Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Currently reading....

What do I do when hubby's gone back to work, the kids are feral because they're trapped inside with the constant rain, then tennis and cricket are finished, you have a house to tidy and a thousand other things on your list to do as well.

You read.

Yes, what a good idea!  I'm currently reading a couple of books but sport, crochet, kids etc all get in the way of that so I don't really get the chance to pick them up often.

Then I got to have a day to myself last Friday and just happened to find myself in a bookstore (as you do!)

I found this...

Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles)

I didn't even think twice about budgets or anything like that.  I snapped it up, paid for it and ran from the store before any guilt could be felt.  I'm happy to say that guilt didn't eventuate.
I love some of Robin Hobb's books.  She writes some of the most amazing characters, some you love, some you hate and some just make you really uncomfortable and your skin crawl. 

She wrote a previous series about some of these characters and the area that this book is set in.

I began it yesterday and have to say that I'm DEVOURING it. 

All else in my life but the essentials will be put on the back burner until it's finished.  Then I may just have to go shopping again to get the second book in the series.....

xx Susan

(You may have noticed a change to my blog.  I was getting a bit bored with the other one and thought something new would be good.  We'll see how long it takes me to get bored with this one!)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Welcome bunting ta-dah moment

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was working on a little something and to wait and see what it is.

As you can see below there were lots of little pieces to it in lots of lovely bright colours.

If you want to see the original inspiration for it then zip on over to here to have a look.

Well here's my finished project.

A lovely little WELCOME bunting.

It hangs in the front door area of our house and I made a couple of flowers to put on each end. 

It looked great with just the letters on it too but when I tried out the strawberries and little flowers I had, it just looked so much better.

So while watching my sport I got my needle and thread out and sewed the sparkly, pretty flowers on and then I realised it was finished.

What an exciting moment that was and now I have some pretty bunting hanging up to welcome people into my home.

I really do think I'll make a Christmas one that I can hang up every year as well as one for birthdays.  I've got awhile before the next birthday in our house (May for me, October for Miss R, December for hubby and next January for Master M), so both of them are not urgent projects. 

They were such fun though so maybe I'll just do a few stitches to make a start......

xx Susan

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I love these blogs....

I've decided to do a post today on some of the blogs I've been following over the last few years.  The one thing I love about blogging is that you can peek into other people's lives.  People from all over the world who either have similar interests to you, live in an amazing place, or are just a joy to get to know through cyberspace.

Below are some of my favourites and why.


  Honestly, how can you not love Lucy.  She certainly brightens up your day and thousands around the world obviously agree.  She's also talented and has some fantastic, easy to follow crochet tutorials.

The sight of morning

I'm in awe of how many pictures Mrs M can invoke with only a few words.  Witty, fun, thoughtful and a comment section full of people that have fantastic sense of humours.  In fact, you can't read any of her posts without reading the comment section.  I really think that this may be my favourite blog to read.

Slow living in the pyrenees

I have only been reading this one recently and still haven't fully made my way back through the archive of posts yet.  An English couple (without the English expat attitude), living in one of the areas in France I desperately want to visit.  They have been renovating a farmhouse over the last few years in the Pyrenees and this is a snippet into their everyday life in this gorgeous part of the world.  Oh and when I get to France I REALLY want to stay with them when their B&B and cottage is up and running.

Hearts Landscapes and Belladonna's Garden

My Sister's blogs.  How could I not love these as they're written by one of my most favourite, loved and cherished people in the whole world.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to comment on it for the last year, under my blog name or as anonomys as it just won't publish my comments.  I'll keep trying though and maybe the glitch will right itself.

Little Tin Bird

I love Heather.  She's funny, loves to crochet and just loves her family.  I do love how she waffles!

Curlew Country

Family life in England written by Steph.  I just love the images this blog invokes.  She writes about normal things happening around the place but this blog sings to my heart. 

Our Wee Farm

Laura is a Scottish expat living in the North Island of New Zealand.  I so love their house and especially all the little sheds around the property.  Love it!

The Handmade Dress

A wonderful blog about an American family.  I just love reading about the everyday things they get up to although I certainly couldn't handle homeschooling my two kids let alone their 4!

Hope you have a fantastic day and enjoy browsing through some of my favourite blogs.

xx Susan

(Normal blogging should return to normal soon.  Lots of rain, the Australian Open tennis finals and the cricket have all made me a bit slack on the blogging front)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not quite so spring rolls

I had intended to make homemade chicken nuggets.  Kids LOVE chicken nuggets and I wanted to make some really tasty ones that weren't processed and filled with the vile, don't want to know type ingredients shown by Jamie Oliver.

I started off by putting two chicken breasts, one grated carrot, one egg, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1 heaped teaspoon korma curry paste and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic (or one heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic from a jar), into a food processor. 

I had originally intend to do a more Italian type flavour with mixed herbs, parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes among other ingredients so I don't quite know how the above list occurred. 

Blitz until it's mush.

From here I had decided (many hours before) to make spring rolls instead of nuggets.  Mainly because I remembered I had spring roll wrappers in the freezer and thought I'd do something a little different.

I really should have learned by now to save making different dinners until hubby is home.  It's not a good time of night to be concentrating on wrapping up lots of little individual treats when you have two tired and constantly cranky kids that want your attention.

I perservered and with only a few threats of bed without dinner and finally got all my little parcels wrapped.

I had intended to fry them up in the wok to make them all nice and golden as spring rolls really should be. 

I ended up putting them in the oven because it's a healthier way of cooking them, my kids wouldn't know the difference and it was so much easier being the mediator to the wars between children that were occuring while dinner was cooking itself.

Voila!  Dinner is served.

 I personally decided they were a little too bland and that next time I'd make some other tasty filling.  Master M who is a bit of a fussy eater looks at me and declares that it's 'yummy.. I'm having some tomorrow'.

(Thank goodness for leftovers!)

Little Miss R, who eats at least 85% of foods put in front of her and is not nearly as fussy as Master M declares that....

'...no..  I don't really like it.'

I reply by saying that you can put nearly anything you want in the middle of the rolls and next time if I tried something different I'm sure she would like it.  (Really a pretty silly statement by me.  Much too broad and Little Miss R had something to say about that of course.  I so have to be on my toes around this one.)

Little Miss R's reply:

'If you put ice-cream in it I would eat it all.'

I should have known she would best me....but then ice-cream is the answer to nearly everything when you're six isn't it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The art of intention

Intention:    A course of action that one intends to follow

My life is filled with many intentions. 

Over the Christmas school holidays my intentions were written down in great long lists and included things like:

declutter bedroom cupboards
declutter kitchen cupboards
declutter bathroom cupboards
declutter ALL rooms
declutter garage

....I think you get the idea.

There was so much that I wanted to and really do need to get done but the school holidays just aren't the best time to do it. 

This is mainly because I have two little 'helpers' which means that whatever gets cleaned up soons turns out twice as messy because of all the goodies we find to do something with.

Many fights, wars, karate bouts and other sibling activities also become quite regular and I find myself thinking that it will be much easier to wait until Little Miss R goes back to school and I have just Master M to deal with.

Mmmm...yes...good INTENTIONS.

This is Little Miss R's second day back at school and I have a nice, lovely, pretty list (much nicer to follow when it's pretty), of things that I intend to do around the house.

The reality is that it's:

*  raining

*  perfect snuggling weather (because of the rain)

*  the Australian Open tennis is on which means:

*  I have been up late watching the tennis

*  I am tired because I've been staying up watching tennis and my alarm clock (Master M) wakes me up sometime between 5 and 6am with the constant yelling of 'MUMMY..MUMMY..MUMMY..MUMMY...........'

*  the fourth cricket test between Australia and India starts today

*  I've been spending some lovely moments catching up on my favourite blogs which I haven't had much chance to look at over the last couple of months

*  I have a lovely basket full of yarn which is just waiting for me to crochet it into something wonderful

*  I have therefore lost the inclination to much other than watch sport and do some crochet

On a positive side, I can do some pottering and decluttering in the rooms that have tv so I can watch the tennis and cricket at the same time.  I'm not doing a lot though, just enough to take the edge off the guilt.

...I'm sure I'll be crossing off those jobs on my list with a burst of energy sometime soon...it just won't be until after the cricket, tennis and probably even the rain ends.

xx Susan

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beef sticks

This is something a little different that you can do with mince if you're a bit sick of making bolognaise, pies, rissoles or any other of those regular things.

You can put in any veges or flavours you want really but for this post I'll just give the amounts and quantities for what I actually made today.

Place the following ingredients in a bowl and mix together:

 500g mince
1 finely grated carrot
1 egg
1 teaspoon beef stock
2 crushed cloves garlic
a pinch of mixed herbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce
salt and pepper taste

(You could add grated onion, zucchini, mushrooms etc.  List is endless)

Form 12 balls of equal size and roll them in breadcrumbs.

Using moist hands, place a soaked skewer in the centre of each piece and press around the stick until you have a long sausage shape.

Place in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking.  They can be cooked on the barbeque, on the stove (if you have a long pan) or I sometimes do them under the grill which turns out really well.

Serve with a salad and tomato sauce for the kids or tomato relish for me and enjoy.

I have used smaller paddle pop sticks for the kids before so that they don't pierce their throats with the skewers.  It makes lots of smaller ones that way and can be good if you've got a heap of kids around for a barbeque.

You can also leave the breadcrumb stage until AFTER you've placed the mince mixture on the sticks, especially if you want that really nice crunchy crumbs on the outside. 

I find that when the kids are 'helping' me make these that it's much easier to do the breadcrumbs first.  Mainly because we have a production line and as they have trouble keeping the mixture on the sticks, I do that part and they get to roll the mixture in the breadcrumbs.  I can forgo a crunchier outside for the sake of my sanity sometimes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting ready for school

It's that time of the year again.

Books are covered and everything is labelled.

The bag is packed.

The uniform is ready.

All that's left is for lunch to be made.

My girl starts Year 1 tomorrow.

My heart bursts with pride but also weeps a little at the same time....as only a mother's can.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A little hooky

It's been awhile since I've devoted a post just to crochet but I thought it was about time again.

So what have I been up to in 2012 so far?

Not a lot at first as I didn't get any crochet done for AGES but this last week has been quite productive.

Firstly there's the cotton blanket that I'm making for my bed.  This is going to be the first BIG project for me this year and I'm happy taking my time with it, doing little bits when I can.

I'm doing a flower hexagon design for the blanket in mainly white with pink centres.  Every so often there will be a green/teal sort of hexagon to break up the whiteness of the blanket.  We'll see how it turns out.

I've also been doing a couple of smaller things with flowers.

First I made some small flowers and blocked them so they didn't curl.  Then I made some larger flowers and strung them all together on a chain to make a bit of floral bunting.

It's now hanging in our house and I quite like it's cheerful colour but I'm not entirely sure what hubby thinks of it.

I'm also in the middle of another project which you can see the inspiration for here.  I'm really looking forward to finishing this one which will hopefully be done and dusted sometime in the next week.

That's it so far but I've decided that after my blanket making projects of last year it's time to try my hand at some different things.

That's why I'm doing these smaller projects as well as the main project of my bed blanket.  I like having one major project on the go with something else to help break things up a bit. 

Watch this space (over the next year that is..) to see what other little projects I decide to do.

xx Susan

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011: a review

I have been wanting to do a review of some of what 2011 brought to me.

This is not fully how I wanted to do it, in fact I don't really know how I had planned it, but this is what time has allowed for.

There was plenty of crochet in 2011, especially as I had 7 blankets to make for my nieces and nephews, as well as hubby's blanket and then some scarves for Little Miss R's teachers.

I sadly closed my salon in April because we were going to be moving to Chinchilla.  As you've probably worked out, we're still in the same place and still questioning whether to move or not!  Hmmmmm.....

2011 also saw me begin my grocery challenge where I had to feed my family for $80 per week.  I was so proud of myself that I achieved this quite easily (with a bit of planning) and also plenty of free fresh produce helped too.

There was a lot of cooking and baking to help me meet the challenge as well.  Funny how I've increased the grocery limit a bit and I'm not baking as much. 

Such a shame, maybe I'll do another challenge for 2012, even if it is just to get those wonderful baking aromas wafting through the house.

We also bought a new 4WD twin cab ute and a camper trailer so we could do some camping and spend some great time out and about as a family.

Cania Gorge and Boondooma Dam were the two places we went where we bushwalked, fished, kayaked, lazed about, built camp fires and just had some plain fantastic fun.  Definately more trips planned for 2012!

We love our camper trailer!

It was also the year that Little Miss R began school.

A year of watching my kidlettes grow so much.

A year of challenges, some changes and virtually constantly thinking about moving.  We're still here but we'll see what 2012 brings.

All in all it was a pretty good year.  I hope you all had a fantastic one too.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The painter

The Art of Painting
Jan Vermeer Van Delft

Darling hubby has been painting the bedroom walls and ceiling.

He doesn't believe in drop sheets.

I now have lovely white specks, flecks and blobs on my purple and pink dressing gown as well as my green curtains.

At least the room is looking better

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The holidays

I started the school holidays way back in early December with the intention of blogging regularly.

I now know why women with young school children DON'T blog in the holidays. 

It's utter chaos around here most days and some things just have to slide.

Christmas has been and gone.

Master M's 4th Birthday has been and gone too but we can continue to enjoy the pressies.

A first fish has been caught with the birthday fishing rod.

We have managed to spend some time out and about as a family.

On extremely rare occasions I've been able to sneak in a bit of hooky time.

One week left of the holidays then we'll see what changes happen around the house. 

 At least it will be slightly less chaotic.