and tickle that gorgeous little niece of mine.

So that was my week. How was yours?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Listography - What makes your house a home?

The things that make my house a home are Mr. H and our two beautiful girls, the love and happiness we share as a family, knowing we have each other, our health and that's all that matters. Are you vomiting yet?? Well of course all those things make a house a home. They're the obvious answers, but I don't need to make you all sick by blabbing on about it.

So I am going to share with you the little things we have/do to make our house a home.

1. Vintage odds and ends.

I bought these vintage wooden knitting needles on ebay yonks ago, then finally found the perfect jars for them last week.

This is my grand-father's old fly box, and I still have his first fishing bag.

2. Freshly picked flowers from the garden.

3. A garden. My parents are landscape gardners who inherited their green thumbs from their parents, and their parents' parents, and so on. I like to think I too have inherited that green thumb. I love gardening. I believe it heals your soul. Mr. H believes it tortures his soul. This, he says, is due to the fact that I always seem to dive head first into a new project in the garden without fully thinking it through. As a result, I then need Mr. H's help with aspects beyond my capabilities. Poor Mr. H! But don't worry. He enjoys, as much as I do, the results. Especially at this time of year when everything is bursting with life and colour. And then his soul is healed. See? Told you.

All my ajugas are flowering and buzzing with bees.

4. Furniture with a story. We have some special pieces that have been handed down to us, and they each have their own history. My Mum used to sit at our dining table as a little girl to do School of the Air (distance education for isolated kids). In the fifties, lessons were conducted via two-way radio.

An older cousin of my grandmother's left me her oak writing desk. Whilst Mum and I were cleaning out its contents we came across some letters written by my great-grandfather from the trenches in France during World War I. We found other treasures too, but those letters were extraordinary.

A pair of club chairs used to belong to Mr. H's grandfather. Mr. H likes to point out they are made from high quality vinyl. High quality vinyl?? I then point out to Mr. H that this is just a fancy shmancy way of saying they are not made out of leather.

My favourite piece is my paternal grandmother's dressing table. It was given to me after my grandfather died. When it arrived to me, I found the scarves my grandmother wore to bed to keep her hair in place in one of the drawers. They still smell of her.

5. Yummy smells from the kitchen. I spend a good part of each day in the kitchen, more so now that I have a new one (have I mentioned that before??) The smell of whatever's cooking or baking fills the house. Now I know I'm no Donna or Nigella, but I like to fancy I am. I cooked these on Sunday, white chocolate and orange muffins courtesy of Nigella.

Very yummy, if I say so myself!

Mother Porridge is hosting Kate's listography this week, so pop on over to get some more homey tips from fellow bloggers and make new friends while you're at it.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Silent Sunday

I'm grateful for...

Brenda from Mira Narnie is hosting Maxabella Loves' Grateful Saturday this week. I know I'm a day late but I suffer FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to these things. So here is what I am grateful for this week.

4. A haircut. I only get my hair cut two or three times a year so it's a treat when it happens. My hairdresser is two hours away in Melbourne. She has been cutting my hair for ten years now and always does a fantastic job (at least I think so), even so that my hair grows out really well. Hence, the infrequent cuts. Here is the latest 'do' but please excuse the tired, post night duty, post workout look on my face!

5. Liquorice allsorts. I actually don't like them, but The Squeeze and The Bear love them. Why? Apparently they "make you dance."

Mr. H took the girls fishing yesterday afternoon while I slept. They picked up some liquorice allsorts from a local sweet shop on the way (in case the girls became bored trying to catch fish). Mr. H told me that no sooner had they arrived at the river, and The Squeeze and The Bear had started to eat the treats, they started dancing on a log, yelling "Look Daddy, look. See? We told you."

As for the fishing, The Squeeze caught a little rainbow trout, much to The Bear's excitement!

6. Being outside. Spring is in the air, the sun is out, the bees are buzzing and I am loving being outside more. The smell of freshly mowed grass and the warm air just rejuvinates me. Tra, la la, la la!

What are you grateful for? Pop over to Brenda's to tell us.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Have you met Mr. H?

I am feeling rather smug writing this post. When I began blogging a few months ago, Mr. H rolled his eyes at me and called me - 'What was it, darling?'- oh that's right, a fruitloop! But he did find he was getting some reprieve from my ramblings. He then discovered he was getting the odd mention on my blog, and asked if I would read my posts to him when I publish them. This was when my smuggy smirk started to appear on my smuggy face.

Last week, after reading a post to Mr. H, he says: "You haven't mentioned me for a while. Maybe you should introduce me. Officially." It turns out I'm not the only one who likes attention.

"Are you serious?" says me. "This is my blog." Yes, he was serious. Some turnaround, hey. So, let's humour him.

Meet Mr. H.

Awww. He chose this pic because he thought he looked cool!

We met at Derby Day ten years ago. He picked me a yellow rose (thanks Flemington Racecourse!), and then invited himself, his flatmate, his cousin and his girlfriend around for dinner for later that week. Quite forward for someone who claims to be very shy.

It then took three weeks before we first kissed, and to this day, we still argue over who kissed who first.

Mr. H used to sport a mullet, and drive a panel van. Bogan!

Noice! I've cheated with a recent photo because I didn't have one from the eighties (that's a wig. Mr. H is now balding.)

I love Mr. H's dancing. He is quite worldly and has taught me all the moves to the sprinkler, the shopping trolley, and the lawn mower. He once agreed to come to tango classes with me, only to later confess that he only said that to advance his chances with me!

Mr. H is six foot five, and I am five foot three. We would have looked ridiculous dancing the tango together.

But despite his inner boganess, his lack of hair, and the fact I have to stand on a step-ladder to kiss him, Mr. H is divine in every single way I want a man to be. Even when he calls me a fruit-loop.

Dirty money

I finally had a chance to catch up with a few friends for a cuppa this week after school drop off. One conversation topic was our upcoming school fundraising ball, and what costumes we were all pondering to wear. (The theme is 'Around The World', and I am open to costume suggestions.)

A couple of the mums were giving another mum money for their ball tickets who then (I think this is right) shoved the money in her bra strap.

Cue conversation topic number two. Where did we used to stash our moola when we used to go out? There was the usual: jeans pocket, bra, shoes, stockings. Until one friend piped up with this one. She had a friend who used to stash her dollars in her knickers, in that extra seam of fabric in the crutch!

I think our collective "Ewwwwwwww!" was heard out on the street. We all paid for our drinks, then quickly dashed home to thoroughly wash our hands.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Gallery: A Happy Memory

I grew up on a property my dad managed in the central west of New South Wales. It was a great lifestyle for my brothers and I, for any kid really. In those days, before OH&S and Work Safe, there was a lot we kids could do. We would help with shearing, mustering sheep and cattle, lamb marking and mulesing, drafting, calving. It was a lot of fun.

We had a creek that ran through the property, and on weekends, friends from surrounding properties would come and meet us on the creek for a BBQ picnic. And by BBQ I mean sausages and chops cooked on a plough disc over a fire.

My brothers would ride our horses down, Nutmeg and Mrs. Pepper. We had the dinghy, Mary-Rose (yes, I named her!) And, there was the flying-fox so we always took our togs (bathers/swimmers/budgie smugglers - whatever you like to call them.) There was also the resident goanna who used to amble in for a sausage or two, hang out for a bit, then climb back into his tree and watch us from there.

These are from this happy memory.

What are your happy memories? There are a lot more happy memories over with Tara at Sticky Fingers.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Silent Sunday

Listography: Games I used to play

Kate's Listography this week is games we used to play when we were kids. Fun!

1. Duck, duck, drake. This game involved you all sitting in a circle while the person who was 'in' went around the circle tapping each of you on the head saying duck, duck, duck, etc. But if that person tapped your head and said drake, you then had to get up and chase them around the circle. If they sat down in your place before you caught them, you were then 'in'. You need at least six of you to play this.

2. Stuck in the mud. It's a bit like chase, but if you were caught, you had to stand still until someone freed you by crawling through your legs. The crawler had to be careful not to get caught in the process of freeing someone.

3. "What's the time Mr. Fox?" Someone - 'Mr. Fox' - stood some distance from everyone else with their back to them. Everyone would call out "What's the time Mr. Fox?" and once Mr. Fox gave a time, everyone would approach Mr. Fox as quietly and quickly as possible. But, if Mr. Fox spun around to look, you had to stand perfectly still, and if you were caught moving, you were sent back to the start. The first person to reach Mr. Fox, tap them on the shoulder and run back to the start without being caught by Mr. Fox was the winner. I was hopeless at this game for two reasons. I was not very athletic, and therefore not very fast. So if I reached Mr. Fox, I always got caught. Secondly, I was as stealth as an elephant. I was lucky enough to reach Mr. Fox let alone be chased by him/her!

4. Brandies. Again, someone is 'it' and they tagged you by throwing a tennis ball at you. If you were hit, you were out. This game always seemed to end with someone in tears, and everyone covered in red welts. Someone would always sneak off and wet the ball, so if you were hit, it bloody hurt!

5. Having rides on the billy-cart behind the motorbike. This always guaranteed exhilarating squeals of laughter.

One of my brothers, my cousin and myself.

My cousins and uncles going for a spin.

The Squeeze (front) enjoying a ride with her cousin.

What games did you play as a kid? Did you play the same ones as me?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

I'm grateful for....

I am reflective by nature which is why I am joining Maxabella's Grateful Saturday. This week, it is being hosted by Kymmie at A Day in the Life of Us.

So this week I am grateful for...

1. Being humble and saying sorry. This is really hard to do as most of you know, but once you've done it, you feel all the better for it. I said sorry to my brother this week for something Mr. H and I did back in April. It was one of those unfortunate incidents that you have no intention of ever happening but it happens anyway. We said sorry at the time, earnestly, and to us it seemed accepted. But as time went on, I knew it wasn't resolved, and another apology (and explanation) was needed. But, you know how you have to wait for the right moment to do so? Anyway, the timing came unexpectantly this week. The air is cleared and we can all move on.

2. My personal trainer. As some of you know, I am on a weight loss campaign and am currently undergoing a challenge created by my PT. This week, after fifteen months and almost eighteen kilos, I have finally reached my goal and hit the less than seventy kilos!! I am grateful for all her support and motivation.

3. My mix-master. I love my mix-master. It is my favourite toy in the kitchen because it helps me look like Donna Hay! Here are some morsels I prepared earlier.

Melting Moments

Lemon frosted pistachio cake

Orange and poppyseed cake.

Head over to  Kymmie's to be grateful this week.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Gallery: Shoes

I. Love. Shoes. I mean love shoes. Really love shoes. Get the picture? They are one of my favourite things. There is a story behind these shoes which you can read about here (go to number two). They aren't my favourite pair of shoes but they are certainly special.

Pop over to Tara's at Sticky Fingers to see lots and lots of shoes.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Listography: Things I did this Winter!

I know Kate, I changed the season. But I love your lists and I didn't want to miss out this week just because I live on the other side of the world, in another hemisphere. So I am taking it upon myself to change the list's rules slightly when specific situations like this come up. I hope you don't mind. If you do, I promise to never do it again, but I can't promise it will be without pouting!

So, this winter. Mmmm, let me think, what did I do?

1. We renovated the house. You can read about it here, here and here. I am absolutely in love with my new space. I wouldn't recommend renovating in winter. Using a cordless drill with two pairs of gloves on and shivering at the same time isn't easy. And if you hammer your thumb instead of a nail it REALLY HURTS.

2. I started a second job baking cakes for a friend who owns a gallery. I baked a lemon frosted pistachio cake last week and I have to say, it looked pretty bloody marvellous. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera to take a pic so I can't show you. The downside to this job is that it has created some whinging from Mr. H. He feels tortured by the number of cakes being produced that aren't for him. I told him he can go to the gallery and buy a slice - they are worth it!

3. Met my new niece. She is so beautiful, and I can't wait to head up to New South Wales (NSW) to see her again.

4. I started blogging, and I love it. I am definitely still learning. I'm not very technologically minded and there is still a lot I want to do to my blog. I want to give it a facelift to start with. I am open to constructive criticism if you have any tips for improvement.

5. Generally, hung out with friends, drinking copious amounts of tea while trying to keep warm.

So there you have it. What did you get up to last season, depending on where you live in the world? Head over to Kate Takes 5 to see what everyone else did.

Friday, 2 September 2011

It's only 2.6kg

I'm a bit nervous today because this morning I weigh in with my PT. She's also taking my measurements. It's the halfway mark of the Swing into Shape Nine Week Challenge, and if you don't know what I'm talking about you can catch up here.

I'm nervous because my motivation has waned a bit the last couple of weeks and my natural activity has lessened since we finished the major stage of renovating. I have tried to keep it up by throwing myself into my garden and getting busy there but it's not quite happening. I'm having those "feeling podgy" days, and I hate everything in my wardrobe. Don't you hate that!

But I'm going to look on the bright side. In the last five weeks I've learnt how to do a sit-up properly without straining my neck, I've shaved over half a minute off my rowing time, I have lost some weight, and after a quick measure of the thighs last week I've lost 3cm off one and 2cm off the other (yes, I have lop-sided thighs!) A few more things have come out of the Skinny Suitcase too.

According to my scales this morning I weigh 72.5kg. I'm 2.6kg off reaching my goal for the challenge. My PT's scales have proven to be a bit heavier than mine so I might have to lose more than 2.6kg. Ok, at least 2.6kg in four weeks. Can I do it?? God I hope so because I'll be so disappointed in myself if I don't. Mr. H will have to stop buying Tim Tams. I will have to resist the "Nurses' Treats" tin at work as well as the cream biscuits. I might have to haul my bottom out of bed early to go for a walk, or for some sort of exercise. And I need to stop licking the beaters when I bake.

Don't fret. It's only for four more weeks. Come on cyber cheer squad, I need you.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Gallery: Animals - Life in my garden

I love the hum of bees busy at work. Manchurian pear trees blossoming.

Ladybug in my strawberries.

Busy on my sedums.

A spotted jezabel butterfly.

Buzz buzz in the gauras.

Female golden orb weaver.

Bloody pests!

A nasty locust. These pests are detrimental to farmers' crops.

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