Friday, 31 July 2009

Andrew Party

It was Andrew's birthday yesterday. Jack had been looking forward to it for ages. Whenever we mentioned Uncle Andrew, Jack would say 'Andrew party! Andrew party!'. We browsed through the Women's Weekly birthday cake book and narrowed down the possibilities. Jack chose, through no prompting by myself, the jacuzzi cake complete with blue jelly water and 2 nude dolls. Very tempting. We ended up choosing a chocolate pinata cake but in the end left off the chocolate pinata dome when I ran out of time (and energy).We had a test run on Tuesday night and Jack and Andrew did well blowing out the candles.
Andrew and Noel turned up yesterday and Jack presented Andrew with his pressies. Earlier he had made the card and paper himself and kept asking when Andrew would be coming over. Andrew seemed thrilled with his pressies and then we had dinner (slow roasted lamb with char grilled pumpkin and zucchini and potatoes cooked in duck fat - call the artery police). Then it was time for the cake. As you can see Jack had already tested it to make sure it was okay. He's getting the hang of this candle blowing thing, but Andrew held his fringe out of the way just in case.


Over the holidays Jack and I frequented lots of parks (or more accurately several parks many times over). On the last day of the holidays we went to the family day care park in Wagga (after a quick tour of the zoo so we could give the donkeys some apples). The Professor and Jack played while I fulfilled my role as official photographer and caterer. This park is always quiet (so please don't tell anyone about it) it has a big fence around it and all the playground equipment is quite low to the ground so helicopter parents like myself can take a load off and relax. That's why it is my favourite park. Luckily Jack thinks it's okay too.
Our other favourite park is in Coolamon. Nothing special about it really, except that it is just around the corner from the library and Ajanta cafe which serves the most delicious cakes, hot chocolates and milkshakes. Some Saturdays we start at the library, follow it with cake then work it off at the park. Jack apparently had fond memories of the cafe because when we pulled up outside (and we hadn't been there for months) he yelled,

The other day at the park my fear of being a helicopter parent was confirmed, as Jack scaled ladders and clambered over chains he said to himself, "Careful Jack." Then he turned to a kid on the slide and told them to be careful too. And here's our morning tea.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


You may have noticed that I have been a tad distracted lately and whilst some of that can be blamed on underwear parties, baby showers and book group and the generally exciting life that we lead, it has also been due to me writing another blog as a kind of audition for doing a blog reviewing kid's books for Webchild. Yes, I have been unfaithful to you my dear bleaders. The adress for my demo blog is but that will probably stop as all my reviews got to the webchild site.
And so my first review has appeared (huzzah!) and here is the address for anyone interested. Just a warning, it is terribly high brow....

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

pretty mummy

I really have to try and be more organised. Lately I grab everything and head towards the door running late for wherever we are going. I realised that this was the norm when as I threw things in a bag Jack said, " Quick, quick, time to go, back door now!" Hmm.
Usually I slap my lippy on in the car as we are about to drive off (don't tell makeover Martin). That's when Jack said, "pretty mummy," and I was pleased because as I said it's much better than grumpy mummy.
Then last week as I frantically go ready for the gym Jack put lip gloss on his lips (and did quite a good job). And he did this with an ink pad. I'm not entirely sure if he applied his lips to the ink pad or used his fingers but he looked like the joker. The pic is yet again blurry, but you get the idea.


Jack seems to go through phases with animals. I suppose all kids do. At the moment it's rabbits and crocodiles, or in Jackspeak wabbits and crocos. Hopefully not in the same cage. We have a rabbit that mum got Jack for Easter that he has taken a shine too and decided to feed. After we had so much success with persuading him to eat apples because that's what horses eat, I'm trying the same thing with carrots and rabbits. We'll see how that goes.

For the last day of term (because even if your kids aren't at school you still seem to get caught up in that system) our playgroup went to a cafe in Gumly called At the farm. It has a huge sandpit and lots of outdoor space for kids to run around. Let's not talk about the food and how long it took because 40 minutes wait for a warm (defrosted) lamingon and a smoothie that tasted like banana paddlepops is too depressing. And all Jack really wanted to do was look at the rabbits in a hutch and watch me feed them grass and check on their welfare every ten minutes or so. Probably for the best as the sandpit can best be described as a warzone.

Monday, 20 July 2009


I admit it. I was a devotee of Masterchef from the beginning. I became addicted to watching it, attached to the contestants (though not all) and understand the strange 'thing' that women viewers seem to have about the cravat wearing, guitarface pulling, witty, heart of marshmallow Matt 'Man Mountain' Preston.
Marieke Hardy was the first to proudly express her crush in print (but then she had that strange crush on Bob Ellis). Then Miranda Devine jumped on the bandwagon and now everywhere you look women are expressing their admiration for Matt or as the blogger Not Quite Nigella calls him, Everyone's favourite Sexy Beast. Then I came across this cartoon on the crikey website. Here's a link if you can't read it.

And of course well done Julie.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Happy (belated) Bastille!

Last year we just missed out on Bastille Day in France (we were in Dublin eating potatoes). This year we were even further away but we still had our own mini celebration (well, we ate french food). Ever since I saw the cover of July's french themed Gourmet Traveller I'd had a hankering to make some macaroons, those beautiful french ones not the lumpy coconut ones (though I like those too). And so I attempted them on Tuesday so they could be part of our french feast. Surprisingly I made chocolate ones, not the gorgeous raspberry ones on the cover and for the first attempt (and a messy attempt indeed) they turned out okay (better than Sam's on Masterchef anyway...)
I'll be attempting the Raspberry ones next, as soon as I get all the sticky egg whites off all my kitchen surfaces (and Jack and me). Sorry about the pic quality, my stylist and photographer were spending the day wit Donna H but look at all that chocolatey goodness.

Monday, 13 July 2009

in the swim

Jack and S have been going to swimming lessons. Winter would seem like a strange time to do this, but the pool is heated (mostly) and indoors. Certainly not like the pool S swam in when he was young, where you had to break the ice on the surface before you could dive in.
Jack seems to have really enjoyed the lessons (there are lots of floating toys to play with) and asks when he's going to the pool. It helps that his friend Bailey also goes and that Diane bought him racy new swimmers (red with stars) that he loves to put on and then admire himself in the mirror.
Taking photos has proved challenging. Some nights my lens fogs up and others the majority of pics turn out blurry. I'll upload some clips soon.

New words

Jack's vocab has been increasing exponentially this year and we're often stunned by some words or a new expression that tumbles out. Recently (and not surprisingly) when asked if he wanted some baked custard he replied, "how bout some chocolate?"
It's funny though because certain words like chocolate or pocket come out as choclit or pockit like he's got an east London accent like Jimmy from the streets.
And on saturday night when I reached for a potato chip he said to me (and quite sternly), "Only one!" He also called me grumpy mummy (I much prefer it when he calls me pretty mummy) and who can blame me if I'm only allowed to eat one chip!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Ganmain family fun day

A couple of weeks ago we took the road near our place and drove to Ganmain via Coolamon and Marrar. If we kept going we would've ended up in Grong Grong and Mattong, but I digress. The reason why we were in Ganmain was that Jack and I were going to a family fun day to raise money for Red Nose Day. We scored a park at the front door (once I located the hall - scenic tour of Ganmain anyone?) and had a look around. There were lots of stalls doing face painting, craft, cupcakes and clothes and then outside they had a corral surrounded by hay bales and filled with mini tractors (Jack immediately clambered aboard the pink one). They also had a big mobile soft play centre with ball pit and slide. Because we were there so early Jack had an extra long play (45 minutes as opposed to the usual 10). Once he was introduced to the delights of the slide (with the help of the operator) he was loving it.
I finally convinced him to let someone else have a turn and we went back inside where he got his face painted and a quick spray of glitter in his hair (he was loving his reflection) and also managed to locate a stall selling health food. No, I lie it was selling cupcakes. After devouring his cake he want back into the ball pit and soon after I noticed his socks were missing (kids have to remove their shoes before playing and once his shoes come off the socks soon follow). When that playtime was over the owner searched the ball pit and slide for the socks but none were found. He did find a sparkly pink headband that a ganmain princess must be missing. After another go on the tractors and a musical debut on the stage it was time to get a sausage sandwich (all for the sake of charity you understand) and head home for a nap. I checked with the people to see if the socks had turned up. Not sure why I couldn't just write them off. The owner said if they found them they could post them too me. Well, I think that's what she said as Jack was pulling on my arm and yelling about something. I let go of his hand and he shot around the back of the playmobile and returned with a big smile on his face, brandishing the socks. Relieved I decided it was time we took our leave.
I forgot to take my camera, so I only have this pic from much later in the day when Jack's face was wearing off.

sunday arvo fun

Yesterday we decided to have an outing because the rain had finally stopped (yes, I know there's a drought and the rain is good but we do get the old cabin fever). We travelled into the botanic gardens so we could ride on the trains and visit the zoo. After a longer trip than usual on the train we moved onto the playground where Jack worked on his slide technique and then we went to see the animals. Normally you can buy pellets to feed the animals, but Jack wanted to take some apples and they were a big hit with the donkeys and goats. Jack supervised from a distance. After I had washed away the donkey slobber we had some afternoon tea and Jack played on the boat again then sailed on home.

an edible zoo

I also bought some more biscuit cutters which have already gone for their maiden voyage (and a very successful and tasty one it was too). To add to the dinosaurs I purchased a duck, a bear and a rabbit and a rhino (our favourite and not just because you get more biscuit).

excess baggage

When I caught the plane back from Sydney I was worried I'd be done for excess baggage. Not only was I carrying all the accoutrements for my new beauty regime, I also had two loaves of very good bread, a slice of the best cheesecake in the world, a lindt chocolate brownie (for S), fabric, wool, books, my new yoga clothes and some presents for Jack, including one extra specially special present.
Jack has a friend who has lots of toys, a mind blowing number really and Jack and S and I have been amazed by them when we've gone there for a visit. The toy that Jack always coveted was an electric guitar. S and I had ummed and ahhed about getting one for Jack (who already has a fairly substantial amount of stuff himself). When I was in Sydney I weakened and purchased one (red like Murray's) and then Jack heard about it on Skype. Apparently the whole way to the airport to pick me up he was saying, "Mummy...guitar?" over and over.
And so when we got home he got the guitar and S got the brownie (and half the cheesecake) and it was a big hit. He's usually pretty good at sharing but draws the line at the guitar (though we're working on that). And he's still working on his microphone technique (It came with glasses and a plug in mike). Mostly he just likes to wear it when Murray does, then takes it off for his big dance numbers.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


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I have not solved my technical difficulties (I think I'll always have them) but I am working around them. There are many more recent events and photos to post and I'm sure I'll catch up soon. In the meantime here is a photo of Jack. We've had quite a bit of rain lately, so much that I've lost count of how many millimetres we've had. Jack's been indulging in his favourite pastime but even with his new and improved taller gumboots this is causing problems. The puddles are always full, much to Jack's delight but his gumboots are very soggy indeed.

Quilt Fair Part II

Then with our reserves replenished we returned to the fair and saw the rest of the exhibits. We checked out some stalls I had really been looking forward to seeing, Material Obsession (now the proud authors of two books on non-nana style quilts) and Amitie who are a shop based in Victoria and Jack and a quilt I made were on their blog a long time ago.
I bought some fabric for the Professor and we saw the prize winning quilt (no photo as it was usually surrounded by a cluster of quilters examining the stitches). And we saw the quilt that won last year which was based on Margaret Preston's wildflower prints and was astounding.


We also voted for the people's choice and I voted for this one by a 10 year old girl because I thought it was very cute.
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Quilt Fair I

And finally, the reason for my trip to Sydney (besides the princess time) was to go to the quilt fair at Darling Harbour. In previous years I hadn't been able to go (hmmm...what was I doing this time last year?)so I was looking forward to finally seeing it. We arrived quite early so we could book into the workshop on making owls from japanese fabric but they were sold out. There were whispers that they had presold tickets which is very naughty. I even tried the old 'but I've come all the way from Junee' trick but it got me nowhere. Well actually I bought the pattern so I can do it myself. They don't look that hard.
Then Mum ran into a woman that she knew who seemed quite croaky and chesty and we all tried to subtly take a step backwards (oink).

From her stall we could see the Hamlin Fistula Stall, where things weren't available for sale, but donations of Knickers and knitted wool squares were gratefully accepted. Mum and I dropped our knickers and I took a photo of the previous donations.

For anyone who doesn't know what a fistula is, who wants to learn more or make a donation here is the address
or you could read Dr Catherine Hamlin's book, Hospital by the River.
After that we had a look at the quilts. It is amazing what some people use to make quilts (old heavy metal t shirts or westpac uniforms)and the designs they come up with. There are serious hours involved and some of the quilts were very impressive.
A volunteer showed us around for a little while, which was interesting and then we had a break and looked at the stalls for awhile. My father, who never misses a quilt fair, happily read the paper while he sipped his tea. We found some lovely fabric, met some nice people from Bright in Victoria (one of my favourite places) and promised to go to visit them one time and drink green tea.
Then it was time for lunch, so we followed tradition and with Garn in mind went to Jordons for a nice fish meal,

which it was (great chips, shame about the strange woman hurling in the toilets) and finished with dessert.

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