Archive for April 2008

 

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One Thing I Hate About Parenting

30 April 2008

My 5 year old son has this annoying habit of changing into a new set of clothes for each daily event.

Wake up – put on comfy, home clothes.
Going to the shops – put on nice going-out clothes.
Playing in the backyard and sandpit – put on old, muck-about clothes.
Bike ride in the evening – put on warm gear for the park.
Night time – new set of comfy, home clothes.

All that is actually ok. The real problem is that he leaves the discarded clothes on the floor. In a big heap.

At which, I politely point out : STOP LEAVING YOUR CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR!

And he replies, “WHY? You leave YOUR clothes on the floor!”


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The Beginning of an Art Collection

29 April 2008

Back in my high school years, I was a keen art student overflowing with many artistic dreams. Of course, most of them were quite unrealistic – but a few have stayed with me.

1) To have an art exhibition. In October 2007, I had an opportunity of a lifetime. I collaborated with some friends and we put on our very first group art exhibition. It was such an excellent and exciting experience. And a dream come true!

2) To start an art collection. I love it when a picture takes my breath away – when colours, shapes, and textures inspire every molecule in my body, and I’m left basking in an afterglow of enchantment. To have my home full of these incredible images! To build a collection!

So here I am, at the brink of a new dream.

I now own my first piece of original art! Eeeek!

I am soooo so so so thrilled, inspired and I’m buzzing with excitement! I want to shout out to the world, I want share it with others, I want to buy gifts of art for my friends!

Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari

Dreamtime Sisters
by Colleen Wallace Nungari

“The painting depicts the dancing Dreamtime Sisters. Ancestral spirit figures known to the Eastern Arrernte people of Central Australia as Irrernte – arenye. The spirits look after their country and guide their families.”

It arrived from Central Art Aboriginal Art Store, a site specialising in authentic contemporary and traditional Aboriginal paintings.

I was really impressed with their level of professionalism – the painting came nicely rolled up, with a biography of the artist, a photograph of the artist (with the painting), and a Certificate of Authenticity – proving that it is an one-off, totally unique original, not just a print.

Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari

My particular work is certainly from the more affordable end of the spectrum …but I still love it! I’ve been told it’s a good place to start an art collection!

I’m holding it in my hand and I can’t believe it’s mine. It’s so stunning. So unexpected. So original. It speaks of a 100,000-year-ancient-yet-still-living culture and an expression that I can’t even begin to understand, but I am truly spellbound.

Here are links to some other particularly amazing Indigenous paintings I found on the Central Art Store.

Sand Dune Country by Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa

Sand Dune Country by Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa

Mina-Mina 2005 by Dorothy Napangardi

Mina-Mina 2005 by Dorothy Napangardi

Awelye & Bush Melon by Minnie Pwerle

Awelye & Bush Melon by Minnie Pwerle

Womens Ceremony by Nanyuma Napangarti

Womens Ceremony by Nanyuma Napangarti

…………………………………………

Abie Loy Kemarre

Central Art is holding a competition to win an Abie Loy Kemarre painting valued at AUD$3,000. Entry is free. You just need to signup to the Central Art mailing list, and fill in a simple form. Competition closes 30 May 2008.


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Weekend in the City

28 April 2008

Weekend in the city


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Lomo Loving

27 April 2008

FotoLomo Exhibition Perth

I went to a Lomography exhibition the other evening. And oooh how I love lomos! They are definitely the coolest, quirkiest and craziest kind of photography around. Ah, they always make me giggle and smile.

Lomography started out in the 1990s, when some students got hold of a small Russian camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automat. They went around taking hundreds of snapshots, in crazy, bizarre, random, super-strange situations, angles and positions.

Then they developed them with the cheapest kind of processing they could find, and displayed them as a wall of vibrant images and spontaneous expression – launching a new style of underground artistic photography.

Lomos are characterised by vibrant, high contrast colours and often miscellaneous and eccentric ideas. I think they look so cool!

FotoLomo Exhibition Perth

Mirror

I couldn’t find anyone to go with me at such late notice, so I was a lone visitor that night.

I did try to make small talk with a few people though. I accidentally thumped a chick with my handbag TWICE, I nearly tripped over a dog (who was strutting around the crowded gallery space), I saw a guy who looked like Michael J. Fox, and I almost bought a lomo print of a spooky streetscape.

I must admit, the first thing I thought was “How do I create the lomographic style in Photoshop?”

And I spent most of my time closely examining all the lomos and planning the series of Photoshop steps and layers I would need to create it. How geeky of me.


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String of Diamonds

26 April 2008

Spiderweb Raindrops

We have a very large spider living on our front porch.

Every night it will spin an impressive web the size of a family-sized pizza next to the porch light. And every night, it is spectacular and perfect in every way – shape, symmetry, detail. However… there always is one small problem with it.

The spider plants one of its web’s anchor points onto our car’s side mirror. So every morning as my husband drives to work, the web breaks and the spider has to do it all over again the next evening.

It also means that on the weekends – when my husband doesn’t go to work – we have the pleasure of checking out the work of a true master craftsman.

This morning, even though it was a bit damaged from last night’s feast, the web was particularly pretty after the rain.


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Just Chilling

24 April 2008

At the New Cafe 130

We caught up with an old friend this evening.

We ate a delicious Vietnamese meal, and made our way to the new Cafe130 down the road. All the couches in the cafe are black, except for this one! Hideous! It looks like a very big underwear by Bonds.

However the cafe has an awesome selection of real leaf teas, 20 different choices of cakes, chocolate crackles and honeyjoys!

Gotta love honeyjoys and peppermint tea!

At the new Cafe 130


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Our Teeny Tiny Day Trip

23 April 2008

After our last exceedingly stressful holiday, we decided to take a very, very simple and small trip to Rockingham.

Rockingham has a nice stretch of beach, lots of parks and playgrounds, a strip of cafes, a shopping centre, some nice walking trails, lookouts and lovely coastal views – it’s small and simple, and it’s only 30 minutes out of town.

Our objective for this trip was : hang out at a beach and sit in a cafe.

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

^ We arrived and ate lunch at a random cafe. As I was taking the photo, I said coolly, “Sean. I’d like you to put down that knife, right now.” Look at that hilarious expression on his face!

Day Trip To ^ Rockingham 08 Day Trip To ^ Rockingham 08

^ We took a little drive along the coast. Walked along some bush tracks, found some look outs.

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

We found a sheltered beach. The water was so still. The kids hopped about in the rock pools. I grimaced at the fact that the boys had no shoes on, but hey I did the same when I was a kid.

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

^ I sat in the shade and rearranged shells on the beach. Very therapeutic.

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

^ The boys went for a walk and found ingredients for Poh Poh’s (grandma) Chinese soups.

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

^ They also found a HUGE bundle of rope, which they dragged back to show me. “We found some treasure!”

Day Trip To Rockingham 08

^ My husband found a piece of wood, tangled amongst the seaweed. I suggested that he should tie some of the rope on it, and make a wake board thing.

And lo and behold, we all had the most glorious day trip ever!!

Day Trip To Rockingham 08


Day Trip To Rockingham 08

Day Trip To Rockingham 08


Day Trip To Rockingham 08


Day Trip To Rockingham 08


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Pre-Winter Window Shopping

22 April 2008

FCUK Winter 2008

It’s autumn here in Australia. The cold weather has stormed in like an unannounced guest. And I have been very unprepared…

I think I need new boots. A new pair of jeans. And a few tops for layering. I can finally wear my vintage fishnets again. Maybe I should try some coloured tights.

I found some nice, winter basics from French Connection. I love wearing black, whites and greys with a splash of red. Or purple.


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Photoshop Branches

21 April 2008

Final Graphic of Branches

This afternoon, we had a garden clean up day. My husband pruned all the overgrown trees in our backyard, while the boys and I dragged all the cuttings to the front verge.

We created a huge mountain of sticks and leaves next to our driveway.

I had an strangely pleasant moment as I picked up a large bundle of sticks. I wrapped my arms wide around the thick cluster of twigs and my fingers couldn’t touch on the other side. I lifted it up, pressed it against my body and walked towards the front yard.

I chuckled to myself, thinking “To do for the month: Hug a tree and like it. Done.”

I was fascinated by the way some branches twisted together. So I grabbed my camera. I stooped close to the pile to take some photos. Unfortunately our darling neighbours saw me and teased me until I laughed so much I couldn’t keep a steady hand.

I told them that I was “I was gathering photographic texture. For my art.”

However, I wasn’t too happy with the shots I took in the end. I didn’t have enough time to plan the composition etc. So I promised myself I’d do something cool with them in Photoshop.

Here is the original photo for the above graphic.

Original Photo of Branches

It’s a very crap photo! But it has some interesting shapes and angles.

Branches with Photoshop Layer Blending

This is the same image with 5 layers of blending.

Layer 1 : Duplicate of original. Black and white. High contrast. Set to Overlay.
Layer 2 : Duplicate of original. Set to Multiply. Middle of picture is erased with airbrush.
Layer 3 : Duplicate of original. Set to Multiply. Opacity 80%
Layer 4 : Duplicate of original. Set to Overlay. Opacity 70%
Layer 5 : Duplicate of original. Set to Overlay. Opacity 100%
Layer 6 : Original.


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Book Review: It’s Not About the Bike

20 April 2008

It's not about the bike, my journey back to life

It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
by Lance Armstrong & Sally Jenkins

At the age of 24, Lance Armstrong was at the peak of his career. He was ranked the number one cyclist in the world. But a few months later, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer – tumours all over his body and brain. He underwent chemotherapy and surgery.

After a long and torturous battle, he survived. He resumed his training and went on to win the Tour De France seven consecutive times. This book chronicles his life as a young boy, a budding athlete, a cancer patient, survivor, world champion cyclist, husband and father.

I was a bit reluctant to read this book, firstly because I wasn’t an athlete and I wasn’t too fond of autobiographies (after I bought the book, I discovered it wasn’t written by him).

However I gave it a go, mainly because, like my husband, Lance was diagnosed with the same cancer, at the same age of 24. (My husband had cancer twice, in his 20s and again in his 30s).

Overall, the whole book completely floored me. It hit me close to home. His story is truly inspiring – to anyone, not only to men and athletes. It’s about living life with passion and courage. It’s about surviving and thriving.

It is written in a very straight-forward style. Short, strong sentences, with lots of punch. Which I liked. He explains very involved subjects like his childhood, chemotherapy, professional cycling – which has the potential to be very boring, if you’re not actually interested in any of those things – however the writer did well, and I didn’t find myself bored once.

It was fascinating to read another person’s detailed account of chemotherapy, and the way it destroys the body, mind and spirit. And then how that someone at his lowest point, picks up his pieces, moves forward, and then triumphs in such a spectacular way!

As I finished the book, yes, I was completely inspired and deeply moved by his story.

But I was also struck by two thoughts.

1) So many times in the book, he sounded arrogant, aggressive, controlling and extreme. I mentioned it to my husband, who wisely pointed out that it takes a certain kind of focus to win the Tour De France SEVEN TIMES.

2) I also realised that this book was written in 2000. Since then, he and his wonderful wife had two children, but their marriage failed, he got engaged to a singer/celebrity, which then also failed.

And these things just made me remember that, even though this guy survived the unimaginable and triumphed the unthinkable… he is still human.

He still has problems. Issues. Flaws.

He’s not a god. He’s just like you and me.

I highly recommend this book.


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Chalk Hands

19 April 2008

Chalk Hands

I mentioned that I was at a camp for families and youths last week.

I volunteered to lead a two-hour, arts and crafts session in the children’s programme. I had 10 children aged between 3 – 10 years old. It was so much fun!

First we made jigsaw puzzles. Then did some colouring in.

Then we went outside into the car park, found a large blank concrete wall and drew chalk body outlines of everyone. We decorated them with smiles and hand prints. It looked cool! It had the feel of child-like graffiti. And the kids had a great time.

Unfortunately by the late afternoon, it started to rain. So our wall was mural washed away before I had a chance to take pictures.


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Communities of Love

17 April 2008

Cleaning Floors

What I love about being in a small community, is that it feels like one big family.

You feel like you’re a part of something big. You go about your day and everyone knows who you are, everyone knows a bit about you, everyone looks out for you, and everyone accepts you.

It puts your life into a larger context. It gives you meaning. You forget about yourself. Your silly little problems. Your layers of burdens that revolve around you you you.

It takes us beyond ourselves and out of the present moment.

This year, as my sons begin to grow into little people, I have this burning desire to create a community for them. After all, I grew up in a big family and a strong community too.

I want to help my kids understand that sure, the walls of our immediate family are important, but there is a whole world out there. A world where a whole lot of people need a whole lot of help and love.

These last few days, I’ve been to a camp run by my church.  I got to know a bunch of people, whom I wouldn’t have otherwise met. And hey, they’re actually ok. I played team games with them. I washed dishes and cleaned floors with them. I laughed and cried with them.

They’ve inspired me in more ways than they will know.


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Water Bombed

16 April 2008

Water Balloons

We’re currently at a camp for families and youths. Yesterday I played an odd version of car park netball with a bunch of towering, energetic teenagers. I got teased for being a MUM (read: old), which I took in good stride, because I completely whooped their asses!

Today we played a series of water bomb team games, which was just so much fun. I laughed until my belly ached. It was a grand feeling. My boys had a great time too.

Water Balloon Fight

This is Sean picking up popped water balloon pieces off the concrete. He collected them till they spilled out of his little cupped hands. He then put them back in the water buckets to create a tank full of floating “fishies”. It was just the sweetest thing to see amidst the war of water bombs.

Water Balloon Fight


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Children’s Board Games Review : Tummy Ache Board Game

15 April 2008

As I mentioned in a earlier post, I will be reviewing and recommending children’s board games that my kids have played and absolutely love!

Tummy Ache Board Game
By Orchard Toys

Ages 3+
Players 2-4

Players each have a table setting board.

Tummy Ache

Players take turns to pick a card to place on their board – which might be a healthy food card or a rotten “tummy ache” card.

The aim is to create a healthy meal. Rotten food cards can be replaced by a healthy food cards on a following turn.

Tummy Ache Board Game

Tummy Ache Board Game

Overall this game was excellent!

It was very easy to play. The pictures were so so so cute! The kids enjoyed examining all the cards.

It made my kids talk about:

1) why the healthy food cards are good (broccoli is a vegetable, and vegetables are good for you!),
2) why some foods are better to eat than others (fruit is a better dessert than ice cream, because there’s too much sugar in ice cream!), and
3) why the tummy ache foods were bad (hot chips are too oily).

It repeated my lessons on healthy eating, and “too much bad food will give you a tummy ache”.

But I had to realise that this was just a funny little game, and probably not designed solely for health education. So there were a few inconsistencies that bugged me – eg. There were lettuce and tomato cards that were categorised as rotten. A suspiciously sweet looking ice cream + jelly + coloured sprinkles “healthy” card (which was spotted by my 5 yo).

It also inspired them to create a new version of the game – making a dinner menu for our real dinner!


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School Holidays Start

14 April 2008

The school holidays have arrived, and while I have often dreaded the idea of being stuck in the same house with two bored kids, this time, I’m actually looking forward to it!

For the first week, we’ll be away at a camp for families and young people. We’ll be gone for 5 days and 4 nights. I’ll be sleeping on a mattress, on the floor, in a dormitory, with my two boys.

I’ve volunteered to organise some art and craft sessions for the children’s programme. I’ve been told to expect 20 kids, between the ages of 3 – 10 years old. How fun!

The second week coincides with my husband’s holidays, so we’ll be filling our days with outings, trips to the beach, play dates, picnics and other fun stuff.

I’m sure it’ll be all over in the blink of an eye. And suddenly my kids will be grown up and leaving home.

Savour it while it lasts!


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Overheard in the Play Room

13 April 2008

5 yo: (In his sweetest voice) Hey Sean! Do you want to play a game?

3 yo: Ok, but only a FRIENDLY game.

5 yo: Let’s play dinosaurs. I’m going to be a T-rex. I’m fast and really dangerous. You have to kill me.

3 yo: That’s not very friendly.

5 yo: Oh. That’s a dinosaur way of being friendly.

3 yo: But if I kill you, I’ll have no friends left. I want to play cats.

5 yo: What about CAT dinosaurs? I can run on ground and you have to catch me and then kill me!

3 yo: No! I’m going lick you instead!

5 yo: Arrrrggghhh! Help! Your licking is killing meeeeee!

3 yo: STOP! WAIT! DON’T DIE! I’LL HAVE NO FRIENDS!

5 yo: OOOOH I’M MELLLTING!


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Callum’s 5th Birthday Party

12 April 2008

Callum's 5th Birthday

Callum turns 5 today, and as he requested, we had a big party for him and his friends. It was the first time I organised a kid’s birthday party for children only. We had 18 kids turn up.

During our planning, my husband and I decided that we would have the party at our house. Later on I started to have second thoughts and felt a growing panic over the idea of 20 kids in our house.

Why not have it at an indoor playgym? Or a park? What are the kids going to DO? What if they trash the place? What if they roam around and get bored?? We need to have some focus! What about a bouncy castle or something!?

My husband replied, Don’t be silly. The kids will be kids. They’ll just run around and play with each other.

Yet despite what he said, I organised 6 party games, some game helpers, prizes and a pinata. Nothing too complicated. However, I was considerably preoccupied with party preparations for the week leading up to the party.

On the day of the party (today), the kids played ONE GAME – Pass The Parcel. After that, they showed absolutely no interest in any more games… and preferred to just run around and play with each other! Imagine that!

We also had a pinata, which I stuffed full of popcorn bags and chocolate frogs. I made it from an old cardboard box. I cut the sides out and replaced them with thinner cardboard panels, to make it easier for little kids to open. Nothing is worse than bashing a pinata that won’t open!

It was supposed to be a ROBOT pinata, with a head, dangling limbs and colourful buttons. But Callum said it might look too babyish! Hmph. Whatever. So here’s the adequately cool Spiderman piñata I made.

Spiderman Pinata

My Spiderman City birthday cake turned out really well! I was so happy with it. You are looking at a 100% free food colouring birthday cake!

I made the grey by mixing crushed blueberries skins and spinach, with a bit of cabbage extract (from organic food colouring that I bought).

Spiderman City Cake

Overall the party was really simple and laid-back. But most importantly, my little guy and his friends had an absolute blast!


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Roster Time at the Pre-Primary Class

9 April 2008

Each school term, parents are invited to do a roster in their child’s pre-primary class.

We turn up with our child, and we sit in a miniature chair made for little bums. The class sings songs and have a learning session on the mat. After that the parents will cut up fruit, have a cup of tea and chit chat with the Teacher’s Assistant.

Later the teachers will get us to do a little activity with the kids.

Depending on luck, you will either get to help the children do Dot-To-Dot Worksheets, or help 25 kids to each construct a multi-layered bird house made out of drinking straws, toilet rolls and dangling pompoms –while juggling a hot glue gun and a shaker of glitter.

I am ushered to the activity table. Today I’m helping the children make cellophane jellyfish creatures.

They get a zip-lock sandwich bag from the box. Fill it up with crunched up coloured cellophane. Seal it. Pick out 4 bits of paper streamers, make little twists in them, staple them to the bottom of the bag. Cut out paper eyes, glue them on the front. Write their names on the back. Put it on the drying rack.

GOOD LORD IT WAS HARD WORK.

Trying to manage 5 kids at a time, all at slightly different skill levels and all with their slightly different personality quirks – too hyper, too shy, too smart, too messy, too particular, or too daydreamy.

AARRGGH.

For 1 hour, as I worked through every kid in the class, I was constantly squawking “Ok now use the scissors! Not so much glue! Now make twists, like this! What about one more tentacle? There are no more blue ones. Press harder on the stapler. Oops you’re dripping! Great job! Maybe that’s too much cellophane! Are you left or right handed? Just two eyes please! There’s no more blue! Careful with the scissors! Less glue please! That’s enough staples!” and it went on and on and on and on and on.

For a whole hour!! My brain hurts!

The class is learning about Underwater Creatures this month. So lucky me, I get the roster day where the teacher brings in a dead fish to dissect and gut, while teaching the children about how creatures breath underwater. Lovely.


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Magic: The Gathering

8 April 2008

Urge the Boys Designer Jewellery have a brand new site and a new collection of amazing jewellery. My favourites are the dazzling range of necklaces, charm necklaces and earrings!

Urge The Boys Jewellery

From left to right: Birds of a Feather, Go To Mexico, Backstreets, Peaches.

Urge The Boys Jewellery

From left to right: The New Pencil, Until the End, Ashes To Ashes, Walking Through Doors, Taking You Higher.


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Natural Food Colouring Alternatives For Birthday Cakes

7 April 2008

My oldest boy is turning 5 this weekend. At his request, he wants a Spiderman themed party, with all his friends, balloons, streamers, games and a Spiderman cake.

I said yes to everything, except the cake.

I’m quite ANTI-FOOD-COLOURING when it comes to children’s birthday cakes.

I’m happy to let my kids eat a small slice of other people’s coloured cakes. But there’s no way I’m going to tip 3 bottles of RED E129 to make a bright red Spiderman cake for my son!

How am I going to make a SPIDERMAN CAKE WITH NO FOOD COLOURING???

A friend of mine passed me a list of Natural Food Colouring Alternatives and how to make them. They sound great!!

Apparently the colours don’t turn out as vibrant as the chemical stuff. Which means I’m still stuck, because I don’t think my son wants a PINK Spiderman mask.

……………………………………………………………………

Yellow – mix powdered turmeric with a little hot water to form a paste. Suitable to colour frosting and icing.

Pink – The liquid of canned beetroot will give a pale pink to frosting and icing.

Red – cook fresh or frozen raspberries over a gentle heat, stirring often, until very thick. Sieve mixture to remove pulp. Allow to cool. The colour will be reddish pink. Suitable to colour frosting.

Not suitable for kneading into ready-made soft icing. You may use a pastry brush to paint raspberry colouring onto finished icing.

Violet – cook fresh or frozen blueberries over a gentle heat, stirring often, until very thick. Sieve mixture to remove pulp. Allow to cool. Suitable to colour frosting.

Not suitable for kneading into ready-made soft icing. You may use a pastry brush to paint blueberry colouring onto finished icing.

Green – Usea combination of freshly juiced spinach (remove stalks before juicing) and tumeric paste (see above). Suitable to colour frosting and icing.

Brown – Use a Parisian essence which is made from natural caramel, or use sifted cocoa or carob powder. Carob powder and cocoa are suitable to colour frosting, but not for colouring ready-made soft icing.

Notes
These colours will be much less intense than commercial food colourings.

Do not add large amounts of these liquids to the frosting or it will curdle. Excessive liquid added to soft icing will make it sticky.

(Apologies. This information was photocopied from a book, and I don’t know what the book is called.)


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The Old Gum Tree

6 April 2008

Spooky Gum Tree in Leederville

While taking a stroll one evening, my husband and I spotted a huge, amazing gum tree.

I love big old gum trees! Especially the spooky looking ones, with trunks that look like morphing human bodies, branches that look like twisted arms and legs, and bark so pale and smooth like human skin.

They stand, majestic and magnificent, alive with daunting presence.

No wonder there are folklores of magical trees; as I stood in its shadow to take the photo, I almost felt I should ask it for permission.


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Tuna Rice Salad Recipe

5 April 2008

Tuna Rice Salad

I have written about how I have weekly meal plans. But there are just some days that I just can’t be bothered to cook.

I might have forgotten to defrost the meat, or I might have appointments all afternoon, or I’ve had a really bad day and can’t control the kids… whatever the reason, there comes a point in the afternoon where I DON’T WANT TO MAKE ANYTHING TOO COMPLICATED.

However “instant meals” don’t have to be highly processed, unhealthy food with lots of additives – eg. frozen pizzas, tv dinners, instant noodles, instant macaroni and cheese.

So one of my favourite, most laziest, simplest and healthy meals is Tuna Rice Salad. I make it once a week, because I’m lazy, very often. And because my boys love it.

Recipe for Tuna Rice Salad

Just cook 1 cup of rice.
While it’s still warm, tip in a whole can 185g of Tuna in Oil (undrained).
Throw in whatever vegetables you have, chopped.
Dash of soy sauce.

DONE in 15 minutes.

Tips :

Vegetables I like to use: canned corn, canned mixed beans, chopped tomatoes, capsicum, spinach and snow pea sprouts.

Sometimes I use brown rice instead (pictured).


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Making Baby 3, Part 25: Old Toys, New Toys

4 April 2008

Upon turning 3 years old, my son has blissfully turned my living room into a fully decked-out, preschooler-boy’s dream pad. The place is spilling over with new birthday toys.

Robots, cars sets, pirate sets, train tracks, Lego sets, Buzz Lightyear action figures, and so much more.

And just to make things worse, we’re having a 5 year old birthday party for my older boy in a few weeks. I’m shuddering at the thought of all the toys at the end of the day.

So a few days ago, I told my boys that we were going to have a TOY CLEAN UP DAY. We would sort through the toys, clean them up, and donate some to charity – to kids who can’t afford to have ANY toys.

They seemed to be quite happy with that idea.

So we cracked open the old toy box.

One by one, we pulled out the forgotten, dusty, old toys. All the old favourites! There were pop up toys. Chunky trains. Wire bead things. A xylophone. Wooden cups. Coloured cups. Squeaky toys. Shakers. Rattles.

They were actually in great condition! A bit of polish and they’d be as good as new!

But it struck me that these toys were baby toys.

And aren’t we trying to have another baby? What’s Baby 3 going to play with?

I part of me desperately wants to get rid of all these baby toys. Cleanse the house of unwanted junk. Move on. Free up some space.

But part of me wants to be fair. If my first two boys had age appropriate toys, then why can’t Baby 3 have them too?

So the boxes of baby toys stay.

Waiting to be opened. Hopefully soon.

Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.


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Benjibox Clear Shoe Boxes

3 April 2008

I got to know Penny through my website. We emailed a few times in the past, like me she’s a busy, young mother living in Australia. Then she introduced me to her company, Benjibox.com.au.

The moment I laid eyes on one of her clear shoe boxes, I said OMG I must try one out!

Benjiboxes for shoes

Instead of a typical box-flap opening, Benjiboxes have a slide-out drawer that make them quick and easy to open. How cool is that?!

They keep your shoes from dust and dirt, and have small air vents to let your shoes breathe.

Since then, I’ve seen a few other clear shoe boxes on the market. I haven’t tried them, but the designs imply they have “envelope” or “tab” openings (like a cereal box?), which I imagine, would be such a hassle to fiddle with. And the flaps might scratch your shoes.

They are also great for organising kid’s stuff and craft bits. They look so cool!

Benjiboxes for Kids

Benjiboxes for craft

I’m so happy with mine! Now I just need more room in my wardrobe!

My Benjibox

My Benjibox


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Personal Goals – April 2008

1 April 2008

Self portrait Hi everyone! It’s the start of a brand new month! How’s everyone doing with their personal goals and resolutions for the year?

> I’ve signed up for a social netball team, with some other mums from my son’s class. The last time I played netball was in 2000. It starts next term! I’m excited!

> My Chinese lessons are not going as fast as I had hoped. I have been following a DVD for children, and I can say, “Hello little friend! Let’s play together!

Admittedly the other day, I was wearing a rather low-cut top, and I was introduced to a group of young business men from China. I was about to blurt out the very little Chinese I knew – with perfect inflection and much pride – but I suddenly realised that it might not go down too well.

(OK. I exaggerate. I can count to ten and I know a few colours.)

> My book project has kept me fairly busy. I’m trying to start another personal writing project, but argh, not enough time during the day.

> Last month I read 3 books, and half way through another one.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

This month I need to focus on a few things :

> TO RELAX. I’ve been very tense these last few weeks. I’ve got a lot on my plate. Can’t seem to wade through the to-do’s in a graceful manner.

I mentioned in my post about “Making Baby 3 – The STRESS Factor” that I might getting all stressed out about trying NOT to be stressed!

> I have to learn the art of prioritising.

> We have my son’s 5th birthday coming up. Plus the school holidays are approaching.

> Need to do some swimming.

Hmmm. Can’t think of anything else. What are your goals this month?




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