Monday, 31 March 2008

A week's a long time...

I've been missing from these parts recently.  It's not that I haven't had anything to post, it's just that our house has been full and because the computer lives on the dining room table there was no chance to pop anything here.  But I'm back.  With a vengeance!

We had friends and family staying last week.  Andrew's friend Frank with his wife Maryeke from South Africa, and my cousin Brooke, from Australia but currently nannying in Dublin.We all had a great time toodling around the city (rather slowly) on our bikes doing the touristy thing.  Brooke was disappointed that we missed out on the Anne Frank Museum.  The tickets were sold out and Brooke thought it might be because Anne was there.  I hated to point out that Anne died when she was 14 in a Nazi concentration camp.We hit the Kekenhof for a rather chilly morning tiptoe through the tulips.  The flowers were much better than last year but the art in the gardens stole the show for me.  I loved this fireplace.  And this random window in a hedge.Brooke did as all good visitors to Amsterdam do, she bought a bong!  I was killing myself laughing, little innocent Brookey buying a bong.  I think her mother will die if she realises what it is!  Brooke's going to use it as a piece of art, or a vase.Andrew came back from Denmark on Tuesday and he brought me another photo.  This one has a story attached.  There were seagulls outside his office window and they puttered around doing a strange little dance.  They'd thump their feet on the ground in little pitter-patter rhythms and then wait.  After a bit worms would start to appear in the grass and the seagulls would feast on them.  The birds had worked out that their dancing was like the sound of rain on the ground for the worms.  The worms would go to the surface to escape drowning, only to be gobbled up by the clever seagulls.  Cool, huh?
These were also taken by Andrew, 2 different views of the refinery, one snowed in and the other with a burning sky.
Not too much creativity this week, although I did just pop this in the post for Little Niece Emily in New Zealand.  I'm hoping that Emily's mummy will be so kind as to stuff the doll and sew up the bottom.
Lots of good cooking as well.  Roasted peppers/capsicum.  Mmm.  Used in a bruschetta for poker night.
And lastly, a find in a pile of garbage by the road on a ramble back from the fabric market in the rain and my wedding gumboots.  Andrew used to be called Werther's at uni.

Andrew left for Turkey again this morning.  But I'm heading that way on the weekend for a late first wedding anniversary celebration.  It's one year tomorrow, hurrah!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Bathrooms and Biscuits

I made this towel rack for our bathroom. It was dead easy with a painted peice of wood, 4 knobs and some screws! I did it all by myself.......mighty proud......mighty proud!
Another View.
Bathroom pictures and towel rack.

I also did some baking for lunch boxes. These are my Auntie Mavis inspired cookies using Trudies plum jam made from her plums in her backyard in the Blue Mountains.

Four Sisters

A family photo - very cute. Can you tell that we had at home haircuts? Thrifty and nifty Mummy saved money and still managed to make us beautiful!
This is a totally great photo because I love that Linny has a Hubba Bubba pink matching tracky on, complete with a scarf, I have the dress over pants and Kati and Calli are just cute!
A photo taken at our Grandparents place at Narrabeen. I wish now that I had have been braver at exploring the house. It was a treasure trove of antique goodness, but I was too young to know that that is what I loved. I just remember sleeping on the floor with Linny and her making me sleep closest to the door so that the baddies would get me first!!!! We were country girls who thought that Sydney was big and bad!!!!!!
One of our Santa photo's. Santa was cheering!!!!
I cannot remember when this photo was taken - I wonder if it was when I had a horse called rooster????? Rooster used to bite other horses bottoms!!!!!

More Photo's More Memories

It's amazing how one picture can have a dozen memories attached to it. I love pictures.
OK, so at the moment it is not working with putting pictures in - bummer.
I shall try again later.
Lazy weekend this weekend.
We had Connor's cross country carnival - my slow and steady boy who lops along marching to the rhythm of his own drum came in 10th and I was so proud! Running 2 km's and surviving is a dream of mine, so I guess you could say I'm living my dream through my child!!!!
We went for a walk to get the weekend paper this morning and ended up stumbling upon a garage sale that had tiles that we bought for our splash back. I will take photo's once they are done.
Most of today we have been working on Connor's simple machines project for school. We are making a car with a mouse trap. Photo's to follow!
A Kenzi funny - She calls Whoopee cushions, fluffy cushions! Pretty apt really.
Here's to lazy weekends and beautiful weather.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

As Time Goes By

I have been thinking a lot of late about specific memories I have of each of my sisters, individual memories as opposed to the collective ones that I have so many of.
Here are three memories of my sensational, amazing, fantastic, one of a kind sisters, each one precious and special to me in their very own ways.

Calico Strawberry Jam
My favorite memory of Cal is a fairly recent one - actually near on a year ago now. The day before Calli and Andrew were to get married was a little stressful - not badly but there was a certain amount of tension in the air. The memory I have of Cal is when we asked her about the song that Linli had made up to sing (thinking that it was for the reception, but was for the service) We were worried about singing it in the service and had asked Cal and Andrew about it. Calli stated her point very firmly and well and then listened also. It is a scene that I replay in my head when I need to be strong, but also listen to advice. It is a scene that reminds me of her incredible strength, strong will and ability to say what she wants....but also her ability to listen and make up her mind once she has all sides. I love it!
The other memory I have of her is when she arrived at a music camp concert after flying in from London, dressed in an outfit held together with safety pins! It is forever imprinted into my mind!!!

OK so KT is a little random and I have one memory of her that is my happy place. I go to that place in my mind when I need a little chuckle!
We were at a birthday party for someone and KT was sitting next to our Grandma, Den. Den was talking about her hip playing up and the doctors appointment that she was going to and KT was fiddling with the beads that Den had on. All of a sudden in the middle of Den's conversation KT burst into a made up song about beads being beautiful and Den being beautiful. Even as I write I am smiling. Yep that's my happy place! I also love the way Kate gets around the world. I am not sure how, but her love of life, her randomness and her strong sense of love is beautiful and gets her out of many situations that I would have major meltdowns in. She is inspiring!

Linny actually hates being called Linny, but she will forever be that to me! My memory of my little sister that is closest in age to me is of us being put in a canoe together on many a canoe trip. I remember being really worried about going down some particularly bad rapids, but my strong and capable, crazy and ever ready sister just kept paddling. Down we went and got through beautifully. Linli probably didn't know just how worried I was , but her strength and nature got us both down those rapids! I won't mention the skinny dipping in Macley river (that's not my story!)
The other memory I have of Linny is when I was very sick after having Connor. Brenton had to go away for work and I went up and spent some time with Lin at Lemon Tree. She was so kind. She feed me and nursed Connor and loved me well.

Memories are great to have - the real thing is infinitely better. I miss my sisters every day and wish they were here or I was there.

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words

Easter for us was spent up at our childhood farm. Weekends like that bring memories flooding back - along with the fact that I shuffled through many boxes of photo's! I found lots of sister photo's that Brenton (My Husband) scanned and edited for me. SO without further ado, because this is a blog about the four of us, here are some of our "Sister Four" photo's.
A Family photo to start the ball rolling!!!! Don't know what year this was, but we did have family photo's occasionally. The most memorable one was when I decided to faint in the middle of the session!

This is another whole family photo, taken on the farm. This was the day that we first said goodbye to Strawberry Jam and goodbye again to KT. We were heading to the airport right after that photo. All of us had been living in OZ, although KT was in and out! Who knew that this was the beginning of separate lives in places far far away.
School photo. Linny and I were in High school. KT and Calico were in Primary School.
I have a love hate relationship with this photo. I love that we are all so young - however it also reminds me that I am old, actually old enough to have carried my baby sister on my ample hips!
I love the face that KT has on - it is very Kenzi!
This was taken when we were on a family holiday in Canberra. I would so do the matching track suit with Connor and Kenzi if they didn't kick up a fuss. Once again I look so much older. I think my height was the contributing factor in making me look like an 18 year old while all my beautiful young sisters radiated youth and vitality!
More photo's to follow, but am excited about getting these up!

Monday, 24 March 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Easter

No white Christmas this year (although it was c-c-cold) but we had a white Easter!  This is the remains of last night's snow on the cars that is melting in the morning sunshine.
It is Dad's birthday today.  When I rang him he told me that there is a cold front coming through Newcastle, Australia and it's going to be 20 degrees celsius on Thursday.  I'm hoping it gets that hot here in Summer.

Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy

I made flatbread!And it tastes good.Aaaand, it even has air bubbles!And it makes good pizzas.Mmmm.

And, it was MEGA easy.

All you do is pop 250g of plain flour into a mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment, mix 1/2 cup of luke warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Slowly add the liquid as the mixer mixes and leave it to mix for 8 minutes.  If it's too soggy just add a little extra flour.  Cover with a dry tea towel and leave for half an hour.  Then divide the mixture into 8 balls, roll out thin and cook in a dry, heavy based fry pan, about 3 minutes a side (or a little less if you use the wok ring and realise it's way too hot).  And voila, yummy flat bread!  Not particularly appropriate for the day Jesus 'rose' from the dead as my bread doesn't do any rising, but not a bad way to celebrate Easter.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Midnight Postings

I was meant to be getting an early night but family called.  Or I called family.  And it's just exquisitely delicious to spend time chewing the fat with them, I can always sleep later.

These are beautiful red tulips that Andrew brought home for me.  The picture of the tulips in the background was a wedding gift from an AMAZING friend in Canada.
The tulips are to keep me company while Andrew is away.  So far they're doing a good job keeping me cheery with their bobbing red faces.  
I'm not sure that they'll keep me warm in bed though.  And perhaps I should have taken them with me to the train station when I saw Andrew off this morning.  I always try and be brave as I send my man off.  But I usually fail miserably and try as I might, the tears still come.

This photo shows a trick told to me by a friend.  Apparently a copper coin at the bottom of the vase stops the tulips from bending over.  Seems to be working at the moment.  I love all those little tricks that grandma's use, like white bread for erasers and vinegar for shower heads.
Andrew has the camera, so it's laptop photos again.  Today's weather would have been fun to capture on film.  It rained, hailed, snowed and sunshined.  I think we corner the market in the whole 'four seasons in one day' thing.

I'm trying to essay a lot while Andrew is away.  But I succumbed to the tv this afternoon and hung out on the couch for a LONG time.  It was great.  But I have been essaying tonight to make up for it.  And then I was supposed to have an early night so I could get up early and work, but that's happily gone out the window!

And just for fun, here's some pics of when Andrew was first in Oz and stayed at Trin and Brenton's.
Kenz and Brenton, both looking their best!
And Fireman Connor has obviously been out fighting fires, that's how he got the wet patch on his front.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Cherry Blossom and Chocolate Egg Time

I've had a few cards to make for birthdays and thankyou notes, and these are my current favourites.  I used some vintage fabric off-cuts that I got from Liz last weekend and glued it over the tree which I had drawn with markers.  Pretty, huh?

On other fronts, I'm trying to get essays done.  I'm currently up to my eyeballs in non-violence theory, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, Colman McCarthy.  Great stuff.  But how do I get all these fascinating thoughts and ideas under control and in an orderly 2700 word essay?  Somehow, I hope.

Andrew is off to Denmark tomorrow for work.  There's been an emergency and Andrew is digging around in the cupboard for his red cape to go save the day.  Easter has been put on hold in this household.  But maybe not the eggs.

So, for everyone else, Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons

I feel I can't compete with dolphins and fairies and people with mechanical arms, but the birth of Soleil Moon Frye's baby has reminded me of part of my own magical childhood.  Soleil Moon Frye played the main role in the Punky Brewster sitcom, and whilst I never saw that show, I used to love the animated version of 'It's Punky Brewster'.  When I was a kid I always wanted my own Glomer to magically clean up my bedroom.  Actually, scratch that, I still want a Glomer to magically clean up my house.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Story 2 and Story 3 - Please read with me!

Lovely Princess of the World.
Once there was a lonely princess, but then she married a lonely prince. He called himself "Prince the most loveliest Prince." They lived in a magnificent castle. Then they had some babies. Then they had some more. But one princess was lonely and had no babies, but had some in her tummy! The end

The Magnificent Dolphins
One day there was a wavy sea and some dolphins lived in there. If you looked closely you could see them coming out. There were nine dolphins. One day there was a storm. The wavy sea from the storm pushed the dolphins onto dry land where monsters lived! A person came and saw them. It was a friendly person. She picked them up one by one with her mechanical arms and she put them back into the sea. They were safe and lived happily in the wavy sea.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

OH my, computers can be so frustrating at times.
Kenzi has written some stories that I wanted to share. These are totally her own words, just written down as she was saying them! I would love to get inside her head!
Warning: It might be scary!
Once upon a time there was a little fairy that lived alone.
Then she got married.
They lived near a cricket field - but decided to move onto a hill. There was an enormous cricket field under the hill.
They were happy.
But one day there came a frightening thought!
They thought a gigantic dragon was living with magical wings and fire in it's breath, right near them.
They were right!
It set their hill on fire!
They decided to do something about it!
They collected magic in their bags from the magical tree with flowers that shook ever time a fairy was near.
They crept up with their bags of magic.........
And turned the gigantic dragon into a teeny-weeny toad!
They lived happily ever after.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Whirlwind Weekends

We did four countries this weekend.  The Netherlands, Belgium, France, England.  Then England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands on the way back.  Andrew and I hired a car and drove over to Kent, England to visit his mum.  It was such a great trip.  We drove down to Calais and got the ferry across. This is the ferry leaving the port, or at least me leaving the port!
I loved the ferry ride to Dover.  It reminded me of when I last took the ferry across the channel about 10 years ago.  I bought my first grown-up perfume on the ferry.  I'd forgotten all about it until I wandered past the duty free shop.  It was Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers.  I felt so sophisticated buying perfume, and duty free as well!

We spent a lovely Saturday with Liz, Andrew's mum, making marmalade, visiting old bookshops, buying far too many cookbooks (although I'm not sure that one can ever have enough cookbooks), eating red-cooked chicken (a delicious speciality of Liz's), going through boxes and boxes of stuff, looking at old photos and just generally having a really nice time.  

I had a nosey through the photo albums and clicked a few snaps with the digital camera.  Andrew's 'global' childhood is so different from my Australian childhood, but both were filled with family and memory-making times.  This is Andrew's dedication in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  Don't you just love the pastor's hair, both head and facial?  Perhaps this is where Andrew's mustache-fetish comes from, it rubbed off on him at an impressionable stage of life!
We visited Rochester, a sweet little town referred to by Dickens in his novels.  This was a plaque above a building on the main street.  I wonder if they now take inflation into account?  Four pence wouldn't get you far these days.
Liz lives on the River Medway.  This is the view out her bedroom window, beautiful if a little gray and overcast.  It was so nice to be out of the city and feel the wind on our faces.
We left early Sunday morning and re-traced our steps back home.  Well, we didn't retrace the part where we'd gotten lost in Antwerp, that really didn't need doing a second time.

So we're home now.  And unpacking.  Liz was amazingly generous and we've come home laden with bed sheets, Andrew's Omani door, marmalade, board games, clothes, books and many, many other things including the world's largest oranges.