Sunday, November 30, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ December 1

FOR TODAY Sunday...

Outside my window... dark

I am thinking... I hope my daughter can pull herself away from satellite TV and go to bed, that is one thing wrong with not using free to air

I am thankful for... the frypan my husband's friend gave him to try, they both enjoy cooking

From the kitchen... fish fingers, a childhood favourite, potatoes & butter and salad

I am wearing... a t-shirt and jeans and slippers

I am creating... a plan for my bills, everything has been jumbled up, distance, a work trip, bad communication and a slow government have all made it hard, plus the headstart program at school where the kids start next years work

I am going...
I'd rather pay the bills at this point

I am reading... Saturday Morning by Lauraine Snelling

I am hoping... we get done what we want to do so we don't get behind

I am hearing... the washing machine draining

Around the house...
a half working ds, we got a new screen, now the other one doesn't work

One of my favorite things...
all the hugs I have been getting from my little girl today and yesterday

A few plans for the rest of the week: a little girl's birthday party, well just family

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
a photo from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. My husband stayed there a few days ago for two nights.

is the Simple Woman's Daybook site.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Back To Basics Challenge - Week 7

Sowing seed or Planting

We are still drying out a gorgeous poppy that hubby found growing at the tip for seed.

Planning for The Future
- meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars

My husband bought two cookbooks from the Salvation Army store. This particular store always seems to have great books, especially text books. He was going past the store on a trip and stopped in. I got some more ideas for pork which we cook a lot of as I can buy it easily. There was also a great vegetarian dish and other ideas for Asian food I hadn't come across before. It will be a good thing to help me with ideas in the future.

Working for the Future
- storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc

Another lot of hampers came, and beforehand I moved some things that had been in there to the bottom of the freezer, the warmest place so I could put the new things higher up. We have been using some of the hamper frozen things for snacks after ballet.

Building Community
- volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc

On Friday and Saturday I helped out at ballet. My daughter rang the teacher, and she asked if I could fill on for someone. I specifically asked if I was needed on Saturday, and my memory is so bad, even though I specifically asked, I wasn't sure what was said later. But the ballet started on time and I am sure I was useful somewhere along the line.

Learn a new Skill

I should take more note of this area. It is possible I am learning new things, and when it comes to Sunday I just think there is nothing automatically. I did learn something from that new cookbook. Here is something close. We tried a yoghurt smoothy recipe, with milk, honey and frozen berries. If we get the mixing technique right I know they would be very enjoyable. I felt much better, a great afternoon pick me up. Maybe to me yoghurt is soothing because I like it, also the protein couldn't hurt.

Please visit Belinda's blog to find out more about this meme.

Our Practise Seachange House

These photos aren't much, but they mean so much to me. I wrote about it on perhaps my fourth post on this blog. It is on a dirt road half an hour from Mill Park on the northern edge of Melbourne. My husband was staying for two night this week at Bundoora which is right next to Mill Park and he took these photos. It is greener there than at other places he saw on this 5 hour drive.

In one of the photos you can actually see the school my older girls attended at the time from our front gate, which is the left one. The bank is where on coming home from ballet at nights kangaroos sometimes were next to the third gate, the left one not pictured. I had to be very careful. We adored the trees around the house, there were some interesting ones. I think pink acacias, pretty small Japanese maples, birches, liquid amber or sweet gum trees, the list goes on.

We did swim in the creek once.

While in Mill Park, my husband did find Spotlight and got my tripillow and cover. I put the cover on today, and think I have been lifted up about 8" from where my old tripillow of 21 years was. It is now in the bin!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I was tagged by Amanda, which was a lovely surprise. Amanda has larkspurs growing by a picket fence which I haven't seen done before, it is lovely.

I was going to put down exactly the same things as Amanda did, but these below more reflect me, at least this month or so.

Six things I value

Education, so you don't have to be at everyone's mercy. And I mean for boys in particular, it is not related to women's issues. If you are not able to get it, I appreciate that as well

The King James Version of the Bible




Domesticity (according to the freedictionary it means, amongst other things "domestic activities or life; "making a hobby of domesticity"" not saying I do that or am that. I wonder if that is a modern spin on it, or it can only be a hobby these days

Now the tricky part where I have to put my beliefs out there. Only this week my husband said for the first time that I am opinionated and stubborn I think the words were.

Six things I don't support

The idea that only jobs is holding back more remote areas in the country, it's not what it seems on the surface, in my limited experience

Saving water for others to sell it without telling us both things at once so we know what is really going on, basically sell the whole idea to us

Most of our population (Australia) living in nearly the same places

The idea that you have to drink too much to be a real country person

Bullying and protectionism which seem to be related

The ads of the worst bits of a TV show shown on an earlier time slot

Six people I tag

A Different Drum
Homespun Simplicity
The Old Dairy

This woman looks very relaxed. I seem to get in a tizz instead. I changed my answers a few times, they may be still not great. But anyway, that will have to be it. I have to start getting ready for ballet tonight.

Housewife Keeping Her Eyes Glued on the T.V. While Doing Her Ironing by Nina Leen
Housewife Keeping Her Eyes Glued on the T.V. While Doing Her Ironing

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Thursday...

Outside My Window... lots of birds this morning. Apparently there was a lovely bush bird outside the staff room at school yesterday or the day before.

I am thinking... I hope I have everything ready for the ballet concert tomorrow.

I am thankful for... the lovely class that my daughter is in next year. Here Year 7's change schools to High School. The little feeder schools join in. She has girls from her ballet class in her form. It is not Thanksgiving here today, enjoy your day tomorrow.

From the kitchen... something frozen. I have extra frozen food from my Christmas hamper. I didn't enjoy the frozen pizzas that much last night, but they were OK.

I am wearing... a windcheater/sweater, it is not warm in here yet. Cotton polyester I think. My best jeans and a mid weight top underneath.

I am creating... decluttering I hope

I am going...
to watch our daughters' ballet concert, I have only seen part of it at rehearsals

I am reading... nothing, I hope to read the last of Emilie Richards series, the one I skipped accidently, Endless Chain.

I am hoping...
hubby can figure out if there are two stores in Mill Park/South Morang for Spotlight, the website is unclear. I hope if there is a new bigger store in South Morang he can find it, well it is easy, the other one could be a challenge, but at least I know it is there. Hubby took all afternoon yesterday driving to a conference.

I am hearing... my son watching TV

Around the house... I have that birthday present wrapped. I got my council vote posted away.

One of my favorite things...
my little girl's paper doll she brought home from school. It has her name on the front. It has the meaning of her name on the back. She had told me about it earlier on in the year. The RI or Religious Instruction teacher (I think they call it something different now?) said her name Amelia meant Work Of The Lord, which made her very happy, as it did me. Amelia is usually "hard working".

Once a similar thing happened to her older sister. Her name in German meant the same as Hilda my Great Grandmother. That was unexpected as it was unintentional and a very modern name, Hayley. Maybe it was just a close approximation.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: two ballet nights. Enjoying that festive looking sky. Yes, even though it is a summer the sky seems festive at this time of year. It has been beautiful, maybe because it had rained. I am looking forward to the tinsel going up on the trees. I saw a flowering gum starting to come out at school yesterday and a red bottle brush and they made me happy. There is a similar flowering gum photo in my sidebar.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
this shows that now we can get around the garden bed and go wherever we like without stepping on a snake. It was holding up more building work, but we thought it was worth it. We even got some grass to strike. Also you can see the weeding, we could use spray but we are kind of old-fashioned. It is not related to the festive sky I was talking about.

Here is the Simple Woman's Daybook site where you will find the sentences and the lastest blog posts to visit.

Simplicity Novel ~ To show I am in the right century

I recently visited the author's website where she introduces herself and this series, lovely. Here it is. I am not usually fond of anything described as Women's. I am not a feminist really. That is why I had trouble starting off reading the first book. However, it is really subtle and helpful, at least I think so.

The book is about simplicity and covers green topics as well.

I have since read Touching Stars by the same author. I wasn't so taken with it, though I couldn't put the book down. I think I missed the messages in the bits at the end. I shouldn't read when the kids are at home. When they were little I didn't, not during the evenings. I had a lot of thoughts about it, I should have written them down.

Only this morning, (Wednesday), I finished yet another novel in this series called Sister's Choice.

What impresses me about these novels, (I think I have one left to read that I skipped accidently) is that anyone that spends a lot of time reading historical novels or wishing they were back in vintage times last century, can sort of touch base with what is considered normal this century.

The writer was a family counsellor. It is interesting to compare my personal values to those the author or society deems as normal. I haven't found anything really different, but it makes me think. It doesn't exactly fit with the vintage times. If you look at my last post you will see how much things have changed, even though in my mind I am still there sometimes.

There are still issues to do with tidying up as I mentioned when I wrote about Wedding Ring, the first novel in this series.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I Spend Money On

A while back I was sadly rejected from blogburst, but that is OK, I have lots of work to do yet as a blogger. Then said they want topically focussed content on their website. Just for interest I googled blog topics.

I found a list of 100 blog topics I hope you write by Chris Brogan. This was one topic. It is interesting what he says about blogging.

What I Spend Money On
(not to impress blogburst, thought it may fit in with simplicity, we'll see when I list what I buy)

It is the start of my pay/money cycle (when I wrote this last month), so I guess money is everything right?

Firstly our health insurance payment was made and a small amount went into my daughter's bank account. We bought expensive dog food at the vets and then filled one car up with petrol/gas. Before even all that happened we paid a joining fee for netball.

There was an electricity bill and a water bill. I pay two of those for two houses. I bought fruit and vegetables and part of that money goes on freight costs to get it here.

I am late shopping this week, but tonight or tomorrow I will be filling up my car with LPG. I also will be paying for my Christmas hampers, I am in three different clubs, Castle, Chrisco and Hamper King.

I have bought retail clothes lately, mostly online, but this is not usually the case. My daughters have also bought clothes second hand. I am really impressed with the t-shirts one of them got in particular, I feel very blessed by those.

Soon I will be paying the gym fees and the ballet fees. I pay a small amount for clarinet lessons. My daughter is also going away on a school excursion. My other daughter's camp is free.

I recently went to the dentist. Our doctors bulk bill so I don't spend on that, though recently we had to pay $50 over what our hospital insurance pays for surgery.

We have had recent vet's bills, and bills from the garage for our car because it is at that age.

We have all the insurances, and car registrations. Two phone bills and mobile phone credit.

Ambulance subscriptions, school fees and books, including the fee for religious instruction at school.

Superannuation, not for me of course, I don't work. Rent of a laptop via hubby's workplace.

We don't get pizza, fish and chips, Chinese takeaway. We do go to McDonalds or maybe Hungry Jacks when we go to the regional centre or to visit our son in the city.

We do not rent movies either in the post or in person. We do pay for satelite TV, and if we move to the new house this will be necessary. We don't go to the movies at the theatre. We don't go to restaurants.

Christmas presents are mostly for the kids. We buy their birthday presents as well. I confess they are electronic in nature, after lots of resistance at the start. My eldest is very persuasive. I like his choice of games though.

I pay a fee for genealogy membership. I buy some books on ebay, some new, Christian novels or Laura Ingalls Wilder. We bought a cheap replacement camera on ebay.

We buy building materials for renovating when required. We collect our own wood for heating. We get the chainsaw parts and mower parts, can't remember if they have been serviced.

We have trailer registration. Some other registrations don't come around often. Dog and cat registration. We pay RACV in case we break down, though with little mobile phone coverage it is a worry.

A youth ski trip, school photos. I wonder if this is the type of spending he meant?

Mortgages, no smoking or alcohol. Basic shampoos etc. the girls are getting at buying these things, but really only cleanser for my daughter.

No donations.

Have I mentioned rates? No drycleaning. No cleaner. No carwash. No lawn mowing. Few magazines, one or two regular newspapers, one weekly. Not sure if we actually pay for the other one. I think we do, maybe it is a special rate.

My husband has to pay to a group that people of his profession belong to. Yearly fee.

Have you seen this page about how people spend their money?

Then there is food. It includes canned beans, canned tomatoes, smallgoods, little soft drink, little chips if any, little cleaners. Not so much meat. The plainest toilet paper I can find, though it doesn't seem to exist anymore.

Hmm, I wonder if that is the kind of thing.

Bedlinen and towels only when necessary. Same with furniture, last table was secondhand.

We keep our freezer going by helping it along. We buy a very small amount of new Christmas decorations and Easter eggs, very small.

Holidays away are usually overnight in caravan park cabins, for a reason usually.

We don't go to the Agricultural Show, like the big one, one the local one. No football matches. Would have loved to go to a field day, but didn't do that.

We buy things like replacement hose fittings for the garden. We buy $3 plants at the craft shop, but last year bought a few others, not many. Oh, I do have a thing for country music CDs, maybe I get two a year? Three?

Small cake decorations and some gourmet food, small amounts. Some imported American food, not much.

If these are topics that don't suit, here is 100 blog post suggestions related to Youth Ministry.

Rations of Fresh Produce Following World War II, c.1946 by George Rodger
Rations of Fresh Produce Following World War II, c.1946

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

There is no Thankful Thursday as such on Thursday. Iris the host is heading over to Heather's Place. There are lots of posts already up, and Heather's video. Australia's Thanksgiving is not until May 30.

Thank You, God, For Food by Dorothy Handsaker
Thank You, God, For Food

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I read to much of That British Woman's post and now I am tagged.

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No. Though I am curious how my name is similar to my Grandmother's maiden name and my Great Grandma's name. It has the same letters, same number of letters only the first letter is different. I didn't get my Mum's second name that is the same as her Mother's second name. My Nana used her second name as a first name. I got a name short like it with the same letter at the start.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I had a sooky week a few weeks ago, that thankfully I have forgotten. That week could have been more recent but I can't remember.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to. I asked a chiropractor to fix a click in my wrist, but it ruined my handwriting.


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, two boys and three girls.


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Probably more than I would admit to.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS. No, went probably when I was 11.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Absolutely not.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Weetbix with Provita Weatharts and sultanas added.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I am. Too much grocery lifting perhaps.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Chocolate or vanilla.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Maybe what they are saying about themselves, I don't know.

15. RED OR PINK? Red?

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I don't like to think about that.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Same as above.



20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Probably a tuna bake with anchovies in the bread topping. I joked that it had crab shells in it. The anchovies made it very seafoody.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Nothing. My music is sad atm. Bored, but I can't justify buying a new one just yet.


23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Maybe the smell of the bush.



26.FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? I watched the AFL Grandfinal.

27. HAIR COLOR? Black.

28. EYE COLOR? Brown. Apparently it has green in it too, but I didn't know that. My daughter has my Dad's brown eyes, so I was wondering how mine were different. Yes, my mother has green eyes.


30. FAVORITE FOOD? English with white pepper.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings. Most books and movies are too much like real life to me. I am challenging myself to read contempory novels.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Maybe parts of the kids movies. I was going to answer the last movie in the Love Comes Softly series (which is on Hallmark on Austar very soon, 15th and the 22nd). But it was Anne of Green Gables on the internet. Is it a movie or a TV series? I am not sure. I watched the last two Love Comes Softly movies on You Tube as well. I didn't think I would ever watch movies on the internet, but I suppose having Broadband has changed all that.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? I don't wear shirts.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER? Leaning more towards winter at the moment. But usually it is summer.

35. HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses.

36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Stewed apple and proper cream which is very thin.



39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Emilie Richards, Sister's Choice.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Nothing. That's all I'm saying.

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Nothing that I remember. Hubby was sitting with the kids for a little minute. I thought of looking on Austar. I wanted to go to bed early to catch up on my sleep.

42. FAVORITE SOUND. I like hearing my little girl talk to her brother and sisters.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Probably the stones.

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Tasmania? Maybe Coff's Harbour. I am ignorant, which is farthest?

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I am not very good at nurturing my talents. All I can say I am nurturing at the moment is my typing speed.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Regional Victoria. Actually Wangaratta.

Please consider yourself tagged if you want to play.

Want to know what my Grand Grandmother's name is? Take my name, move the first letter somewhere else, keep the same vowels and take one of my letters out.

Don't forget her name starts with a new letter.

Any guesses?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Australian Idol Winners Single

It is now on Youtube, so those you couldn't see it last time I posted will be able to view it. Wes Carr's single called You was released today. I also like the runner's up single that wasn't released because he didn't win is very Australian and lovely too.

It is hard to find what you want to watch on the Idol site now, so I will put some more of my favourites.

The Idol site is lovely today because the journeys are there, they are such lovely stories.

They played Rattlin' Bones (Casey Chambers)last night. I was absolutely delighted that Wes and Luke could join in. It was lovely. A little more subdued, but wonderful how well they suited it.

I am not fussed about the studs or the critter on the table, but I love the song very much.

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 24

Monday ~ Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Tuesday ~ Lemon, Lentil & Spinach Soup
Wednesday ~ Nasi Goreng
Thursday ~ Pies, Chips, Gravy & Peas
Friday ~ Sausage Casserole (made with chipolatas)
Saturday ~ Fish & Chips
Sunday ~ Sausage & Lentil Casserole

We have made the Cauliflower Soup because the Monday is actually the start of my food shopping week. It was a great hit. You can make it with more potatoes and less cauliflower and use cream and horseradish from a jar instead of horseradish cream and it tastes delish. We did actually have horseradish cream in the fridge but hubby didn't realise, we haven't kept it long.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Castle & Chrisco Delivery Day

I am over excited here today I think. I need a lie down or something.

Today we had our delivery. We didn't have to wait very long, it came before we had our lunch. Hubby was here to help me, I am not sure how many it is been since he helped me with the deliveries. Last year it was delivered to our new house, then I had to put some boxes in the car and bring them home. So this was easy, I should have taken it a bit more easy.

I was pleased how it turned out. Everything is put away except the boxes, which is the downside I suppose. They are nice boxes though.

My middle daughter was away for the day. It was still hectic, everyone talking at once, including our son who rang us a couple of times. But it gave me a chance while we were waiting etc. to finalise my menu for two weeks. I am reasonably happy with it. Quite complicated. I needed basil for a chicken dish, and our local food shop is hit and miss, today miss. My husband got all the shopping today instead of waiting until tomorrow.

I was going to tell you what the gifts were inside the boxes, but it may ruin the surprise for those who haven't had their deliveries yet. We were rapt with one of the presents. They always seem to know what people like, well, what I like at least.

I have my mince pies, and two boxes of chocolates in case they are needed for Chris Kringle.

Last year I got Christmas lights in my delivery I think.

Since I have posted photos of all of my children except one, here is my youngest, Christmas Day three years ago.

Back To Basics Challenge

Sowing seed or Planting

My husband found a tree or piece of a tree while he was weeding and replanted it (below). I don't know what it is called. He and our middle son checked our son's raspberries and they are showing colour and have thickened up. We have never grown them.

Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars

I didn't go food shopping this fortnight (two weeks). I had some left-over vegetables so we made two meals with those, though the second one we needed something from the shop to make it in the end. It wasn't worth me shopping with Chrisco and the other two companies delivering this week. Two on Sunday. I spent some time making up a shopping list with the things that wouldn't be coming in the hampers. Hubby plans to get the rest of those things on Monday night. In the meantime he got something for Saturday night's tea, pies and chips.

It was great because I came across the Edgell website that has recipes for beans in cans. We have tried two now. The cauliflower soup is made from butter beans, and is like an old-fashioned recipe so my little girl loved it. It also reminded hubby of his Grandma's cream soups she used to make from left-over potatoes etc. I have the recipe somewhere. I know it is a good idea for the cooked potatoes you can get in the US.

I found a new favourite recipe for borlotti beans and spaghetti, that is smoother.

The fruit delivery people have cut their delivery days down by half, but I am glad I am not waiting on anything important. I ordered a small fruit order so the bread doesn't take up room in the freezer (they deliver my bread as well). So the fruit is coming on Tuesday instead of Friday. And will be coming on Tuesday's from now on. I wonder why people stopped ordering, as the delivery charge has gone up as well.

Hubby found a chainsaw that someone had placed carefully at the tip. We don't have a transfer station. He was trying it out and knows basically what is wrong with it. We will work towards getting it fixed slowly.

I went through the Christmas lists and sent to to my son. He is in shops a lot and has been ringing me telling me what he sees and helping me with a plan to get things bought. I live a long way from those kinds of shops.

He also gave me an idea for my daughter's birthday, and I went ahead with that and it will be coming in the mail via ebay.

Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc

I made a start on ironing the little leaves on that Christmas dress for the concert. Everyone seemed to need the space I was standing in after that.

Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc

I have been reading up on candidates for our council election and discussing things with hubby so I don't waste my votes. I just want to make sure I have thought of everything etc. so he is a sounding board.

On the weekend hubby and I put aside time for him to weed the remainder of our fence and the flower beds and finish mowing. This is because the community has a big day where they are going to try to attract new people to the town. It is because the planning overlay is going to be lifted next year, and there is already one house built and they hope to build others. So we didn't want to be the ones to let the side down. It is a garden weekend. It is a unique place, or I thought so when I first visited there in 2001, though that was before the previous owners had done things to the fence etc. and I can't remember exactly what our property looked like then. I know I was looking at part of it.

Learn a new Skill

Not a new skill, but lots of very good skills I had when I was young are getting too rusty and risk being lost. It was good that I am getting to know our iron. When I stopped ironing all the time the iron was new, and I never did get used to it. I am also getting used to using my glasses to help me with things other than reading and using the computer.

If you haven't heard of this meme, and find it interesting please visit Belinda's blog or click on the graphic above once I have it linked in to this week's challenge.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bookworm Award

A Different Drum has awarded me a Bookworm Award. Before her Herding Grasshoppers. This is what I have to do:

Quick find the book closest to you, turn to page 56 and type in the fifth sentence and a couple more after that.

The first book near my hand was a cookbook. So the closest I thought was the book I had out nearly in my room, as the others were more or less in the same place in a bookshelf. Then I found Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling on the computer pull out shelf, but on the page it just had a description of the picture on the next page. So I go back to the book I had out. By the way, my husband once stayed over the road from Raffles and didn't go have a coffee. Looking at it, even coffee could be expensive.

"They continued down the hall, Hope leading the way, Kiss following at a safe distance. "Here are the showers," Hope said, opening the door to a huge bathroom that had been transformed by a former guest into a garden of hand-painted sunflowers. "There's soap and shampoo, and the towels are over there." She pointed to a floor-to-ceiling set of shelves. "We ask that you use only one towel, and when you're finished with it, please dump it in the hamper. While you're showering, someone will bring you clean clothes.""

This is from a novel I am reading called Saturday Morning by Lauraine Snelling. I think I bought it from ebay and I haven't actually read that page yet. Close though. Lauraine Snelling writes historical novels, the Red River of the North series. I haven't read Return to Red River yet or two of the novels of the three after that. But I plan to soon as the library is completing the set. I have trouble with contemporary novels, but I know Lauraine Snelling will not disappoint me.

I am guessing the paragraph relates to the Women's Shelter where the women trade stories. I am not fond of those sorts of things, but I know Lauraine Snelling will go easy on me, I hope.

Now I need to find five people to join in the fun:

Food, Fun & Farm in East Africa

That British Woman
Cathy's Capers
At The Good Life
Homespun Simplicity

Skywatch Friday ~ November 21

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bush Christmas

The sun burns hotly thro' the gums
As down the road old Rogan comes --
The hatter from the lonely hut
Beside the track to Woollybutt.
He likes to spend his Christmas with us here.
He says a man gets sort of strange
Living alone without a change,
Gets sort of settled in his way;
And so he comes each Christmas day
To share a bite of tucker and a beer.

Dad and the boys have nought to do,
Except a stray odd job or two.
Along the fence or in the yard,
"It ain't a day for workin' hard."
Says Dad. "One day a year don't matter much."
And then dishevelled, hot and red,
Mum, thro' the doorway puts her head
And says, "This Christmas cooking, My!
The sun's near fit for cooking by."
Upon her word she never did see such.

"Your fault," says Dad, "you know it is.
Plum puddin'! on a day like this,
And roasted turkeys! Spare me days,
I can't get over women's ways.
In climates such as this the thing's all wrong.
A bit of cold corned beef an' bread
Would do us very well instead."
Then Rogan said, "You're right; it's hot.
It makes a feller drink a lot."
And Dad gets up and says, "Well, come along."

The dinner's served -- full bite and sup.
"Come on," says Mum, "Now all sit up."
The meal takes on a festive air;
And even father eats his share
And passes up his plate to have some more.
He laughs and says it's Christmas time,
"That's cookin', Mum. The stuffin's prime."
But Rogan pauses once to praise,
Then eats as tho' he'd starved for days.
And pitches turkey bones outside the door.

The sun burns hotly thro' the gums,
The chirping of the locusts comes
Across the paddocks, parched and grey.
"Whew!" wheezes Father. "What a day!"
And sheds his vest. For coats no man had need.
Then Rogan shoves his plate aside
And sighs, as sated men have sighed,
At many boards in many climes
On many other Christmas times.
"By gum!" he says, "That was a slap-up feed!"...

C. J Dennis
Taken from here.

An award to treasure

Joolz from Simply Joolz has honored me with this award. It is beautiful, thank you Joolz. Her reason for our awards was:

"each blog is a friendly place to visit, offering an insight into their daily lives, sharing their pictures, recipes and family life. Reading their blogs is like reading a good magazine."

I love Joolz' header and her Christmas tree. Have a look at the pictures of Joolz and her sisters.

The rules for this award are:
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool.

Notes from Daisy Mountain
for her photographs, but not just that
Natalija at Sarah's Daughter for her fun background and consistent lovely content
Lynda at Food, Farm & Fun in East Africa sometimes it is comforting to go there especially where the pantry is concerned, it is a cool place
Belinda's Place because she hosts a great meme
At The Good Life always lots going on there
10Notes because the owner is cool
Heart Felt same
Gillbean and again
Learning Homemaking and again
Little Cabin In The Woods interesting photos.

There is a good mix there, I hope you visit some if you have time.


Connie from Ash Lane Farm has tagged me. I know Grandma Connie as she is sometimes known by from Homesteadblogger as we both learnt how to blog there, well I did. Connie is an excellent blogger. She also lived in my area for 5 years, which is how long I have been here now, which I thought was interesting.

The rules of this Meme are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random facts about me:

Thing no. 1: On cloudy slightly cold days I get depressed almost by default, but not enough to worry about as I live in the North East where it hardly happens. The weather I mean is like Melbourne weather. Grey. It is different in the winter. I have it worked out if it is around 22 degrees or over, maybe more I am OK. Make sense? If it is 21 or something, no good. Winter weather is fine, which is 18 and under I suppose. How do I make it clearer? I don't do cool. However at the moment it has advantages.

Thing no. 2: I never really thought about the family size I wanted in advance, just took one baby at a time.

Thing no. 3: Strawberries. I prefer chocolate icecream to strawberry, same with Nesquik or Quik, actually don't know if I could drink strawberry Nesquik. I prefer raspberry jam to strawberry. I leave the strawberry and other fruit fillings to last in a mixed box of chocolates. I like strawberries squashed on the side of the bowl with icecream, but I would like strawberry guavas just as much. Warm from the sun of course much better than bought strawberries from the fridge.

Thing no 4: I was telling my husband the other day (though he probably already knows) I don't think I would ever own a small car. I have had a 4 cylinder van, but I don't think I would drive a small car. I was saying my Nana mentioned to me after I bought my car that it wasn't a ladies car. My memories are getting vague but I am pretty sure she said that. What kind of car was it? It was a Kingswood, yellow with a nice 6 cylinder engine.

Thing no 5: Just to show I have some green bones in my body, we keep a large stack of newspapers, and we use them for things, though I think eventually we have to recycle some.

Thing no 6: I usually arrive at places on time or before time. Because I live close to things here I am often first because I allow the time I used to in my hometown and can't break myself of the habit. I used to allow 15 minutes, not sort of 10, but maybe 5 would be better?

Here is the last tag I did.

I am tagging:

The Simple Things

Notes From Daisy Mountain
The Old Dairy
Counting My Blessings
Food, Fun & Farm Life

I know some of you may be busy, so please don't rush on my account.

Thankful Thursday ~ November 20

Thursday: Lizards. The girls were playing outside in the sandpit with the dog. The dog gave daughter a fright and the lizard ended up in her hair and they found it amusing.

A lovely book to read.

The smell of freshly mown grass coming through open windows, our second night with them open.

Lovely meal, wasn't sure about it and hubby loved it.

A small sleep-in while our second son went for his final exam for the year.

Listening to the Partridge Family cheered me up.

Friday: Puppy games. Windsock fish and a church based activity for my little girl where she learns things, like Sunday school. Lovely meal again, it helps.

Saturday: We really enjoyed our meal. We had some advice for the future about jobs, that is something to think about.

Sunday: Sunday was Australian Idol which is enjoyable. Ballet rehearsals went well.

Monday: A nice chat at ballet. A book that I wanted to read turned up at the library, so I stopped being between books. I was having trouble starting one.

My husband told me some information about my favourite bird that I was talking about here during the winter. He must have gone to the trouble of tracking it down. It is small like a sparrow with shorter tail I think he said. Apparently they are hard to see and he likes to sit in the large crepe myrtle trees at the top. It is a bush bird, and I am happy he choses to come to our town house, though it is really a town in the bush well near it anyway.

Tuesday: A small two strips that looked like fields of dandelion flowers.

Listening to the winners singles from Australian Idol.

Now that I am 45 I can accept being that age, which is good. The smaller side of 45 felt better than the larger side at the time.

Wednesday: Another nice meal, that replaces another borlotti bean pasta recipe we use. It is much more smooth. Good reading material. The girls didn't get wet when they came out of school, the rain held off until this morning.

I found some recipes and also had some fun on the Edgell site, as I use canned legumes. These will keep me going for two days mealwise. In the meantime I will write a list to work around the Christmas hamper deliveries. Today would have been my normal shopping day.

Some of my posts earlier this week have some of these things in more detail. A little bit of a double-up for those who have already read them.

Count Your Blessings Word Search by Kim Klassen
Count Your Blessings Word Search

Our New House

Remember the garden bed we were making during the winter? Well hubby didn't get to finish mowing all the lawn on the two blocks but he has more or less finished the bed. He will play with the rocks over time, usually by the time he has finished his rocks look nice.

This is our new house with warts and all. You can see we have painted the board on the front of the side verandah, eventually we will paint the other end, then the side board last and do something with that gutter.

We definitely need security or screen doors on that door and two others. Mostly to keep out snakes and take advantage of the cool night air and to help with flies.

As you can see we have a chicken pen ready make. However it doesn't look good directly behind the pond, plus you can't get in easily to feed. At the moment the feeders are on the outside so you don't actually have to go in, but that is for flying birds I think.

You can see we have a new switchboard, and our unpainted garden bench that I got some ideas for from Titania as hers is lovely.

My camellias are slowly growing along the verandah, though probably too many for that spot. I want to start clipping the box plants as well. We haven't been keeping up to the weeding out the back.

Just remember it is a very cheap house. I haven't seen one as cheap on domain lately. We still have a little work to do before we or others can live in it. Hopefully it will start this weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saving Our Children

Our middle daughter

I have been reading the Voluntary Simplicity + Building Community = Saving Our Children post. These are the things I took away from it and could relate to. Earlier I had mentioned that I was building community by sending my kids to ballet. Our ballet is a very much a community event.

"I think about my beautiful cousins on both sides of this country, I think about the young children of my good friends, I think about my sister in 65 years, when she is 98 years old like my grandfather is now... and I feel responsible for their future. I fear we are destroying their future. I think we may be devastating our planet with our way of life..."

"I've created more time in my life, by not watching television, by having some of our produce delivered from local farms, by living in a neighborhood where I don't have to commute, by working from home or near home, and by many other smaller changes. (For more ideas about saving time, read Julie's post here.)

This has given me time to volunteer. Time to write. Time to learn more and think more, and time to talk with others who are thinking about similar things..."
This is a post that I wrote a long time ago (25th August) called Remote Seachange & Children's Activities.

One of the surprising things about living in a remote area is in the area of children's activities. There are a lot of activities, and when you get to the bottom of it, I think this is because of the funding from the State Health Services. So if you have had any dealings with the State before with children you may find this a little disconcerting at least at first.

The Youth worker takes the youth to the snow. They also hold gym classes. I think some of the older children get paid to teach under the adult teachers.

My feeling after living in another area with children, is that there seem to be activities evenly spread through out the year. It is a little like a party atmosphere I think. Some activities if you are a spectator require the old-fashioned lap blanket in the hall, just like in the old days.

The activities are excellent, the only thing that has been a recent lack of is piano teachers, but this is not something the Government is involved in, because it doesn't relate to fitness. Maybe someone should make a case for it for mental health reasons. I know I would love for the two little girls to learn piano. They do have excellent music lessons in others areas though, just not piano, as there are no places left at the moment.

The most exciting thing is the annual Snow Day. I have heard that some older children use this day off to go deer hunting which is very exciting. All schools in Victoria get a day for Melbourne Cup. We live a long way from Melbourne so we have our own version called Snow Day. Though this year we had both.

There are at least two churches that run activities as well. There is Spotlight on Christmas and also there have been other holiday activities. One small thing is that often the organisers assume that you know the assumed knowledge of how to find things etc.

There are still very involved school plays of the same standard as a larger school you may have seen in the 70s. The school even though small still does everything like it was big and everyone goes to a lot of trouble. There are a lot of excursions. There are ballet excursions as well.

How does this relate to the Saving Our Children post?

I was thinking about Back To Basics and building community. I mentioned Spotlight on Christmas that my little girl attended this week. The reason it was building community is that there were people there that I don't know. The organisers, I don't recognise from my usual daily life. Also some of the Mum's I don't usually see or haven't seen for a couple of years. One Mum mentioned she doesn't see me around, and I should have asked what kind of events she expects to see me at. I wonder if it means the restaurants etc. I wish I knew.

Ballet is also a community builder. I saw my daughter sitting on the floor thoroughly enjoying the company of a girl from school. Another time she was sitting with her group with one of the girl's Mum and they they were all chewing the fat together, it was lovely to be a part of. She is one lucky Mum. It reminds me so much of my country childhood. Different again to ballet in the medium sized town, our hometown that we did ballet in originally.

Here are some of the other things we do in our small community.

pony club
flower show
internet at the library
library activities
classes during the holidays like beading
floats in festivals
youth group bonfire
dressing up for festival
the creek

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Catchy Enough To Win

It's a shame, because I love Luke's song a lot.

Luke's Winner's Single

My Boys

Well, I had a lot of posts scheduled when I wrote this, but finally here is a photo of my "boys". The first photo that I thought about posting was of my daughter who just turned 15. I saw the photo of Caroline's daughter and loved it and they are the same age. I finally posted that one, and have another coming of her eldest little sister.

My son sent me this picture, it was a bit of trouble for him as he is studying, well not for much longer this semester. He and his girlfriend went on that weekend excursion to the Botanical Gardens that I have been posting pictures of fairly recently.

I remembered that there was a photo of my other boy too taken this year, so that is great. I don't usually post family pictures. It is a big event having grown sons, and as my youngest will be 18 early next year and was supposed to have gone to uni next year, a great change the first time for me. He will however go the year after all being well.

They both look like my family in the face, and height, but take after their Dad's family in colouring, hair, except for the younger one's nose.

Australian Idol 2008

Did anyone see Idol tonight? Australian Idol has only one week to go for this season. Luke is my favourite. The winners single he sang made me cry. Trouble is that Wes' song is very catchy.

The website doesn't have that yet, maybe they are waiting for the time differences on the west coast. The video above is another song Luke sung recently.

I think I will post this in a couple of hours in case it is a spoiler.

In 4 1/2 hours from this posting I will be half of 90!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Microwave Cakes

This particular cake we made before I found the recipe again!

Little Icecream Cone Cakes

A packet cake is a handy back-up as a snack. Prepared batter will keep for one month in the refrigerator if tightly covered.

1 flat-bottomed ice-cream cone
2 tablespoons cake batter
hundreds and thousands for decorating


Two-thirds fill ice-cream cone with cake batter.
Place cone off the centre of the turntable and microwave on High (90-100%) for 20-30 seconds. Cake should rise above sides of cone.

Stand for 30 seconds, then sprinkle with hundreds and thousands.


Microwave 2 cones for 45 seconds on High
3 cones for 1 minute on high
4 cones for 1 1/4 minutes on high.

From: Microwave Cooking for Babies & Toddlers by Virginia Hill

(I have an older version of the book, and I recommend reading it.)

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 17

Monday ~ Sausages & Baked Beans
Tuesday ~ Thai Spicy Minced Pork
Wednesday ~ Moroccan Sweet Potato , Carrot & Chickpea Soup
Thursday ~ Pasta with Marinated Feta, Pancetta and Lentils
Friday ~ Sausage & Egg Pie and Chips
Saturday ~ Pork & Tamerind Curry
Sunday ~ Spicy Tomato Spaghetti with Beans

Last week we enjoyed the three new recipes, Cheesey Chicken Pasta Bake Lamb Feta & Herb Pasta and Stir-fried Lamb, Vegetable & Noodles, photographed for kitchen poetry.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Sunday...

Outside My Window... it is dark

I am thinking... a lot less than I was before the kids went to bed, I felt I had things to get off my chest, but they are gone now

I am thankful for... my daughter encouraging my eldest daughter to go to the pool with her

From the kitchen... a beautiful modern version of egg & bacon pie

I am wearing... a new My Size t-shirt blue, and my faithful jeans

I am creating... too many posts, (sorry)

I am going... to the library sometime

I am reading... in between books, maybe I will read an Emilie Richards book that is not about quilts

I am hoping... I feel more myself soon

I am hearing... hubby sniffing with hayfever

Around the house... ballet clothes hanging to dry again

One of my favorite things... all things ballet

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: thankfully nothing. I want to recover from last week that has flared up the chest trouble I had from the flu during the winter

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
we noticed the Mum and baby magpipe out the kitchen window, one had gone to the back of the shed I think

Speaking of Sloppy Joes...

Today I was reading flmom's post on Sloppy Joes. I thought I would post about my Sloppy Joe experiment of a few years ago.

My Sloppy Joe recipe (hadn't heard of these before this it was August '05) is adapted from:

I have Australianised it!

Sloppy Jose

600-800g minced steak
2 medium onions, chopped
200g taco sauce (I have written hot sauce maybe I meant temp.) medium
8 hamburger buns
mozzella and tasty cheese
shredded lettuce
Tinned beetroot (canned beets?)

Cook beef and onion and a large frypan until beef is browned, drain. Stir in taco sauce, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve on buns with toppings. Makes 8 servings.

We really enjoyed them, so the experiment was a success. That is why I had written down what we did I suppose.

Sloppy Joe's Bar in Duval Street, Key West, Florida, USA by Angelo Cavalli
Sloppy Joe's Bar in Duval Street, Key West, Florida, USA

Back To Basics ~ Week 5

Planning for the future:

I finally got the plan for the second week of my fortnight done. It took quite a long time to find things for the ingredients we have already. I could have cheated on the last two days but didn't. I did buy less this "week".

Working for the future:

On Monday I received a Christmas dress in the mail for ebay. Hopefully it fits in with the teacher asked for for the Christmas concert. Next is to iron in on a cool setting. You can see the flowers on the bodice peaking out, they look a little like poinsettias.

I cleaned up and did some dusting in preparation for Christmas and possibly moving.

One of the recipes I have chosen for this week uses a pantry item we haven't used before. If we like it it will make sure it doesn't go to waste. It is I think dried tamarind.

I looked at the hampers that are coming first from Hamper King. I think they are coming while hubby is away for work. I just have to remember not to buy bread in bulk this Wednesday, so everything can fit into the freezer.

Building Community:

Today I got my girls ready for their ballet concert. They had good stockings, and I did their hair. I stayed at the hall for a couple of hours while I waited for my youngest to get her photo taken with the group etc. I got to see a dance my middle daughter is doing with the girls that didn't do solos earlier in the year. It was very nice. I now have to figure out if I have everything covered for the real concert soon.

More Quilting Novels

Awhile ago I posted a book review about Earlene Fowler and her quilting novels, the Benni Harper series. All the novels are named after quilts. Her novels are murder mysteries, and they must be OK as I don't usually read murder mysteries and I have read the whole set.

Another book I have read that relates to quilts is the first book in the Elm Creek Series by Jennifer Chiaverini. Although not Christian it is perhaps better in a lot of ways. I remember it to be a perfect gentle read. It included stories about the War.

Now I have just finished reading Emilie Richard's Wedding Ring that I posted about last Saturday. The trilogy I came across reminds me of Earlene Fowler in that the novels are named after quilt patterns, part of the Shenandoah Album series. There is also a mystery side to Emilie Richards that you can see here if you like mysteries.

Other quilting novels include Sandra Dallas that I have mentioned before, and Wanda Brunstetter both mentioned here.

Wanda is an Amish writer. The first book in her series may be disturbing for those with a large family. I am not fond of the God can overcome any adversity styled books, where the adversity is very alarming. One of the last books I read, Christian was about organised crime sorry Beverly Lewis fans.

Sandra Dallas is very interesting, but some very sad things happen in her books. Sometimes the main characters are criminals and you are supposed to relate to them living happily ever after.

Is Emilie Richards my favourite? Earlene Fowler and Emilie Richards are similar. I think I have learnt a lot by reading both of them. Some people find Earlene Fowler's books embarassing, and I think Emilie Richards would be in the same category. I think Sandra Dallas is worse though. Is that why Jennifer Chiavereri seems dull in comparison? I think I would have to read another one before I could say that.

By the way I love Raggedy Ann. My Mum encouraged me to buy a cot quilt for my daughter's room at the craft shop, because it was Raggedy Ann. I had had good luck with Raggedy Ann on ebay in the past, books and dolls, and one we found at the Salvation Army store I think. I came across this real life Raggedy Ann story, fantastic!

Country Herb Collection by Linda Stubbs
Country Herb Collection

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Day In My Life ~ November

I was waiting in my car at school with the windows down this afternoon. My daughter asked me to park closer. Earlier on when I started parking in my favourite spot, there was only one closer I could get to the school. Lately I could park closer to the school if I wish to, so I did for her. I heard an announcement over the PA that the Uniting Church was doing Spotlight (on Christmas) today. I had read about it previously in the newsletter.

When my daughter was coming out I met her and talked to the lady that was taking the children to the church.

When I picked her up from Spotlight, there was no sign of them. Last time, earlier in the year they did a puppet show in the church, so I went out the front under the trees. I could see the lights on in the church. It was quite hot, so I went to the front to wait comfortably. There were two kinds of gorgeous windsocks, or kites drying on the handrail there. There was a light breeze so it was all very lovely. A teacher here does the puppet shows and I briefly saw them. Lovely stuff.

I chatted to my daughter's kinder teacher who I haven't seen for a long while, so it was all very nice.

We came home and Dad was home from work and he hung the windsock on the front verandah. Maybe in the morning I can get a photo.

My daughter has been saving a packet of Chocolate Ripple biscuits since shopping day last Friday. She ate her packet of Butternut Snaps prior to this. I told our second son how to make Chocolate Ripple Cake from memory, but to make sure I didn't make a fool of myself I quickly looked for it on the internet and found this delightful video from Channel 10.

They managed to get a row of biscuits glued with cream and ran out of cream. I was like David Reyne and kept crunching into the left over biscuits. By this time our eldest daughter had left for Youth Group. I watched a little bit of the UK Ready Steady Cook.

She had been home for a little while I think talking to me about her tax file number that had come in the mail. Later on she talked to her Dad about how many hours she has to put into her Hospitality course next year. She is worried that she won't get in, because of the bits of homework she hasn't done.

I hadn't seen our middle daughter since this morning, when she came home from ballet in her leotard. She had her little suitcase and her schoolbag. She went with her friend to a church fete after school and is staying overnight.

During the day I talked to our eldest son on the phone. He rang me from his flat. He has time off work to study for his exams and has the final one next Wednesday.

At lunchtime we reheated some left overs that we really enjoyed for tea, pasta & beans. Our middle son had his first day at home after his exams and he was very quiet which was nice. He is actually doing his final year again next year, and next week he is starting that. They do it at our school, start off for next year. We were discussing his new teacher for Chemistry.

He started school young, so I don't think it will hurt anything. English is his weak point and you have to pass unit 3 and 4 to go to uni, even though you don't need two to pass VCE.

I have been reading a novel by Emilie Richards and enjoying it. Also enjoying the nice breeze that came in the window after about 6pm.

I could hear our dog barking and moving his bowls around for a game. Before that I was looking at the Christmas hampers that are being delivered in two weeks. Hubby was worried as he may not be home to help. Luckily there is not too much coming on that particular day.

I had a little look on real estate pages earlier on in the day. I think it made things clear as mud!

We had this for tea, and enjoyed it too. It reminded us so much of a family favourite from an old Women's Weekly BBQ cookbook using left over sausages.

Skywatch Friday ~ November 14

This was taken last weekend.