30 November 2009

A sandy situation ...

Today Christopher's school class went to a Surf Lifesaving Day at Terrigal beach. It was primarily to teach the kids sound beach skills - swim between the flags, how to get themselves out of a rip, basic lifesaving skills, suncare plus a few beach games - volleyball and races thrown in for good measure. Sound like fun??

In car on way home after school ....

Me - So how was it?

CJ - Oh it was alright I guess.

Me - Only alright? So what was wrong?

CJ - the sand.

Me - Oh !!! (Smiling) So you're not a beach person then?

CJ - Nah - there's too much sand and there are way too many dangerous things.

Me - OK so I guess you prefer to be in a swimming pool then.

CJ - Yeah, a pool is much more fun and nothing dangerous there except drowning.

Yep guess drowning would take the fun right out of it !!!

28 November 2009

Going around in my head ....

Ever have a song go around and around in your head and nothing you seem to do can get rid of it? I've had one of those cases this week after watching "The Sound of Music" for about the 50th time with my son over the weekend. This song has stuck and I find myself sitting in the car at traffic lights humming away or standing under the shower belting out a few bars. So what to do for therapy? - create a layout of course.

24 November 2009

About being thankful ...

Obviously we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia but a number of my online American friends have been doing thankful posts on their blogs these past weeks sharing what they are thankful for. I really like this concept so today I will share what I am grateful for.

John probably deserves my heartfelt gratitude.

I don't say it near often enough but I'm thankful for him almost daily; for the way he supports us as a family and provides for us, for his generosity, his interaction with both children, for putting up with me. I'm thankful for his ability to put together a meal, and I'm thankful to his mother for raising him to help around the house. I'm thankful for his hard working nature, his integrity, his support and encouragement.

I'm thankful for our two healthy children and their different ambitions and personalities. Even when they are sulky, talking back, inconsiderate, annoying, leaving wet towels on the floor, tuning out when I talk to them, living in a pig sty, whinging about doing homework, yelling for me from across the house, etc. Even then, especially then, I am thankful to have them in my life.

I'm thankful for sunrises and sunsets, flowers, rain and brightly coloured birds.
I'm thankful for hot, steamy showers and cozy flannel sheets in winter.
I'm thankful for a good cup of tea and homemade biscuits.
For TV re-runs, music and really good books.
For fast internet service and online forums.

I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had in this life, for friendships made. I'm thankful that I am who I am.

21 November 2009

Digital dabbling ....

I seem to be doing more and more layouts digitally. Probably because I have been doing a few projects lately that seem to work best in digital format. Of course pulling together a layout example of the Friday sketch to post along with my Get Teased challenge on Get It Scrapped! may have something to do with it too.

Here are just a couple of the ones I've put together recently.

15 November 2009

Heading on up the road ....

Headed up the freeway this morning to Cooranbong for another day of scrapping - yes I have a problem !!!

This was with Catherine Duffy and we did her Christmas workshop; in we I mean with friends Robyn and Jo. It was a lovely day and this gorgeous little bucket was a lot of fun to make - I've pinched Catherine's picture as I still have a few finishing touches to put on mine.

09 November 2009

Spent the weekend in Port Stephen's attending the first Kim Archer Scrapbooking Retreat. The weather was cool and with light drizzle for much of the weekend with the sun finally coming out on Sunday morning. My feelings were similar. I was expecting a lot and value for the large $$ outlay the weekend cost me and to be honest I can't say it totally delivered for me. There were some aspects that were great however there were some things I felt weren't; it was a shame really as a lot of time and effort was put into it by the organisers but I just felt they were preoccupied with all the little things and didn't attend to the big picture enough. One of the biggest problems was that Kim picked a wedding reception venue rather than a conference venue and the lighting was terrible for close craft work. Rather than rectangular tables there were large round ones (with too many people placed per table) and just not enough room to spread out your work and supplies. She also badly estimated the time that would be spent on each workshop so there was this constant feeling of being rushed and not being able to give enough attention to detail to your work. Hope she manages to iron out the bugs for next year's participants.

02 November 2009

Lost in translation ...

I was talking to John (still at work) on the phone the other afternoon. We were discussing the evenings activities and whether he would be home on time and if I should pick up some takeway on my way back from Christopher's swimming. He asked me what time swimming started. "Quarter to six", I replied.

"No it doesn't Mum", came the quick response from Christopher (aka Mr Big Ears) who was listening in. "It starts at 5.45".

OK !! Guess we can chalk this up as yet another system fast going the way of the dinosaur.

28 October 2009

What ?????

Miss Tami has asked the questions ...

What is your favorite word? supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - can't get much better than that
What is your least favorite word? No
What turns you on? Consideration
What turns you off? Cruelty
What sound or noise do you love? Rain
What sound or noise do you hate? Sirens because it is never good news
What is your favorite curse word? The c word - it's cruder than crude
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I've always wanted to be a librarian
What profession would you not like to do? An accountant - I hate numbers
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You're too early, you'll need to go back ...

18 October 2009

Curry anyone? ....

John sent me this from work today and I haven't laughed so much in ages. It's good.


Notes From An Inexperienced Curry Taster Named FRANK, who was visiting
Durban from the U.S.

“Recently I was honoured to be selected as a judge at a curry cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (couple of local Indians) that the curry wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted. Here are the scorecards from the event:”


Curry # 1: Manoj’s Maniac Mobster Monster Curry

JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavour. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy sh*t, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one.

Curry # 2: Applesamy’s Afterburner Curry

JUDGE ONE: Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavour, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of reach of children! I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich manoeuvre. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Curry # 3: Farouk’s Famous Burn Down the Barn curry

JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse curry! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A beanless curry, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.

FRANK: Call Colesburg, I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Draino. Everyone knows the routine by now, get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting sh*t-faced from all the beer.

Curry # 4: Barbu’s Black Magic

JUDGE ONE: Black bean curry with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a curry.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it, is it possible to burn-out taste buds? The bar maid was standing behind me with fresh refills; that witch is starting to look HOT, just like this nuclear waste I’m eating. Is curry an aphrodisiac?

Curry # 5: Laveshnee’s Legal Lip Remover

JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong curry. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

JUDGE TWO: Curry using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her curry had given me brain damage. The bar maid saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off? It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Curry # 6: Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety

JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety curry. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I shat myself when I farted and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that vixen bar maid, she must be kinkier than I thought. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my ass with a snow cone! _____________________________________________

Curry # 7: Sugash’s Screaming Sensation Curry

JUDGE ONE: A mediocre curry with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of curry peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a damn thing. I’ve lost the sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with curry which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing, it’s too painful. Screw it, I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4 inch hole in my stomach.

Curry # 8: Hansraj’s Mount Saint Curry

JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend curry, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced curry, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the curry pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor Yank, wonder how he’d have reacted to a really hot curry?

So what's been happening around here ....

I went to a crop on Friday night - it was a charity one in aid of SIDS so I participated in the auction and came away with a pack of paper (just what I needed !!) but it was money to a good cause so can't complain. It was fun actually, they did quick make and takes of cards and had guessing competitions and lucky door prizes etc. A good evening all round.

Yesterday was a clean up and do an few things around the house kind of day and I did a few loads of wash. Mid afternoon I thought I'd have a 30 minute lie down and finish off a book I was reading only to wake up several hours later - oh no! - I'm not starting on the nanna naps am I? So of course last night I was wide awake so stayed up really late trying to catch up on a few overdue projects and then read for a bit in bed and before I knew it the clock said 2am.

Today is a quiet day - we always relax on a Sunday if we aren't going out somewhere for the day. It is overcast atm and it looks like it could rain at any minute. My dd comes home this afternoon having been away to camp for the last 10 days - it has been incredibly quiet around here without her. Guess I will have another few loads of washing to do tonight - she never comes home with anything clean.

10 October 2009

Going around and around ....

John rode in the World Masters Games today. We all went down to cheer him on (well we didn't actually do a lot of cheering but we were there to lend support !). The atmosphere was quite good - lots of competitors in the centre of the track and it was really amazing to see the velodrome in person and to fully realise how steep those sides were. The crowd ( er what crowd ??) was disappointing to say the least - in fact I think there were more people competing and volunteering and serving in the cafe then actually spectating - really poor advertising and promoting from the organisers.

John had fun - I think he knew that he was in it for the experience and didn't expect to actually place in anything (at least I hope that's what he thought) and he did well considering he has only been on his bike for 6m after some 16 years and then it was a brief season so realistically he has ridden competitively since his youth and we won't go into how long ago that was !!!

He rode in the 500m time trial and then the sprint race.

08 October 2009

5 things ....

1. why does Christopher have to get up at 6am EVERY morning?
2. I want a sleep in for just one morning - just one; that's all I ask.
3. there is only about three teaspoons of sugar in the house - bummer but that's enough for a coffee or two.
4. just what I need - a grocery shopping trip
5. why oh why did I agree to a sleepover for Christopher tonight; two full-on boys in the house .... bliss !!

23 September 2009

Red sky in the morning .....

6.18am - The REM song "It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)" came to mind this morning as I awoke to a red sky and scenes reminiscent of "Armageddon". The smell of dust hung solidly in the air.

"Large areas have been shrouded in dust as the state experiences severe winds and unseasonably warm temperatures", says the radio news - What? no kidding !! Does this account for the my inability to see the trees clearly out my back door and the god awful orange glare?

Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman Jane Golding said dust had settled on much of the state, including Sydney. "It's pretty widespread," she told ABC Radio.

Hmmm - not sure I want to drive Christopher to school right now. Rachel has a study day as her Year 11 examination start tomorrow. It's not looking too good and I don't think it's about to get better anytime soon.

7.20pm - Turns out it was Australia's worst dust storm in 70 years and blanketed the heavily populated east coast in a cloud of red outback grit from Broken Hill and into South Australia. The event nearly closed the country's largest airport and left millions of people coughing and sputtering in the streets. John went to work but did not venture out of the office all day - his view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge completely obliterated for much of the day.
It started to clear late afternoon and now I have a thin later of fine red dust throughout every nook and cranny inside and a thick clinging layer over everything outside. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow !!!

21 September 2009

All jokes aside ...

Christopher and his friend Jai are in charge of the joke segment of their current class radio project in 5R (they are currently studying media). Must admit I was a little concerned at the potential quality of the jokes they might decide to use but I needn't have worried.

I had a chuckle to myself when Christopher came home today to tell me one of the jokes they had used in their session.

Q. What does Mrs Claus use to make Christmas cookies?

A. Elf raising flour !!

20 September 2009

How's the serenity? ...

Dale Kerrigan: [voiceover] He loved the serenity of the place
Darryl Kerrigan: Hows the serenity?
Dale Kerrigan: [voiceover] I think he also just loved the word.
Darryl Kerrigan: So much serenity.

I loved the movie The Castle (1997). I think you need to be Australian to fully appreciate it - such a funny movie with so many memorable lines. I always think of poor Darryl when I visit St Joseph's Spirituality and Education Centre at Kincumber where we hold our twice annual scrapbooking retreats.

St Joseph's Boys' Orphanage was founded by Mary MacKillop and the Sisters of St Joseph in 1887 when they took 22 homeless boys from Sydney to live at the Kincumber site. For 89 years it was a shelter for homeless children, with thousands of boys, and later girls, passing through its doors. After the Home closed in 1976, St Joseph's became a centre for retreats, group gatherings, workshops, seminars and reflection days.

It's a beautiful spot - no doubt about it; there's an inner peace about the place that is hard to describe. The tension of everyday life seems to melt away as you walk around the grounds, taking in the glorious views and peaceful nature of the grounds. I always return from Kincumber rejuvenated and with a newly found appreciation for life. Yes Darryl - I feel the serenity.

14 September 2009

Heating up ....

Wow it's been hot - can't believe we are only at the end of the second week of September (and only two weeks into Spring) and we have had temperatures reaching 30 deg C already. It is not looking good for the summer season this year as there have been 60 odd fires in NSW alone in the past week and all the authorities are extremely concerned that this year the bushfire season will be a disastrous one. Let's hope they are wrong.

10 September 2009

The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees ...

Headed over to the 23rd annual Springtime Flora Festival at Mt Penang. I've only ever missed two of these - the first one as we hadn't moved to Kariong and in 1998 as I was in hospital having just given birth to Christopher. This award-winning event is one of the largest and most popular flora events in Australia. There are flora displays and landscaped garden settings as well as displays by associated commercial suppliers of outdoor, garden, lifestyle and home living.

This year it was relocated to a new site at Mt Penang as the existing location has been taken over by the Department of Education and is currently a construction site for the new Kariong Mountains High School which is due to open next year. This I think has caused some significant headaches for the festival planning committee as it effectively has meant that they have had to start over. The new location is not as good as the previous one, nor is the vehicle access. I felt that the number of exhibitors (normally some 300) was down from previous years. It was still enjoyable but I couldn't help but feel that something significant was missing.

09 September 2009

To the nines ....


The day itself falls on a Wednesday and both Wednesday & September have 9 letters. The last of the single-digits dates for quite a while -- 92 years to be precise. It represents the last set of repeating, single-digit dates for almost a century (until January 1, 2101) or a millennium (January 1, 3001) depending on how it is counted. According to numerologists, as the final numeral, the number nine holds special rank, and is associated with forgiveness, compassion, and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative.

But 09/09/09 was significant for another reason. It was Christopher's 11th birthday and he thought it was pretty special celebrating his big day in this way. He told me it would have been even better had be been 9 on the 09/09/09 but turning 11 would just have to do.

At 09:09:09 am I was sitting at this computer checking my emails. Not earth shattering I know but that can't be helped. Both children were at school.

At 09:09:09 pm we were eating celebratory birthday KFC which we had picked up on the way home after seeing the school musical production of "Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat" at school.
Christopher was in two class items as well as performing with the drum circle.

04 September 2009

Reality calling ...

Christopher has become quite good friends with a girl from his swimming and we have been taking her to the swim club meetings on a Friday night. Last week I could not help but smile at the conversation in the back seat on the way home. The two of them were busy telling each other jokes when Karrah said.

K - My brother tells really bad jokes.

C - Oh I know what you mean. My friend Kyle at school tells the worst jokes. He tells this one about a cow going into a bar; it's terrible but he thinks it's really funny. Proceeds to tell K the joke.

K - You're right Chris - it isn't funny.

C - No it's not but Kyle rolls around laughing his head off and I say "Kyle ! It's not funny".

K - Yeah well you're right Chris, it isn't.

C - I think its reality.

K - Yep its reality all right.

03 September 2009

Perhaps the eyes don't have it ...

I was having major issues with my eyesight while driving the kids to school the other morning. It was blurry and I was getting really uptight because I normally visit my optometrist every 2 years for a vision check and the purchase of new glasses and it is only 9 months since my last appointment. I was calculating in my head how quickly my vision was deteriorating and lamenting its steady decline. It was troubling not seeing correctly, the signs were just that fraction out of focus; not enough to totally hinder my driving ability but enough to bug me and make me aware of my eyes short comings. I made it home without mishap and decided perhaps a really good clean of the lenses might be helpful. It was then I realised I had driven all the way over and back wearing my reading glasses. No wonder my vision was off.

01 September 2009

Monday mentions ....

Today I am looking out at ... a beautiful sunny day. It's the first day of spring but our temperatures over the past couple of weeks are more like summer. It's lovely but I worry about how bad it will be this year for bush fires.

Today I might ... cook fish for this evenings meal.

Today I am reading ... An encyclopedia of an ordinary life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Today my biggest priority is ... getting some classes set up on InDesign for Get It Scrapped!

Today I hope to see ... no-one at all; that way I can get some things done.

Today I hope to talk to ... dh on the phone - he leaves at 6am and I usually get more conversation with him via the phone than I do in real life.

Today I have already seen/talked to ... my children - we usually have a chat over breakfast.

Today I am watching ... the antics of my two cats - they always make me smile.

Today I am dreaming ... that I could find more hours in the day to get everything done.

Today I am wearing ... my pyjamas as I type this - it is still only 7.14am after all.

Today my mood is ... great.

Today I am going to ... conquer the world? No not really but I'd like to achieve a few things if that is at all possible.

30 August 2009

Take a bit of this, add a bit of that ....

Challenge - Tell us about our scrapbooking creative process.

Hmmm - I'm not sure I have a set one. I tend to scrap according to my mood and what I'm currently working on.

Sometimes its product driven because I'm using a scrap kit or have something specific I just want to get onto a layout so I build my entire look around that product or those papers. I find pictures that match the paper or embellishments and then work a sketch in my mind that co-ordinates with both.

Other times I have photos first and find paper and embellishments to work with them.

A lot of the time I have a sketch in mind and then find pictures and papers etc that go with the sketch.

This one was a case of having the photos and finding matching papers and designing a layout to suit them.

Here I had a layout in mind and found photos first then papers etc to match the idea.

29 August 2009

Pictures ....

We are back to Snapshot Saturday with Katrina who has asked us to wander around today, see what we can find and post a picture of something ...

1. Red - a Ferrari at the Top Gear Live at Acer arena show last summer
2. Sweet - celebrating a birth with an Italian birthday cake
3. Four - sitting on a bench at Mt Penang Gardens enjoying the view

28 August 2009

Signs ....

It's my last Finding Fun Friday and I thought we should make this one memorable.

We see them everywhere, you catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of your eye, they suddenly appear around corners, they seem to crop up when we least expect them. What are they? Funny signs.

I thought I would share with you a few of my personal favourites and I'd love for you to share some as well. If you don't have a photo just tell us of one that tickled your fancy.

25 August 2009

All too much ....

Michelle tells us that for today, we are keeping it simple and straight to the point with two short lists 1) What I have gotten done today 2) What I still need to get done today.

You know the sad fact in life is that There will always be too much to do.

Last year I was frantic because my to-do list was growing faster than I could complete items on it. I was literally afraid to put down things I really wanted to do simply because I was terrified of making my list even longer. It was all getting to be too much.

I then found myself saying things like "I'll get to it when the kids are at school" or "When the kids are on holidays and I don't have to do the school run I'll have more time"; then things started getting pushed back to "It can wait until next year - I'll be able to do more then".
And then it hit me - I am never going to finish everything on my to-do list! Simple as that. So what did I do - I took a few items off the list and made a commitment to myself not to do them. I realised that I needed to concentrate on what was do-able and leave those that were not. So maybe I'll never complete that hand knitted item in the back of the cupboard I started four years ago; so what and perhaps the windows can need washing for a bit longer. My list is lighter and so are my shoulders; the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the express train after all.

Mother, O mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up the bed
.........Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
.........She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
..........(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
..........(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
..........Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

~~~~Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

24 August 2009

Show and tell ....

Tania has asked us to:-

*snap a picture of a current scrapbooking project in the works, or
*tell me (and/or show me) how you store your scrapbooking scraps, or
*show me where you scrap!

Well telling you how I store my scrapbooking scraps might not be very inspirational, in fact ... it ..... could .......be .........zzzzz ..zzzzzz.zzzzzzz ..........

And showing you where I scrap might be downright ^^^^^^^^ freaky!

So it might be safest to show you what I worked on last night.

23 August 2009

Random ....

Overheard this afternoon.

Christopher:- "Hey Rachel .... Dad and me is going on a bike ride".

Rachel:- "No ! .... Dad and I are going on a bke ride".

Christopher:- "What !!!! ... are you coming too?????"

Up close and personal ....

Katrina wants to see details for Snapshot Saturday. She wants us to show her something up close.

My meal at a local restaurant.

Water Lily in pond.

21 August 2009

10 things ....

So now it is my turn for Finding Fun Friday and I thought we should all get to know each other just a little better. So I'd like you to each to list 10 random things about yourself on your blogs - can be good, bad or downright ugly, but list things we may not already know; things that you probably haven't divulged openly (No we don't want any family scandals or closet secrets) just some fun things so we can get to know the real you.

Here's mine:-

1. I cuddle a pillow when I sleep - have done since I was a child. Not sure what a psychologist would make of this.

2. My husband tells me I snore (lots) I tend to believe him considering each morning he wakes with a pillow over his head to drown out the noise. :)

3. I rank honesty above any other virtue - my kids have learnt not to lie, cheat or steal around me or the consequences will be grim.

4. If I never had to iron another business shirt in my entire life I would be the happiest woman alive.

5. I love the sound of rain on a roof and the fresh smell in the air after a shower.

6. I love long hot showers (but rarely have them) - there is no greater luxury in life.

7. I hate wearing makeup and avoid it whenever possible. I reckon this is who I am - get used to it.

8. Same goes for high heels, I dress for comfort and aching feet just isn't on my list.

9. I'm known to sing along to music on the car radio - my kids hate me doing this and repeatedly ask me to stop - I usually smile and sing louder.

10. I have no maths sense at all - hate anything to do with numbers, equations and formulas. Have no idea why I learnt calculus, logarithms and algebra in school - might as well have been Martian for all the good it did me.

Out of the mouths ....

It's Thought Provoking Thursday; well it is for those in the US following along with this blog challenge; it's Friday here and Doris has asked us if we have any amusing anecdotes or words of wisdom to share about the ways of children.

Kids !!! W C Fields wisely advised against working with them and good old Bill Cosby had a very successful and extremely funny television show based on the things they say. Out of the mouths of babes comes .... well just about anything, at any time, really. Kids do say the darnedest things, they say them when you least expect it, when the mood takes them, they say them loudly and quickly and there are many, many times you wished they hadn't said anything at all.

Like the time in the crowded supermarket when my daughter was about 4; she was a real chatterbox back then, now she's a 16 year old teenager and I tend to get one word answers like "Whatever", the odd grunt or if I'm really lucky "I don't know"; but I digress. Way back when she was a real cutie and talked incessantly; like I didn't get a minutes peace. So here we were cruising down the dried fruit and cake mix aisle and I'm preoccupied getting stuff off the shelf and she spots something. She wants to tell me about it so she starts tugging on the back of my top and stupid me ignores her; the tugging gets more persistent until she can contain herself no longer and at the top of her voice she says "Mum !! That man has NO HAIR." Pause for effect. "See ..... he has NO HAIR on his HEAD".

Yeh Gods !!

20 August 2009

Here and there ...

Am I ready for a fun Wednesday Blog challenge? Sharyn asks. Sure I say, bring it on.

This one is all about where I go. No not literally; in my little cyberworld - where my daily computer journey takes me.

The first stop when I turn the computer on in the morning is to see what emails have winged my way overnight. There's always some; I read them and zap off replies as necessary.

Then of course I have to check out what is new, add some comments, see what challenge is in store for me over on my home away from home on Get It Scrapped!

In fact most of the places I visit are over on the side bar - check them out. I also like to look through what is on offer at Etsy. The treasures there are amazing.

My kids also have favourite places. dd is a My Space sort of girl. It's the modern way of killing hours on the phone I guess. ds is into Club Penguin - one of his most favourite places to visit. He meets up with his friends there for some innocent fun (and those penguins are kinda cute you have to admit !). Now dh is more of a current affairs sort of guy, so every morning once he gets to the office and has coffee in hand he's online to The Sydney Morning Herald for some up to date news.

And to think in the good old days we went out to chat with friends, played Monopoly, talked on the phone and read paper newspapers - oh the horror !!

18 August 2009

At'ems and Is'ems ....

I wake this morning and open one bleary eye. It's uncharacteristically bright for 5.20am. Glance at clock and groan. Whack snoring husband behind me who wakes and responds with grunt.

"You forgot to set the alarm clock again didn't you" I mumble.

"No, I set it,' is the taunt reply.

"Well if you set it," I say, "why is it 6.30?"

"Oh sh*t", exclaims husband flinging back the covers and dashing for the bathroom. He normally leaves at 6.00am .....


Michelle has asked us to list our family isms as part of the Get It Scrapped! blog challenge. After thinking hard I realise we don't have "family" isms that I can name right off the top of my head but I can think of a few of the individual variety.

dh - "I'm just resting my eyes" (standard response when woken after dropping off on the lounge and snoring loudly while "watching" TV)

dd - "I don't know" (what she always says when asked any sort of question that involves an opinion for an answer)

ds - "Just one more thing" (he says as he tries to fit 15 minutes of talking into a 5 minute window)

Me - well, I just yell and say "No" a lot !!


..... and guess what? It's 5.20pm and I can hear the not so sweet vibrations of the clock belting out its little bell heart down in my bedroom. The old man did set the alarm after all !!!

16 August 2009

In awe ...

This has turned out to be my word of the month. It seems to crop into my sentences at surprising and unexpected turns; it pops out of my mouth when I least expect it - even my daughter seems to think saying "awe" is awesome !!

AWE n.
1. A mixed emotion of reverence, respect, dread, and wonder inspired by authority, genius, great beauty, sublimity, or might: We felt awe when contemplating the works of Bach. The observers were in awe of the destructive power of the new weapon.
2. Archaic.
a. The power to inspire dread.
b. Dread.
tr.v., awed, aw·ing, awes.
To inspire with awe.

[Middle English, from Old Norse agi.]

Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, "There are three ways in which we may relate ourselves to the world: we may exploit it, we may enjoy it, we may accept it in awe".

I couldn't agree more.

Three ways ...

Snapshot Saturday and Katrina writes - Today find a subject, any subject at all. Put it in great light if you can. Capture it three ways. Three different views, three different feelings, three different angles. What does each say to you? Which appeals to you most? Which tells the story you want to tell most effectively?

OK, so I did this a little differently mainly because I had been wanting to play around with a few photo effects and this seemed a good opportunity to do so. So the first three are variations on a geranium from my garden; no earth shattering insights, they don't say anything to me - just some fun.

Then the actual challenge; three photos of the same thing from different angles. The first one is of a little inconsequential flower (a weed actually) in my weed infested lawn. It's tiny in the scheme of things and it means very little, you barely notice it and easily step on it.

But wait - when you get close it is kinder pretty isn't it. It's very yellow and bright and cheery; like a mini sun.

and if I were a grain of sand or an teeny tiny ant then this little bitty flower would be a giant. It would tower over me in all it's grandeur and it wouldn't be inconsequential at all - no not at all !

15 August 2009

Finding Fun in unexpected places ...

Yippee; it's my turn for Finding Fun Friday over on Get It Scrapped! and I thought I'd lighten up the day with a break from lots of deep thinking and long writing.

I asked everyone to find a funny picture from amongst their collections of photographs and then to post it on their blogs with a caption that is a well known line from a movie - not forgetting to also tell us which movie and who delivered the line. Simple eh?

Here's mine:-

"Here's looking at you kid" - Humphrey Bogart ~ Casablanca

14 August 2009

A box of inspiration ...

Today is Thought Provoking Thursday with Doris who has asked us what inspires you to create?

Obviously like Doris I can be inspired by lovely scrap products, eye catching layouts in magazines, by the world I live in or the songs I hear. I can be inspired by memories and the need to tell a story. I can be inspired by others and what they say or teach.

All of these things are probably fostered in me by a desire to pass the stories down, to document my children's lives and my own and my husband; to pass to them the memories of my own parents and my grandparents. You see when I cleared out the family home after my father had passed away I was left with a box of old photographs - some in packets, some loose; very few with notes on them - my childhood and their lives in a box. No stories written down for me to tell, no thoughts on what they were thinking when they took each picture; their fears, their joys, what drove them, what made them sad, happy. No memories to share. I guess I am probably luckier than most because I was interested in family stories and I listened when my parents told me things about their past and I have a good memory. I'm getting those stories down onto layouts now; those and documenting my own life and the lives of my children.

So what inspires me to create? A box of photographs and a desire to pass more than this onto my children when my time comes.

13 August 2009

So much more ...

Sharyn has us pondering what could be quite a difficult question for many; I thought I would take forever to think it over,

If you could only keep one piece of furniture - which one would it be, and why?

but actually I didn't take as long as I thought I would because my answer was already right before me - you see twice in my life here on the Central Coast of New South Wales I have been faced with the prospect of loosing everything I owned. The first time was in 1994 when raging bush fires threatened our entire suburb and the authorities evacuated every man, woman and child from our community. At the time I was without a car as John was working in Sydney and couldn't get back due to road closures and I was left alone with a 9 month old baby. I was evacuated with my neighbours, only taking with me a suitcase of belongings and a washing basket piled high with financial records and photo albums.

Only three years ago we were faced with a similar emergency when a large fire was approaching our suburb from a different direction and our home was in direct line of danger. We had more warning this time and with John home housing down the outside walls of our home to quench stray embers I had the task of packing what few precious things I could into the cars in the event we were ordered to leave. Obviously apart from our menagerie of animals, financial records, photo albums, scrapbooks and some personal items from each of us, I was left gazing at my home and wondering what I should take - what couldn't be replaced if our house burnt down. I might love my lounge or my LCD tv but in reality I can go to a department store and buy similar, the original paintings on the walls are one offs I know but ultimately they are covered by insurance and while I might not get that same painting back I could purchase another by the same artist. Our extensive record and CD collection?- difficult I know to reproduce but not impossible. Obviously some things were just out of the question due to size and bulk - the two chests of drawers from the late 1800's that were secondhand when my Grandfather used them as a child - I would be devastated to lose them but I could probably buy similar in an antique store and while they wouldn't have been my family heirlooms I could at least pretend, right?

So what one piece of furniture did I put in my car?
My Grandmothers piano stool; lovingly handmade
for her by my Grandfather so many years ago. The stool that my Mother inherited when my Grandmother had to downsize from her home and move in with my Aunt. The stool that sat in my Mothers bedroom for as long as I can remember until I inherited it when my Father passed away in late 1994 and I cleaned out the family home. The stool on which I sat for the only professional photo shoot I had as a child at age 26 months and the stool where I sat my own two children while I took pictures of them at the exact same age. The stool that I hope to pass down to my daughter so she might take the same pictures of her own children and her grandchildren. The stool that has come to mean much more to me than a mere piece of furniture; it represents the past, my present and the future.

12 August 2009

Time marches past ...

It will probably never happen but there's always hope ...

It's Tami's turn for Techie Tuesday (you can guess that from the above) and aside from the technical tutorial she's asked us to blog about what you'd like to do, but know you probably never could.

The first thing that comes to mind is that I'd really, really like to finish my very long list of "to do's" - not your normal everyday chores like clean out the clothes closet or sort out my linen press (although these need doing as well) but things like get all my scrapbooks into chronological order, finish the family history research for both sides of my family and for my husband and try and get that into some form of readable history, complete the three started quilts I have sitting in my sewing cabinet - and my long list goes on and on ..... With each passing year I come to realise that time is slipping through my fingers so rapidly that I may never fully complete the tasks I have set myself to my total satisfaction. I need 48 hours days and another 30 good years and I know that I can't have one and in all likelihood may not have the other but I'll keep plodding along taking one day at a time - that's all any of us can do really.

11 August 2009

Wishes ...

Today is all about making a list of wishes. So rather than bore you all senseless with a long list of wishes from me I thought I'd share a beautiful quote that I find heartfelt and meaningful.

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” ~Anon~

and one I just really like

An Old Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

10 August 2009

Half baked memories ...

It's Day 8 and Tania has us thinking about Sunday dinners. I want you to tell me what your Sunday dinner table looks like. how has it changed over the years. do you make the same thing every week or is Sunday reserved for going out or ordering pizza? who gathers around? or maybe you'd rather reminisce and talk about Sundays at a child and the memories it evokes. perhaps you have a favorite recipe to share and it has nothing to do with sundays at all. but it's savory and it's sunday, so go for it!

Gosh, the Sundays I spent as a child could not be more different than the Sundays my children spend now.

Sunday was baked lunch day - come rain, hail or shine. When we were living on the farm it was just Mum, Dad and I but after we moved into the neighbouring town when I was in my teens, my Grandmother was always invited to Sunday lunch each week. In the morning I would walk down to the paper shop and buy the Sunday papers; Dad would go off to collect Grandma and we would have a baked meal at lunchtime. Chicken or lamb, potatoes, carrots, peas, pumpkin with lashings of gravy; sometimes as a special treat we would have roast beef or a rolled roast. My Mum would always make a nice dessert, apple pie, baked rice or perhaps a steamed pudding. We would then relax, reading the papers, playing cards or watching TV until it was time for Grandma to go home.

Now my husband and I take advantage of the fact that our children are older and fairly self sufficient and have a sleep-in on a Sunday; rising later and I then usually cook a bacon and egg brunch and because of this we don't tend to worry about Sunday lunch focusing more on the evening meal which we all share together. Sundays are usually set aside for family events; if we go visiting or take in family excursions to the zoo etc Sunday is the day we do them. One thing however has not changed; we still buy the Sunday papers and spend a leisurely few hours reading them through and watching the kids fight over who gets the comic section first.

09 August 2009

Looking back ...

Can't believe we are already a week into our August blog challenge and Katrina is yet again in charge of Snapshot Saturday. This week she has posted; You can call it looking back, this day in history, one year ago today, or whatever you'd like. Simply look through your photos. Find one on the same day a year or two (or more!) ago and post it. The story of the photo is always a great touch too.

So here's mine from last year;

7th August 2008 / Christopher has a brand new bike; it's red, his favourite colour and John is busy helping him get a handle on all the features (multi gears and brakes) before he's allowed to ride off by himself.

08 August 2009

My challenged memory ...

It's "Finding Fun Friday" for Day 7 over at Get It Scrapped! and guess what?... it's my turn to spread some cheer in the blogging challenge.

Whether a happy memory, amusing story or fondly remembered object, your challenge today is to tell us about that “something” in your childhood that makes you smile every time you think about it. Bonus points if you have a photo to go along with your story.

Ruff was my childhood friend and faithful companion. He would go everywhere with me, he sat by my side when I was busying playing, he joined in my adventures in the garden on cold winter days and he slept peacefully tucked under my arm at night.

When I was very tiny I cuddled him close and as I grew I carried him wherever I went by one ear; either dangling from my mouth in my crawling days or gripped by the hand when I became upright and mobile.

Ruff is still with me – looking very grubby around the edges and tattered from his many years of loving – he is now minus one ear that was “loved” just a little too much but he’s here, making me smile when I think of him and all the special times we shared when I needed him most.

07 August 2009

A mixture of love ...

Day 6 finds me in "Thought Provoking Thursday" with Doris Sander (one of my "most" favourite people over on Get It Scrapped! - well they are all my favourites, that's why I put in the "most" :) ). Doris says "my challenge to you is to flip through some of your own recent photos. find one that speaks to you and try to think of more than one angle you could use with your journaling". Since I'm always eager to please the exalted one, here is my take on a photo from last week.

Event perspective - Take butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk and flour, mix well and what you do have? A much anticipated cake that will be devoured quickly, a very happy child who has spent a quality hour with his beloved Grandmother; a tired but rewarded Mother-in-law who has successfully championed her Grandson to yet another cake making success AND a sink full of dirty dishes. !!

Relationship perspective - Invariably when my Mother-in-law comes to visit, Christopher asks her to bake a cake with him and she does; always. They start from scratch, with butter, eggs, sugar, etc and she patiently helps him measure out the correct amount of the ingredients and is at the ready to help with the electric beaters when they get a bit wobbly in his hands. The cakes they make together are always delicious and the time they spend creating them is both educational and rewarding for them both.

My perspective - I love the bond that Christopher has with his Grandmother. He's her last Grandchild and I think she is very aware that with the relentless passing of time she needs to do the things with him that she was unable to do with her eldest Grandson who is now 25. And do things with him she does; they look through cookbooks together, heads bent close to check out the finer details, she plays endless rounds of board games, they go for long walks in our neighbourhood; so many wonderful things. Having Grandma visit isn't a chore for Christopher; it's a highlight in his life.

Historical perspective - Oh how I wish my own Mother were alive to do this. I can remember standing on an upturned wooden box in our warm, scent filled kitchen when I was little, just so I could be tall enough to stand next to my Mum when she baked. She was the best cake cook. Her sponges were things of legend. She would carefully and patiently allow me to spoon cupcake mixture into their paper cases and never scold when I missed the center of the cups and mixture would slop over the sides. I'd sit on the box and watch our little creations rise in the oven and then help with the making of the icing. We'd have saucers filled with coconut and hundreds and thousands and if I were very, very lucky we would have glace cherries. We would smooth the rich creamy icing onto the tiny cakes and it was our special job to cover them with these colourful toppings but in my heart I knew that what we really were doing was sprinkling each one with love.

06 August 2009

A weighty issue ....

It's Wacky Wednesday (and no I haven't been into the Wacky Tobaccy) this is Day 5 of our blog challenge and Sharyn has set us a goal of blogging about something that we can then take directly to a scrapbook page as our journaling.

Our piano was moved from living room to front foyer on Sunday so we could have floorboards installed on Monday. So what! I hear you say; what's so exciting about that?

Well you see it was my husband and daughter and I that moved it - all 400lbs of it; some 14 feet and one step to where it currently sits just inside our front door and where it will remain until we can get a professional mover in to move it back again cause we aren't doing it - no, never, nada, not bleeding likely.

Every "moving a piano" site I could google on the internet said "If you need to move a piano hopefully you have professional help" or "if you are thinking about moving a piano yourself; think again" in fact some weren't even that polite and just stated "move a piano??? are you nuts!!" - well we probably were but it was Sunday and we had a buffalo sized piano in a room that needed to be cleared for the layers to install timber floorboard we had waited 6 months for and who were arriving at 7am the next day and our choices were limited. So we moved it.

They say necessity is the Mother of all invention and my darling husband excelled himself in the ingenuity department. But perhaps we should have followed these http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5XX9LX2es4 instructions.

05 August 2009

Not complicated at all ...

Day 4 of the August blog challenge and Tami has gone all teckno tekno "arty" on us and says we can learn to use Hdml er Heml um Html. Tells us it's not complicated at all, heck a piece of cake; anyone can do it. Of course the challenge is a double parter so we also have to blog about something crappy er I mean scrappy; so here goes.

Did you know that:-

…according to the Craft & Hobby Association, close to 1/3 of all households in the United States include at least one scrapbooker; that makes scrapbooking a more popular hobby than golf (with ¼ of all households having at least one golfer)

…printed scrapbook paper was produced in Holland and Germany as early as the 1700s

…the first book of scrapbooking ideas called The Scrapbook was published in 1825

…Queen Victoria and Thomas Jefferson each had scrapbooks

…today, thanks to the Internet, scrapbooking supplies, information, and advice is available almost instantly anywhere in the world

...and that a Google search for the word scrapbook returned over 30 million results

04 August 2009

The never ending story ...

Day 3 in my Get It Scrapped! blog challenge and this time it's all about lists - grocery lists to be exact. I shop once a fortnight and top up the other week and since listing my $400 worth of grocery items would send you all to sleep faster than a strong tranquilizer I thought I'd tell you about what is always - come rain, hail or shine - on my list.

Milk - I have long thought my son has a Cleopatra fetish; that he secretly syphons off the milk to bathe in it at night; maybe he uses it to water the pot plants, perhaps he feeds the neighbourhood cats; whatever the reason we go through litres and litres of milk each week. I buy the BIG 3 litre containers and it seems no sooner do they enter the house with my other shopping then they leave out the front door with the recycling. I have lost count of the times I have opened up the fridge door in anticipation of milk for my coffee to find but a dribble in the bottom of the container - I've also lost count of the number of times my poor husband has been rung while on public transport with pleas of "get some milk" on the way home. He's even been sent to the local service station in the dead of night to stock up so there would be milk for breakfast the next day.

Milo Flakes cereal - Every morning, every day of the week; this is my son's breakfast (which probably tells me where the actual milk goes !). He rarely varies and if he does it is usually because he has run out of these and in desperation has been forced to eat something else (oh the horror !!). This is accompanied with much whinging, whining and begging for me to buy a replacement box immediately if not sooner.

Grain Waves - If my son has an issue with milk then my daughter has an issue with these little tit bits. They disappear faster in my house than an ice cube in the microwave. Here one second - gone the next. If my husband and I want to get any at all I secretly have to buy our own packet and hide (yes hide) them in the locked liqueur cabinet to be stealthily brought out at midnight !!

After School snacks - Whatever you do - DO NOT stand anywhere near the pantry door when the kids get home from school. You will be literally mowed down where you stand as the 10 year old and the 16 year fall over each other in their haste to demolish whatever edible food products they can find inside.

Ah feeding the children - what joy !!!!!

03 August 2009

In the scheme of things - how small we are ...

Day 2 is Surreal Sunday and Tami has asked us to share a surreal or dreamlike story. Hmmm - this one takes some thinking about. Since "surreal" has a definition of being distinctly odd or bizarre, finding a story to share (that would be fit for a public blog !!) might be difficult; in fact after pondering this for some time I am hard pressed to think of ever being in a bizarre situtation of any kind - .... but wait I can think of one.

I saw the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) when I was staying north of Edmonton, Canada during the winter of 1984. At the time I was told the display before me was not classed as a particularly spectacular presentation but it totally blew me away.

The sight mesmerized me; deep three-dimensional multi colored layers of brilliant light that rapidly changed through a kaleidoscope of colours. Satiny wave upon wave of illumination across the dark horizon that danced and flickered, coiling up and then down and swirling around in ever changing patterns that shimmered across the night sky. It was one of the most oddly amazing sights I have ever seen and perhaps even stranger, was the hissing, crackling sound, that reverberated in the air around me. I was caught in a surreal moment in time – one I will never forget.

02 August 2009

The Blog Challenge starts ...

Our month long Blog challenge has started over on Get It Scrapped. I know it says Snapshot Saturday but you are going to have to excuse me as I'm a day ahead of the rest so mine will always look a little odd but hey who says you have to conform all the time. They don't say we Aussies are from the "land down under" for nothing eh??

I love what Katrina has come up with for our first day; she's such a wonderful photographer; she makes even the simplest of pictures look amazing. I'm in awe.

Something I love

Something yellow (well mostly !)

Something from above

01 August 2009

A new leaf ....

I've been slack and I need not to be so I've decided that I will start over with this blog "thing" and try to do an entry each day for August.

It's the last day of winter and it is beautiful here. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping and I can hear the rattle of coffee cups and the bubble of the kettle so I know John is up and busy in the kitchen and a lovely hot cuppa will be coming my way very shortly. He had a late night last night so I'm surprised he's surfaced already. He's decided that after some 30 odd years that he will try his hand at track cycling again and has entered into the Masters Games being held in Sydney in October. He's been busy training hard and putting his old faithful track bike back together and last night he headed down to Bankstown Velodrome for a track session. He's never ridden on a wood surface before - it must have been a thrill and I admit I let him go with mixed feelings; wanting to encourage and support him but the realist in me wondering if after all these years he truly could be competitive and that perhaps he should have started his run a lot early than this. Guess time will tell.