Monday, March 31, 2008

You know you have a serious problem

with scrapbooking when you dream that Tim Holtz visited and said he liked your albums.

Want a fejoa? Here's Miss L all dressed up for Sunday morning, modelling a smocked sailor suit I made a while ago. She fits it even though it is supposed to be 18 months. She will be 15 months next week. I think she's going to be a tall blonde.

Regrettably Mr Unthinking Caterpillar did not survive the transfer from my car hubcap. I think I should've waited until it hardened up some more. Unfortunately I had problems getting the clothes peg to attach and managed to drop it a couple of times.

Not good. It split. No more butterfly.

I am a butterfly murderer.

My more pragmatic side says it is merely a silly caterpillar removing itself from the gene pool. LOL!

I am consoled by the fact there are 2 more chrysalis on my plants and 2 up at the school.

DH's birthday on Thursday. I've hidden his present (even though he ordered it and knows what it is) and he's not allowed to open it until his birthday. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah revenge! I'm planning a Moroccan feast for Friday night. I am tempted to wear a belly dance costume though I'm not sure that is traditional for Morocco. However, since our respective families will be coming a burqah might be more ... respectable.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Unthinking Caterpillar

The Unthinking Caterpillar

No no no no no!
My car is NOT a good place to make your chrysalis!

I can't go anywhere until it's transformed. Then I might use some tweezers and move it somewhere safer. Still thinking about what to attach it with... glue?

I've had to transfer most of our population of caterpillars to the school swan plants because they've run out of leaves on ours.

Vanity is in

Vanity is in

And here is the evidence! Very pleased with it. Am eyeing up some items in Living & Giving to accessorise my bathroom come pay day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday | Grilled vege salad & a soup recipe

Monday - lamb tagine, couscous, tomato/cucumber salad
Tuesday - apricot chicken (yes! shades of 80's coming through here!), rice, sauteed spinach
Wednesday - Roast lamb, roast spuds, possibly pumpkin too for DH and I, broccoli
Thursday - Pasta carbonara, salad
Friday - beef skewers and fragrant rice, salad
Saturday - vegetarian feast with friends including the salad below
Sunday - dunno. maybe leftovers.

Also have plans to make this Sticky toffee ginger cake with caramel icing sometime this week.

Penny's Grilled Vege Salad

Marinade the following in fresh thyme, lemon juice and olive oil for a while:
  • 1 big purple eggplant cut into rounds about 1 cm thick
  • 6-7 big fat chunky mushrooms (e.g. portobello)
  • 1-2 courgettes sliced into batons

Grill the veges on a BBQ or under a grill. Place in a bowl. Add the following:

  • handful blanched green beans cut into smaller 1-2 cm lengths
  • 1 can borlotti or butter beans drained
  • chopped preserved lemons to taste (I used 3/4 of one)
  • 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • heaped palm of finely chopped parsley

Make a vinaigrette of
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • dijon/whole grain mustard
and add it to the vegetables. Mix gently to combine and serve still slightly warm.

I tried some new recipes this past week. The following was very good. It's from Dish (Issue 17 April 2008-May 2008)

Zucchini*, spinach and mint soup with goat's cheese croutes

2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
350g floury potatoes peeled and finely diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 large tomato, seeds scooped out and diced
500g zucchini, grated
100g shredded spinach
1/4 cup chopped mint

To finish:
1 lemon
salt and pepper
creme fraiche
4 slices country-style bread, grilled or toasted (I used a walnut bread from the supermarket)
soft goats cheese or feta

Heat oil in large saucepan and add onion, garlic, potatoes and 1/2 cup of the stock. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until soft but not coloured. Add remaining stock and tomato and cook f 15 minutes before adding the zucchini. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to wilt, about 1 minute.

Ladle half the soup into a food processor, add all the mint and puree. Return to the saucepan, stirring to combine. I just used my stick blender and roughly pureed most of it. Stir in lemon juice and season.

To serve: Serve in warm bowls. Garnish with creme fraiche. Spread warm grilled bread with goat's cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and grind of pepper. Serves 4.

*Zucchini = courgette

The other recipe I tried was from an older edition. Dish Issue 13 (August 2007-September 2007). It's a lovely autumn dessert - apples covered with a vanilla/almond sponge. Lovely served warm with ice cream. And custard of course. My favourite!

Eve's Pudding

800g apples (I used granny smith's)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 t gr. ginger
pinch cloves and nutmeg
2 T each lemon juice and water
1/2 cup sultanas

150g butter
150g sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
2 t fine lemon zest
30 g slivered almonds
1-2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

Apples: Butter a 6 cup capacity baking dish. Pell, quarter and core the apples. Cut into 1 cm thick slices. Place in the dish with the sugar, spices, lemon juice, water and sultanas. Bake 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Sponge: Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Fold in flour, alternating with the buttermilk and lemon zest. Spoon the batter over the apples and scatter with the almonds and sugar.

Spread the sponge mixture over the apples. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bothersome Bunnies

Here is my entry for NZ Dare #41! Also an entry for Lara's Use-your-stash challenge at SBO.
This paper pack was given to me so I thought I'd have a go at using it up. It's not really "me" but it turned out okay with a bit of sewing/inking.

"Oi Mum! What's this on the floor?"
DD looking bemused at what the Easter Bunny did. DS's trains seemed to be attracted to his eggs.

I had hidden the Easter eggs in a bag under my bed, and when I got them out to put on the table I discovered one of them had a suspicious hole in it. At first I thought the kids had discovered my secret, but on closer inspection I realised there were tell-tale teeth marks. A mouse!! Having discovered mouse poo in DS's room the day before, this confirmed my suspicions. Yippy hasn't been dead 6 months and they have moved in. The cheek!

Felt Food. Going to make some more of these. I want to make a lamington, but need to get some brown felt. My local Spotlight doesn't seem to have brown the last time I looked. In case you can't work it out, they are a piece of sushi, a rather vibrant orange carrot and a cupcake. I think the carrot might not be organic because it is so bright.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pose of the child

When I first went to a yoga class and learned the pose of the child I really didn't think it was that comfortable. Until I got pregnant and realised that hanging my big old belly down through my knees was actually very restful.

Occasionally while pregnant, I would say my prayers in this pose, and ...uh ... occasionally I would fall asleep while doing so. *blush*

So I was rather amused to see Miss L sleeping like this.

Thank you for your uplifting comments about my last post. I did appreciate them! I'm over the initial "Wah they didn't pick me!" reaction and am happy not to have to deal with organising child care and other stuff. I do believe that all things work together for good in every aspect of my life. Let it be.

Hey - check out the bathroom progress. Here is DH busy chipping off the old tiles.

Of course, you can't do anything in this house without an audience. Including George the steam roller you might notice.

Euuuwww Glue!

The glue has been scraped off. DH managed to munt his shoulder doing it so there was much application of wheaty heaty, emugel and moans about massages required. It's now had several coats of polyurathane.

And...... da tee da tee didi daaaaaaah! The vanity went in today! Hoooooray! It's still not entirely finished. We need more pipe. So although the sink taps are connected and work, we can't actually use it until the waste pipe gets connected up. Once it's all done, I'll take another photo to post.

So it's all good.

I'm feeling virtuous because I weeded my garden today and now I can look my FIL in the face when he comes down next week! LOL!

Now from the pervasive aroma that occurs when DD walks by, I perceive that duty calls.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Ah well,
Didn't get that one. All candidates of high calibre etc etc blah blah, but the successful person had something extra. Whatever.

I suspect it's something extra-curricular because the current librarian does the costumes for the school productions. Or it could be because I hadn't managed "teacher resource room" before. Like that is going be any different to managing a special collection - which I've done (x-rays, anatomical models dadedah). Anyway, I wasn't the face that fitted.

I'm a bit disappointed, nobody likes rejection! But at the same time a bit relieved. I came away from the interview feeling sort of *meh*... unexcited and just kind of okay about it. They didn't even show me the library which was odd.

Hopefully this means there will be something better for me in my future.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Maintaining Innocence

Your loud squeal of delight
"Mummy the bumblebees made some 'joas!"*
My throat closes in laughter, and I fight

Telling you of mingling pollen with stigma
Thrusting pollen tubes joining acquiescent ova

For now "Yes" I say
"The bumblebees help"
Revelling in joyful simplicity today


Saturday, March 15, 2008

The bluebird of happiness

passed me by and instead the chicken of chicken pox came to visit me. Not my children yet. But me.

Right now submerging myself in a tank of calamine lotion sounds like bliss.

I'm doing alright - my sister says I have Weird Pox because I wasn't as sick as her so I am grateful for small mercies.

However, feeling like I am wrapped in a whole body suit of scratchy, itchy wool is probably not some I will feel grateful for until it's over and I'm immune. Sleeping is very difficult.

DH had a work trip booked so I went home to be looked after by my Mum. Thank goodness for grandmas is what I say.

I had to postpone my interview until Wednesday next week. I trust I will be over this thing by then, if a little... uh.. scabby. Hello Concealer!

Scratching my butt in the interview is probably not very attractive either.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend creations

Did 2 LOs at Mum's on Saturday.
Now I've put a hold on all things creative because my house is a mess! I really better do something about it.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - roast chick, garlic and rosemary potatoes, salad
Tuesday - smoked fish pie, steamed carrots
Wednesday - leftover chilli con carne from the freezer plus the usual fixings
Thursday - Pad thai
Friday - vegetarian feast for friends
Saturday - BBQ, salad, ciabatta
Sunday - pizza

Well I did finally make the ravioli last week but totally changed the recipe beyond recognition! The original recipe is geared towards the seafood end of the spectrum which DH doesn't particularly like. I was attracted to the pumpkin seed aspect of it, so I added some toasted ground almonds, ricotta, sage and chives instead of miso and tofu. I liked the result but DH thought they were too dry. Oh well. DS liked them - he calls them "little pillows".

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bloggin' Mum?

Check out this lady - she needs some help with her research. I did it - wasn't hard. I'd be interested in her results.

Are you a mom? Do you blog?

I am a mom trying to finish my PhD; and I need YOUR help!

I am conducting academic research FOR you and ABOUT you. I have a particular interest in studying those things that make the transition to motherhood easier, or at the very least, better understood. The growing number of “Mommy Bloggers” has piqued my interest and I am researching the experience of blogging for mothers of young children. Your help would be greatly appreciated and go a long way toward increasing the knowledge of the ways in which blogging can be meaningful for people like mothers.

Please complete my survey and let me know about your blogging experience.

Please click HERE to learn more, or simply click the web button that you see below.

I know your time is valuable, thank you so much for participating.

For Vicky's Challenge - Me @ 34

Got this one in before the deadline but I don't think I'll have time to do the other challenges for the SBO cybercrop before midnight tonight! I used one of Trina's sketches for this.

Journalling reads:
This is me at 34 years old. A stay-at-home-mum of one pre-schooler and one toddler. My current focus is on family, home and simple pleasures like having time to pursue my crafts. Although I look a bit ragged around the edges and need a decent sleep. this is probably the most fulfilling time of my life so far. I'm contemplating re-entering the workforce but am not sure how everything is going to fit in. I want to enjoy this time while it lasts.

Now you know how old I am! Ha ha! This is for my Book of Me which I'm filling sporadically.

Did I say I got an interview for that job I applied for? It's next week on Friday. *gulp* So long since I did the interview thing. I'll have to dig out some "interview" clothes.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lara's Scraplift Challenge

After stuffing up my print job I managed to get only 1 LO done last night for the SBO Cybercrop challenges. This one was for Lara's challenge: scraplift one of the LOs in the gallery. I chose this one - probably because my subconscious latched on to the title. Heh heh!

Our fig tree has been fruiting very well and despite my fears the silver eyes would get them all, I have managed to make about 16 jars (or varying sizes) of jam. I do like fig jam (especially with ginger) but I'm not likely to eat 16 jars! Fortunately, I have plenty of friends and relatives to give jars away to. Hate to see all that fruit go to waste.

In addition I'm getting DH, my Dad and sister to sell some for me at their work to raise some money for DS's kindy. The kindy seems to be stuck on doing raffles for fund raising and I'm philosophically opposed to getting people to buy something they may not get any goods/services for. I sympathise with the need for fund raising but wish they would choose some other method! So this is my little rebellious solution. The kindy gets their money, and I salve my conscience. And get rid of excess jam.
The photo has been given Matt's 300 treatment.

I've also been making an eco-bag for a "happy mail" parcel. Some of you might guess who this one is for. *wink* More in the works....

Oh - and Shell asked what font I used in my banner. It's called Reprobate and I stretched it out a bit horizontally to make more space between the letters.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I discovered that I've been honoured by The Green Baby Guide who included me in their Best Green Baby Blog list. I'm highly flattered and delighted to be included! I also feel I better increase the posts about "green babyness"... um. Not sure what yet, but I will think about it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Favour for Delys

Delys is doing a game so I'm helping her out by posting this picture of a pink Easter egg.

Edited to add: And just for the record my conscience is pricking me about the water mark!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

February Reading Round Up


A 1000 splendid suns by Khaled Hosseini
Brilliant. Loved it. Better than The Kite runner IMO - not so gloomy.

Aerie by Mercedes Lackey
Predictable good versus evil. I used to enjoy her stuff but now I find them a bit pedestrian. Good "clean" fantasy though.

The Silent Frontier by Peter Watt
Historical fiction, coming of age type story. Read it mainly because I've read his others in the series and this one is set partially in NZ during the NZ Wars. Sparked my interest in the NZ Wars. It's an okay book - nothing too original but a good yarn.

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Very much enjoyed this one. Fantasy genre and with a slightly different set of characters and "powers". Good fun! Strong heroine and interesting setting.

On the run by Iris Johansen
Entirely predictable thriller that I nearly didn't bother to finish.

The impressionist by Hari Kunzri
Loved this one. Another coming of age type story set in India (and Britain) during the time of Britain's rule. Main character is bought up as Indian but discovers he is actually and Anglo-indian. Rejected by his family he has to make his own way and find his own sort of identity. Some amusing characters and situations, and an intriguing look at the type of people in each country during this time. A surprising sort of ending but not unsatisfactory.

Layouts completed
Two 12x12
Thirty-two 6x6 for SCKC

Take off the vanity

and you will see
A dirty, scungy wall
Looking at me!

Yuck! Will get on and try to clean it up after this post. Check out the rag on the floor - the navy/yellow one. That was part of DH's honeymoon jammies until they fell apart. ;-)

Layout for the SBO Cybercrop Challenge 1 using Trina's sketch. I've prettied it up some since the night it was done, and taken a better photo.

I am a lucky chicky! I won some Fiskar's kid scissors from the Fiskar's blog. Neat!

And the lovely Janine is going to send me a book. Yay! Thank you Janine.

So I am feeling special :-)

Have some plans for more baggy giveaways in the pipeline but I need to actually make them. And the bathroom is preying on my mind right now. But keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in eco-bags.

I've got 2.8kg worth of figs on the stove getting made into jam. I've already made 2 lots of jam and there are more figs on the tree. Might have to let the cheeky wax eyes have at them. ;-) It'll give DH an excuse to get out in his bag hide and take their photo.

Menu Plan Monday Tuesday

Ugh - well last week wasn't so successful. Not because of my menu but more the fact my life didn't go exactly to plan. We had unexpected visitors and then I ran out of oomph to make the ravioli. Anyhow - on to another week.

Monday - had a roast lamb with veges, peas and carrots. Simple but nice.
Tuesday - Tacos (I want to win the car competition)
Wednesday - crumbed chicken using Kristen's breading mixture, green beans, potato salad
Thursday - going to try to do the ravioli! Again!
Friday - Spicy beef and carrot pies, salad
Sat - DH going away for the night so dinner at Mums :-)
Sun - lamb something in the crockpot... have to decide what though