Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Reading Round Up

Didn't seem to read as much this month, but some of the things I read were rather detailed and "meaty".

Reading Round Up

It must be something I ate by Jeffrey Steingarten
A series of articles about food and cooking. I learned some things from this book - did you know that breast milk has a natural glutamate in it? And cows milk does not. Which explains (a bit) why DS wasn't so keen on going from one to the other. Mum's milk tasted better ;-) Anyway, interesting articles written by someone who goes to rather amusingly obsessive lengths to test some of his ideas. Like, trying out 10 different coffee machines. He kept blowing the breaker switch on the house doing that one.

Doctored Evidence | Blood from a stone | Uniform Justice all by Donna Leon
Yay! I discovered a new crime series that I enjoy. Love it when that happens. Guido is the detective and it is set in Venice. Well written and kept me involved to the end. Plus all the descriptions of Italian food makes me salivate.

Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life by Barbara Kingsolver
After waiting months for this one from the library (think I was about 150 on the list originally) I finally got to read this. It was worth the wait. I think I will be blogging a bit later about this one in greater detail but in the meantime - definitely pick it up, I do recommend it. Her message is one I have been trying to do, albeit on a smaller scale. I had considered scaling back my garden because I really struggle to keep it going these days with so many other projects and pressure on my time. But having read this book I went out and planted more stuff. Buy local!

Catching the current by Jenny Pattrick
Author of the Denniston Rose and sequel Heart of coal, this story is about Con the Brake and his life prior to the two Denniston books. The endings segue together with the other stories. Great read. I love reading about early New Zealand. A love story but with a bit more.

The Teahouse fire by Ellis Avery
This is one of those books that stay in your head for a while. Aurelia goes with her Jesuit priest uncle to Japan at a time of great change for that country. Western thought and influence are beginning to affect the life and culture of Japan. She runs away and grows up with a Japanese family who are famous for teaching the tea ceremony. Her fortune ebbs and flows with the trends and pressures that come on the family as they live through this time of change. Engrossing!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interview with a 4.5 year old

Having interviewed DS at 3.5 years and made a LO of it, I decided to do it again just for fun and to use it for journaling later.

How old are you?
Too old.
I think you are 4 and a half!

What is your favourite colour?
Black & green.
What is your favourite food?
Pizza, sketti and sausages.
What is your favourite bit about yourself?
Let me see.. I know... jumping!

What are you going to be when you grow up?
A Mantis.

What do you like to play?
Byron, Alfie and George (Thomas the tank Engine and friends)
Being a mantis
What does a mantis do?
They walk around really quiet.

What do you like best about Mummy?
To play with me.
What do you like best about Daddy?
To play with me and set up my trains.
What do you like best about Lydia?
To play with me.
Okay - think I get the picture here.

Who is your best friend?
Any other friends?
Ella and Clayton.

Who do you love?
What about Daddy?
Who else?
Gran & Grandad. Uummmmm... Stuff to play with... aaaaaaaaaah.... Aunty... Aunty Nellie... Nan & Pop... Lydia.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

3 Friday Night Challenges from Scrapbook Outlet

SBO had a challenge last Friday.

1) Use a song lyric or title: Was tempted to use All the nice girls love a sailor but it didn't quite work... so stuck with Sunday morning by Daniel Boone.

2) Scrap lift a layout from the gallery - I used this one from Bronny. Top photo is me asleep by the fire with my bottle of choccy milk. Bottom photo is Missy Moo, leg propped on the table with her bottle of water.

Apparently the only way Mum got me on to the bottle was with chocolate milk. No wonder I have chocolate addictions.

3) Use fabric on your layout. Missy Moo has learnt where the frozen blueberries live. So she opens the freezer and brings them to me to have a treat :-) I dyed some calico and tore it into strips.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Real Nappy Week

First of all - let me translate. Nappy=Diaper.

This week is Real Nappy Week in New Zealand so I'm bloggin' about one of my favourite green habits... using cloth nappies/diapers.

Why did I decide on cloth? Firstly, I wanted to save us some money. Cloth can be cheaper than using disposables. Secondly, I really dislike the idea of putting human waste into landfills. There is a place for human waste, and it is the sewerage treatment plant. Thirdly, I did hope that it would encourage early toilet training. That last one turned out not to work on DS! Maybe on DD it will be more successful! LOL!

I know some of my friends think I'm nuts to do cloth. But for me it has been very little bother once I have my "system" in place.

Two things are in my favour in terms of cloth usage a) I'm a SAHM and b) I usually do laundry every other day. I have a dry nappy bucket in the laundry where the naps waiting to be washed get stored. It's a sealed bucket, and I normally put a bit of white vinegar in it to help keep and odor at bay. As I do laundry at least every 2nd day, it rarely gets very full.

Washing cloth naps is simple. If I use a washable liner in them "#2 gets flicked in the loo" off the liner. Or if it is a disposable liner, the whole lot gets dumped in. I rinse if necessary. Naps get washed on a normal cycle with the household wash (though I do separate them from the tea towels). I use a fragrance free laundry powder (EcoStore is good but there are other options) and put white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. Fabric softener should not be used when washing cloth naps as it will spoil their ability to soak up moisture.

Naps are hung on the line and the sun bleaches them for me. :-) Occasionally I will use some Nappy soaking product to help bad stains.

This is part of my stash of cloth naps. Some of those in the top picture are now in my collection.
I use a mixture of nappy types. I make my own nappies (I made the ones in the top picture). I bought some from Nap-Naps and Snazzipants. I also have some pre-folds that were given to me by a friend. Each one has it's pros and cons, and so I can't really promote one over the other. It's good to have a mix in my experience.

Check out nappy stockists in NZ.

Check out the events happening in your region.

Just to really convince my friends I am nuts, I have actually made my own wet wipes too. I ran out one week and instead of making a trip to the supermarket I used some

  • Aloe Vera juice (the plain liquid stuff - I drank it while I had chicken pox & had some left over. You can get it from the health section in the supermarket. I see you can buy the gel at the chemist).
  • Liquid Baby soap
  • A bunch of soft washies/muslin cloths

and put it all in the plastic wipe box I had already. It worked fine!

You can find other recipes for home made wipes here, and here.

I know I'll probably get some comments about how cloth wasn't an option for you. That's okay - I'm not trying to condemn anyone here for using 'sposies. (Hey, I use them for overnight and if we're travelling -I just try and use the more environmentally friendly type).

My purpose in posting is to raise awareness of the possibilities. And they are so cute. Who wouldn't like to have cow print undies eh?

Menu Plan Monday

Having use the Healthy Food Guide's menu planner to write up my list I then proceeded to leave it at home when I went shopping! Just as well I remembered what I was planning!

Monday - roast chick legs, salad, roast vege medley
Tuesday - Star anise beef with rice, stir fry veges
Wednesday - Vego burgers using falafel mix for the patties
Thursday - Chicken satay, rice, salad
Friday - Beef and carrot stew, mashed spuds, beans
Saturday - quintessential NZ take away.. Fish 'n' Chips
Sunday - soup and pizza

We're going on holiday this week hence the takeaway. DH and I had some great FnC at the place we're going some years ago so we're hoping they haven't changed hands since then! We're renting a bach through Holiday Houses for the first time. Normally we'd stay in a cabin in a camp ground but this time we thought we'd try this option seeing we're staying for a longer period.

It seemed a good idea with the children the age they are. DH has great plans for landscape photography which will involve some day tramps - not all of which are suitable for a 4.5 yr old and a mummy carrying 10.2kg of little girl on her back. The good thing about this option is that we can eat normal meals because there is a proper kitchen. I'm going to cook and freeze some stuff this week to take so that I have a bit of a break too. Three litres of Pea and Ham soup on the stove as we speak!

Friday, April 18, 2008

NZ Dare #43

here is my entry for the NZ Dare 43. Miss L was allowed to get out of the pram and venture onto the play ground at Western Springs. She didn't like the swing much.

This one is about DS and how his favourite colour is green because he pretends to be a praying mantis. All. the. time. If the green shirt is in the wash then it's a struggle to find something with green on it so he'll wear it without a fuss. I've explained about different coloured mantis (manti?) but it's not working.

We have great conversations about them -what they eat, drink, and how they smell. We censored the bit in the life cycle book about boy ones being eaten while mating though. He was most offended when Grandad squashed one with his shoe. "I saw his guts Mum!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dinner time conversation

Picture the family eating dinner calmly together. Mum and Dad talking about something inconsequential.
DS bursts into heart rending sobs.
All turn to look at him in surprise.

Me: What's the matter sweetheart?
DH: What's up mate?
DS between sobs: I love you Mummy! Don't die! I don't want you to die! I love you!

Me taken aback to say the least: Um... I wasn't planning on dying just yet darling.

Later I tried to find out where that came from. I'm still not sure but I think I'm going to have to watch what I say in terms of my death.

Death is something my family aren't afraid to talk about - in fact we have a very pragmatic approach to it and sometimes even joke about it - but I think DS might be starting to understand what it actually means.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No added colour

No added colour
Originally uploaded by pdugmore2001.

My little cropping group got together finally and I managed to create one single LO in the evening. I'm still not entirely happy with it but am not sure what to do to to make it better.

I have all these ideas but putting them into reality is another matter. My mojo is blocked or something. How to spark my creativity? Part of the problem is time and being able to feel free to sit down and do things. Last week was hopeless because I didn't feel I should disappear into my scrapping lair while the ILs were here.

DH has been playing with his toys he got for his birthday.

He is a fan of the Strobist website and has got some flashes etc to play with. He's been 10 years at his place of work and they gave him some money as a gift which he used to get some other gear too. Here is his effort.

Licorice Allsorts (Copyright 2008 Rod Dugmore)

BTW - Wordpress hates me right now. It tells me I'm posting comments too quickly. Even though it can be a day between each comment! So my lovely WP users - I'm reading but don't be surprised if my comments are sparse.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Favourite Things

Favourite Things
Originally uploaded by pdugmore2001.

themommykelly is back with Flaunt it Friday and so here is my take on her theme: A few of your favourite things.

This would be a great meme for those of you doing a BOM! *hint hint*

From top left-right:
* My Great-grandmother's hat resting on my candle-wicked quilt that my mum made me for my wedding. My g-gma was a bit of a fashion follower and my g-gpa complained everything she got had to be top quality! LOL! The hat doesn't fit me but I wish it did. My quilt is awesome.
* My bookshelf. I need more of these.
* My cake mixer. I use it every week, probably more than once. It's red which is one of my favourite colours and one of the reasons we forked out the money for an expensive brand.

Bottom row left - right:
* Neem granules - my favourite "green" gardening pest management. Great for controlling sucking/chewing pests organically.
* My gecko - I collect these and this is my favourite. One day I will have a china cabinet to display him.
* Coffee from Atomic and chocolate (Lindt in this case).

What are a few of your favourite things?

Monday, April 07, 2008

hinderance or inspiration?

hinderance or inspiration?

One reason why getting to my scrapping desk is tricky.

Two of my friends (who also scrapbook) are blogging now as well... check out Rachel and her mum Kaye. :)

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - roast chook, veges etc
Tuesday - Nasi goreng
Wednesday - Lamb chops, spuds & greens
Thursday - Chicken tortilla things
Friday - Beef skewers and fragrant rice (yeah yeah I know, but I like 'em)
Sat/Sun - flexiplan meals i.e. I haven't decided.

Last week's plan went well, the party went well and a good time had by all. I made a lot of stuff prior to the day so that meant I didn't have too much to do on the day. The birthday cake wasn't such a success though because I didn't entirely follow the instructions.

Making DH's birthday cake seems to always cause me grief! Kids cakes and every day baking cakes don't seem to be an issue. I don't know why but it seems of all the cakes I've made him in our 9 years of married life, so far only one has been a cake I've been entirely happy with! I always seem to do something wrong. One year I left out the sugar. How stupid was that?!

My darling FIL has been toiling all day today fixing up our windows. He discovered my kitchen windows were rotting in several places so he's been scraping, gouging, treating, bogging, sanding and painting to get them fixed. He's up on a ladder - the kitchen is up on the second level - and it gives me the heebee jeebies to see him perched up there with concrete below doing all this work.

Mum and MIL have spent the day hitting the shops and both of them have had it! LOL! But it was all successful anyway.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

sketch challenge

This one is for the Paper Pesto sketch challenge. Actually it could go into the NZ Dare 42 too, but I'm not sure if I can enter 2 competitions with one layout!

The sketch was so nice to work with :)

The journalling reads:
When I was in Standard 3 and 4 we had an inter-school concert where all the choirs joined together. For this one we had to dress up as the theme was songs from around the world. I wore a fake kimono. Then in 1985 I got to try on a genuine kimono which belonged to a Japanese friend.

These photos bring back good memories for me. I might write more on the back of the layout.

The concert was exhilarating because I love to sing, and especially in a choir. I still can remember most of the songs we sang at this particular concert. My friend Michelle (from this LO) is the other girl in the photo.

The other photo was taken when we lived in Germany for a year. My Dad was doing a 12 month sabbatical at the Max Planck Institute in a small town called Bad Nauheim. Those were the days when the university let you do this! This time was a struggle for me. I was at that awkward age when puberty mucks around with your emotions and your body, and I was far, far away from anybody I considered "best friend". But this day I did feel special. I was the right size to wear this adult kimono and it felt so luxurious. I grew about 3 cm that year and the height combined with all the other "stuff" happening meant most of my wardrobe was too small, too tight, too babyish etc etc. My mum had dreadful trouble trying to get clothes for me and I ended up with a lot of hand me downs. Luckily kimono are very forgiving!

NZ Dare 42

The theme for this dare is scrap a childhood memory, so thus I have duly done.

Gotta love those orange tinted photos. I did scan this one and change it a bit, but it is hard when the original isn't good to start with. Never mind!

This LO is about my best friend from primary school. We were inseparable from about Standard 1-4 (7yrs to 10yrs). Funnily enough I can't remember the kinds of games we played. Makes you realise how quickly you forget this sort of stuff.

The chipboard letters have been done with crackle paint but they don't show up so good in the photo.


Do you know about this? I discovered it some time ago and have been enamored of the idea since. Just the other day I discovered that there is a local group of Freecyclers so I signed up.

Freecycle Network is a not for profit movement designed to keep stuff out of landfills. It's about reusing things that still have good use. It is totally free to join.

I have a number of baby oriented items that I need to move on now that the children are older. They aren't worth listing on Trade Me (my ambivalent feelings about that site aside) and yet somebody could use them. Most of the folks I know no longer need the items in question so I can't pass them on to a friend like I normally would.

So last week I put on an old LL Bean backpack we were given. It was worn, faded and hardly flash, but I had lots of interest in it. I also offered a baby recliner/rocker thing that we'd had for 4 years. Again - heaps of interest. It gave me a good feeling to choose someone to give these items to, and know that they would be used rather than go into landfill. Haven't managed to pas on my pile of maternity sewing patterns yet :-)

Why not see if there is a freecycling group in your area?

The types of things being offered are varied. So far I've seen fejoas, desks, laptops, fridges, freezers, plastic containers, wooden blinds, Kodak Camera dock and net curtains.
You can also ask for things. So far the wanted items have been varied too! Clothes, fridges, freezers, modems, fejoas for wine making, old copper hot water cylinder...

Give it a go!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

March Reading Round Up


Edward Trencom's Nose / by Giles Milton
Story about a family of Trencom's who have a mysterious past and the ability to use their nose to identify cheese. Sort of like a wine nose but with cheese. Edward Trencom is the latest in line with this ability, but his normal life gets put in jeopardy by the appearance of a strange Greek bearing dire warnings. A slightly off beat story but quite fun. Made me want to eat cheese.

The Piano Tuner/ Daniel Mason
A piano tuner who specialises in a particular type of piano is requested to go to Burma to tune a piano belonging to one of the diplomats there. Having never experienced such exotica before he finds it all rather strange and exciting. Things turn to custard of course, and he has to deal with it all. Strangely exhilarating.

A history of insects / by Yvonne Roberts
Set at the end of Britain's "occupation" of India, an enclave of British public servants have to rub along together despite their differences. In their midst, a little girl having to deal with a very controlling, odd mother witnesses something she doesn't really understand but which could have consequences beyond her imagination. To hide her journal from prying eyes she begins another entitled "A history of insects". This story was enthralling and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though parts of it were uncomfortable to read.

The virgin's knot / by Holly Payne
Okay, DH 's rude comments aside, this book was also quite enthralling. It's about a crippled weaver in Turkey, love, duty and spirituality and the conflicts that arise between them. Sad ending though.

Simply Heaven/ Serena Mackesy
Aussie sheila meets British toff and they fall in love while on holiday. Conflict arises when they go back to his home and family, and she discovers what she is in for. Archaic rules, b*tchy MILs and g-mas, a crumbling castles and mysterious scandals in the past makes for some interesting times! Highly amusing, suspenseful and a great read. Found myself sneaking away to read this when I should have been doing work.

Quattrocento/ by James McKean
A conservator in New York discovers a long forgotten portrait in the bowels of the museum storage and restores it, falls in love with the woman, and via some very confusing physics manages to travel back in time to 15 century Tuscany. I found this one a bit hard to follow in parts - somehow didn't always "hang" together. Maybe it's because I didn't get the Understanding Physics & Maths gene. Dunno. Good story. Might have enjoyed it more if there was more about the relationships in it rather than the mechanics of time travel. Lots of interesting factual stuff about painting though.

Frankie & Stankie/by Barbara Trapido
Two girls growing up in 1950s South Africa where it's a time of dreadful change. The story follows Dinah's journey through childhood and adolescence as she deals with her family's values and those of her country. Absorbing book.

Layouts for March

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday

Monday - had lamb shanks with rice and sauteed spinach. Excellent recipe below!
Tuesday - venison sausages (nice low fat ones) and some other veges... haven't decided what
Wednesday - soba noodle salad recipe here
Thursday - grilled chick with lime and ginger from a Vietnamese book DH got out of the library, stir fry veg, rice
Friday - DH's Moroccan birthday tea
Sat - not sure, maybe bbq, maybe casserole
Sun - roast chook

ILs are coming on Friday so have to modify my menus a bit since they aren't very adventurous eaters. As it is, Moroccan is going to be stretching it for them, but DH has requested it and it's his birthday. They are staying for a week (!) Don't get me wrong, I get on well with them but I will probably need some space during that time to escape and do my own thing. Hoping my friend G hurries up and lets me know if she can do a crop next week.

SBO and Paper Pesto have some beautiful kits out for May and this month respectively. I am suffering from paper covetousness.

Lamb Shank & Prune Tagine
from Cooking Moroccan/ text & recipes Tess Mallos , Millers Pt, NSW, Australia: Murdoch Books Pty Ltd, pg 78

You will need 4 frenched lamb shanks. If unavailable, use whole lamb shanks and ask the butcher to saw them in half for you. Place a heavy based saucepan over high heat add 1 T oil and 30g butter, then add lamb shanks. Brown shanks on all sides and remove to plate. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 chopped onion, cook gently for 5 mins until soft. Add 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) water, 1/4 t grounds saffron threads, 1/2 t ground ginger, 2 cinnamon sticks and 4 coriander (cilantro) sprigs tied in a bunch. Season, to taste. Stir well and return lamb to pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Remove zest of 1/2 lemon in wide strips and add to the pan, cook for further 30 mins. Add 300g pitted prunes and 2 T honey, cover and simmer for a further 30 mins or until lamb is tender. Remove and discard coriander sprigs. Serve hot, sprinkled with 1 T roasted seasame seeds.

Penny's modifications: Soften the onion in the microwave, and bung everything into a big casserole pot. (I used my big clay pot which is similar in philosophy to a tagine). Stick in the oven for 2-3 hours until cooked.