Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why Mums are NEVER wrong...

Rule 1: Mum knows best
Rule 2: Don't argue with her
Rule 3: Even if you think you are right...


Thursday night I ran around tidying and sorted the kids before I left for a work lecture (cancer markers in the blood and their use in predicting tumours) I served dinner and picked up the trail of abandoned bags, lunch-boxes, hats and shoes. Friday is sports day in school and this was the last week of term so no more midweek uniform for two whole weeks! Yippeee! I put the heavy black shoes in their places on the shoe rack and got out sports shoes and put them next to the front door. I found Gareth's abandoned school trousers at the bottom of the stairs. It was sports pants the next day so formal pants went in the wash basket. By the time I ran out the front door with car keys in one hand and putting shoes on with the other I thought I had done a good job.

Fast forward to the next morning. We get up, dressed, fed and out the door without any dramas. Walking across the school playground Gareth stopped and looked distraught. "Mum, I'm in the wrong uniform" I looked at him and realised he was in his midweek clothes not sports uniform. We got back in the car and zoomed home. As we drove I looked over and started to wonder how this had happened. Weren't those the shoes I had put away last night. Weren't those the trousers that had been in the wash basket. It turns out that after I had gone out Gareth had decided I was wrong. He had swapped the shoes and retrieved the dirty trousers from the wash.

Hmmm. On the drive back to school I went through Rules 1, 2 + 3. He looked like he wanted to provide a counter argument but I gave him the look and he cleverly decided now wasn't the time. After a short silence he turned to me and said. "Someday we will look back on today and laugh Mum" Another short silence and I looked at his earnest face and we both broke out in howls of laughter.

"See Mum, Someday is today!"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Eat your crusts!

Were you ever told to eat your crusts as a child? 

I was told it would make my hair go curly while my brother was told it would give him hairs on his chest. 

Gareth never eats his crusts. Sometimes his lunch box comes home with just one monster bite out of the fluffy centre of the sandwich and 70%  of the rest untouched because it is "the crust" 

I have warned him if he doesn't start eating his crusts he will never grow up to have hair on his chest like Dad

When I finished cutting his hair the other evening he called me to look at his hairy chest...
...and proved me wrong!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Parking issues?!

Hmmmm. I parked in John Hunter Hospital staff carpark today. When I
returned there was a parking ticket under my windscreen wiper...?

Luckily I was able to explain it was the car park attendants who had parked me there so no $80 fine today! Phew!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Francesca thinks I'm AWESOME!

I was delighted when my friend Francesca blogged a post about her own awesomeness and then named three people she thought were also awesome. Guess what? She put me down as one of her three! 

Well obviously I think Francesca is pretty awesome in herself and has great taste in friends *modest cough* Part of the deal in getting to blow my own trumpet is that I have to tell you the following info... So here goes!

The idea here is to push modesty aside and talk about three things that are awesome about you without fear or guilt or any sense of self promotion - just an honest account of why you rock.

And then you get to choose three other people, state why YOU think they are awesome and tag them so they know about it. Hopefully they then might want to join in as well!"

Why I am awesome:

1. I think I have an adventurous spirit. I'm not afraid to try something new. Whether it is a new recipe or packing up all my possessions and moving to the other side of the world. I try to enjoy the opportunities that life throws at me and think it will make for some great stories when I am old and wrinkly and knitting in my rocking chair with grand-kids at my feet!

2. I am creative with my hands. I have made my daughters communion dress, painted murals on my kids walls, make cards for friends birthdays, built my own guitar from scratch, enjoy amature photography, built a veggie garden and watched my plants grow . I love the challenge of learning a new skill. I don't think I could ever be bored as there are always 101 things on my bucket list waiting for a chance to be done. 

3. I am a good mum. Not a perfect Mum and not without flaws but when I look at my three great kids I know that some of their success is down to how Byron and myself are raising them and that makes me proud. What's more I absolutely LOVE being a mum. I have been so happy and content in this role and know that if this is my finest accomplishment in my life it will have been worth every hug. 

Three people I think are awesome:

1. Diana. She is so full of positive energy and adores being with her growing brood of Grand-kids. She is so proud of their individual characters and speaks so well of her own kids and sons and daughters in law. She has been happily married to her hubby for over 30 years and I love how she seems to be living a full and happy life and shares that with me. She makes me feel like the future is to be looked forward to and makes me hope that my kids will be as close to me when they spread their wings and start their own families. 

2. Corey Amaro. She left behind her family and friends in America to marry a man in France without speaking the language. Instead of finding life hard and moaning about it she grasped it with both hands and danced. She takes the most wonderful photos and reading her blog makes me feel as though I am running through the cobblestone streets of an old French village with a flowing dress and lavender perfume in my hair!

3. Catherine. She is an Australian blogger whos posts I really enjoy. She balances running her house, raising her kids and throws some baking and creativity into the mix for fun. I think she is very "real" in how she writes about her life. She doesn't try to portray herself as something out of an airbrushed magazine. Her blog posts reflect a life that is made up of all the things that are "family" and not always just the exciting things. She makes a blog post about a week spent pottering about at home sound brilliant. It makes me feel I should see the good in my everyday too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lime drizzled Coconut Banana Bread

Need a little zing to wake you up on these cold days? Here is a twist on a normal banana bread.

I was searching recipes that needed 1 cup of coconut milk that I had left over from a main meal and saw the lime drizzle idea on a different recipe and adapted it for this one.

It was originally intended for a loaf of banana bread but I made muffins and reduced the cooking time. I love sliced banana bread but muffins are great for lunch boxes.

1 ½ cups self-raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup of extra coconut for tops
1/2 fresh lime juiced
1/2 cup icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Sift flour and mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
3. In another bowl mix wet ingredients together then pour the wet ingredients into the dry
ingredients. Mix until just combined.
4. Pour into muffin trays, sprinkle with a little extra coconut and bake at 160°C for 20-25 minutes or until they turn a golden orange and spring back when prodded lightly.
5. When removed from the oven drizzle with lime juice mixed with icing sugar for a tangy zing!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh Baby it's cold outside!

We woke today to 0 Degrees Centigrade!
The grass was frosty underfoot and the windows of the cars needed a kettle of water to de-ice...

Sometimes living in Australia doesn't feel so different to Ireland after all!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sorry for the break in transmission...

It has been brought to my attention by some lovely friends that I have been a bit slack in the blog writing department! Thank you for your worry but all is good here. Sometimes life picks up the pace a little and I am learning how to balance things so I don't feel frazzled. I love my blogging but have had to turn my focus to real life over the last few weeks.

This year is the first year of High School for our middle child Rhiannon. So far it is going really well but we have quickly learnt not to assume that all our kids are carbon copies of one another. We have learnt that one way of studying may suit one child but not another. Sian has always been very independent and doesn't benefit from us hovering over her shoulder. She plans and executes her own study without much interaction from us and her grades are always really good. With Rhiannon she needs help to plan and if left to her own devices can feel overwhelmed and unable to see the wood for the trees. They have both had exams in school in the last few weeks and it has really shown how different they are in their needs and as parents we have found ourselves learning as we go. I do sometimes wish this parenting job came with a manual! Luckily the exams are over for now and the results are trickling back and are great. Each child although very different is getting results that show they worked to the best of their abilities which makes us really proud of them both.

One thing I have noticed with High School is how much of their homework is computer based. If it's not Internet based research it is needing to be handed in via a Word document or power-point presentation. When we planned this house we put a big desk in an open plan area and put a family computer on it. We thought this would be perfect for our needs and provide a safe way of watching over their Internet use. Little did we realise that we would need to juggle timeslots on it to get each nights homework done. And as for blogging time... It has slipped down the list of importance!

So my dear friends. I have many many blogs exploding in my brain and wanting to find release here so prepare yourselves for a bit of a mega catch up over the near future! And for all my fellow bloggers I have many of your posts to catch up on. Hopefully I will be back commenting on your words of wisdom soon too!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Confirmation Sponsor.

Sian was honoured to be asked to be sponsor to a lovely girl we know as she made her Confirmation this week. Usually you would need to be 16 or older to be given this responsibility but when Sian was in Yr 6 in Primary school she was "buddy" to this kindy girl for the year and they developed a strong bond. When this girl was preparing to be confirmed she was asked to choose an adult to be her sponsor. She said Sian. Being 14 Sian would not normally be allowed such a role but the Parish considered it and a week later rang me to talk it through. In the end they agreed that Sian was mature enough to be a good sponsor and role model and Sian was delighted!

Rhiannon was an Altar server that night and was very nervous because we have a new Bishop. She did really well!
I'm very proud of my two girls! xo

Friday, June 08, 2012

Indian cooking lessons

In this house we love Indian food. So much so that Mr B has declared every Thursday be Curry night! Usually our idea of "making" a curry is to chop up chicken breast and fry in and then add a jar of Pataks curry sauce and serve up with some naan breads out of the toaster and mini poppadums from the microwave. Sorted! 

As time has gone by the kids tastebuds have adjusted to spicier and spicier sauces, from a one chilli rating up to three. All this changed this week when I persuaded my friend Simi to spend the day in my kitchen teaching me how to cook a few dishes. There was chopping of onions galore and hot mustard seeds hopping out of the frying pan and all over the counters and floor! 
There was a spoonful of this and a spoonful of that. I sat on the breakfast bar scribbling recipe notes furiously as Simi's hands weaved magic across the counter. 
By the end of the day Simi had cooked a beef curry and a cabbage side dish and a cooked yoghurt sauce that was to be poured over the cooked Basmati rice at the table. It was the nicest and spiciest curry I have ever had! The kids had to eat a portion of their normal butter chicken and just tried little bits of Simi's curry but Byron and myself really enjoyed the new tastes and tingle.

We had enough left over for another serving later in the week when Gareth's friend was staying over. He tucked in to everything and didn't seem to mind the beef curry burning the lining off his mouth! For this second meal I googled how to make naan bread and managed to produce a half decent batch of cheese naans and garlic butter brushed ones too. 
Jars of sauce on a Thursday night may not cut it in this house from now on. I think the bar has just been raised and I'm not sure my scribbled recipe cards will be legible enough for me to try to cook solo...
Simi, do you want to come cook visit again this week?!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Daughter

We were shopping recently and a stand of mushy lovey-dovey cards caught our eye...
What can I say...!

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Gareth's Rugby team getting psyched up before this weekends match!

Saturday, June 02, 2012


When you don't live around the corner from your family you really have to use whatever means you can to keep in touch. Modern technology is amazing. Instead of your nephews coming around your place and trashing the house and tearing the living room apart you can simply FaceTime them and laugh as they run around their own house, use their own sofa as a trampoline and generally leave a wake of destruction behind them!

Friday, June 01, 2012


If my neighbours saw me get out of the car today, tired after a day at work, they probably think I've lost the plot. 
Instead of heading inside to put the kettle on something caught my eye... 
A spider web in the grass on the edge of our two gardens. All they will have noticed if they glanced out their window was me almost lying on the wet ground with my mobile phone outstretched trying to take a photo of....nothing? 
I stood up, brushed myself down and carried on inside to that much needed cuppa. 
No need for the men in white coats just yet sweet neighbours... 
but not quite yet...

Passionfruit muffins

Happy first day of Australian Winter!
Do you need some warmth to brighten these chilly days?
Bring a little sunshine into your kitchen with these yummy passion-fruit muffins. 
Recipe found using a Google search and modified to suit what I had in my kitchen...
2 eggs (thank you Betty and Wilma!)
½ cup sugar
1 cup yoghurt, plain or flavoured
60 g butter, melted
½ cup desiccated coconut
1½ cups self-raising flour
1 small tin of passion-fruit pulp (hold back one tbs)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 12-hole muffin pan or line with paper cases.
2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until frothy.
3. Add yoghurt and melted butter and mix well. Add the passion-fruit, coconut and flour and
mix gently.
4. Fill muffin pans with the mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

If you wish to put an icing glaze on top (I did!) Mix the tablespoon of passion fruit pulp you held back from the tin and mix it with a spoon of melted butter and then keep adding icing sugar until it becomes thick enough to drizzle over the warm muffins. 

Eat them warm!