Tuesday, March 31, 2009

School projects.

However did our parents cope? They did a great job when you think about it. They managed to get us through school without killing us of peanut anaphalaxis and they managed to help us with our homework without Google?

Sian has had no homework for two weeks now. No homework that is except a project on an Australian Landform of her choice. No problem, I thought, just Google it I thought....

Easier said than done when our PC drowned in the flood. Use Byron's laptop I thought. Until the wireless router died of exhaustion. Buy a new router Mr B said. Internet connection works, Internet connection dies. Down to the library to get BOOKS about the Great Barrier Reef. READ through them taking notes with a pen and paper? Luckily Sian is still capable of using this old fashioned technique.

Many notes later and all we needed was a map for the center of the project. Internet connection works, Internet connection dies. The old printer was still mourning the passing of the trusty old house PC and was refusing to make friends with the laptop. After much persuasion it decided to allow the laptop to print things but not scan, oh no, that was too familiar for the old fashioned printer. Internet connection works, Internet connection dies. Unable to scan any images from the books in the library, unable to download any images from Google. Resort to cutting wave shapes from colourful paper.

Had a brainwave, take photos of photos of fish in books then print from laptop! At last something colourful to brighten up all the hard work and info Sian had gleaned from the heavy reference books from the library.

And finally, glue stick in hand, Sian puts all the pieces of our, sorry her, wonderful project together. It is complete, it is a masterpiece! I know what water temperature coral needs to grow and that limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of at least 50% calcium carbonate.

Don't you just love projects. I wonder if my Mum had as much fun when I did my project on "Where milk comes from" complete with stuck on shiny silver milk bottle tops from the milk bottles the milkman used to deliver... and not a Google in sight!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Questions....

Question one: How many times will I step over this (dead) Huntsman spider in the garage before picking him up and putting him in the bin?

Question two: Why am I wasting time blogging when I am supposed to be catching up on a weeks worth of housework before work tomorrow?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Window Box.

When we saw the plans for our new house three years ago my eye was drawn to the three kids bedrooms. They were all of a similar size. One stood out. It had a small recess in the wall where the window was. Just perfect for a window seat. Just perfect for Rhiannon. She is the one that needs quiet time in her room away from the chaos of our busy house and before the first brick was layed I knew that would be her room and I would custom build a window seat with a hinged lid for toy storage in it for her.

The first year we lived here money was pulled in every direction and the materials for a seat wasn't high on the list. Then we settled into our second year here and Byron lost his job and I started working again. The time to undertake DIY projects was slipping through my fingers.

Finally, this week, the wood was bought, I had a day off work and out came the drill, the jigsaw, the screws and spirit level.

It took me all day from the time they went to school until 5 minutes before the school bus pulled up but it was made!

Then the next day off work we went out to buy foam to make a cushion. We had bought the soft flower covered fabric back when the window seat was a dream and now it is loosely tucked around the foam. It looks almost there. One more day off work with the sewing machine and the fabric will transform into a proper fitted cover for the foam but for now as far as Rhiannon is concerned she has her special place to escape us all!

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Camera.

My old camera has done me well. I cant begin to guess the number of photos it has taken over the last 2 1/2 years. The trade off for having the camera with me to photo whatever and whenever it takes my fancy means that it is thrown at my feet in the car, in the sports bag etc. Wherever I go the camera goes. The end result is photos, photos, photos but a bashed around and "old-before-its-years" camera.

It has finally had one knock too many and now the battery door wont stay closed. The choice was to part with it for FOUR WEEKS while they worked out what was wrong and how much to fix it. Then pay money fixing something that was already well worn, or biting the bullet and buying a new one.

The new Canon Power Shot was bigger, fancier and very appealing. It was also very expensive at a time where we have so many other things screaming out to be bought, fixed etc. I walked out of the camera shop empty handed feeling a mixture of disappointment and yet self control.

This only lasted long enough for me to get home and research it online where I found it being sold 20% cheaper. A whole weekend of Should I?/Shouldn't I? and I caved in.

You cant put a price on memories can you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Little Message, By Rhiannon

Hi this is Rhiannon,

I went to Sydney. Isn't that amazing!

We had to get to school at 7.20 in the morning.

It was my school excursion. The bus took two hours, can you believe that? The bus drivers name was Gordon.

I went on the HMAS Vampire which is a ship. It was a war ship. I took LOTS of photos! Look at them and see what you think!

I went on the HMS Endeavour. There was only men on the ship. There was lots of old things.

Then we went into the museum and there was lots and lots and lots and lots of stuff!

Then we got the bus home again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We went to see Coldplay in Sydney last weekend. I was dosed up on Neurofen and sore throat spray. I did ring Chris Martin and ask him could he delay the concert for a week so I would have more enthusiasm and a better singing voice but unfortunately I was put on hold and never managed to get through.....

So babysitter in the house, 3 kids on the sofa, popcorn in bowls and Wall.e film in the DVD player, we jumped into the car to do the two hour drive to Acer arena in Sydney. We parked in the multi story car park attached to the venue and a short lift ride down 7 levels and we got to our seats just as the support act launched into their set.

Our seats were great! Bang center and not far from the front of the seating area. I felt no envy for those people pushing and squishing to the front of the standing zone. I clutched my difflam throat spray and admitted I was getting old and waited for Coldplay to start.

And what a start! From the minute they arrived on stage they ran around bounding with energy and enthusiasm. Interacting with the crowd and laughing amongst themselves while playing hit after hit after hit. It was just brilliant. Nothing I could write here would even begin to explain it.

The song "Yellow" was accompanied by huge yellow balls floating down from the ceiling, they were propelled along the crowd by hundreds of outstretched arms until they popped exploding yellow confetti into the air.

I've loved Coldplay for years and associate so many of their songs with happy times. All of them with Byron. Coldplay first got together in late 1996, the year we were married so the concert was a walk down memory lane of all the fun times we have shared together.

One of my favourite songs that always brings a lump to my throat is "Fix you"

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep Stuck in reverse.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

We got home about 1.30am to a tired but very patient babysitter. $100 later she was a still a tired but happier one!

It was a brilliant night.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cover Girl

I'm a cover girl!

How glamorous!

Well it might not be Vogue but I am proud to say that I appear on the cover of the latest issue of The Nursing Post.

3 months ago I was pushing beds in and out of theatre as a wardsman. Today I have been recognised as a fine example of the Australian Nursing workforce!

My boss Jane (top right in the magazine photo) submitted this photo last month but I don't think any of us expected to make it onto the front cover.

Here are Debbie + myself enjoying our 15 minutes of fame!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Work on St Patricks day

In Ireland St Patrick's day is a public holiday. No School, no work, bliss!

Living outside of Ireland you miss out on this benefit. With all the political correctness in this day and age where all religions are recognised and employers have to be very careful not to discriminate against anyone I put a lot of thought into demanding an extra days leave from my job at Toronto Private.

I didn't get very far but was told I could wear my Irish rugby top to work instead. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work at 7am to find EVERYONE wearing green!
Platters of green food were layed out with green snakes, green M+M's, celery sticks and pesto dip and even an amazing platter of cupcakes with rainbows and gold coins that were made by one of the Speech Therapists!

It was a fun day with lots of "Top o' the mornin' to ya" and the best nibbles at morning tea time.

Not quite a day off but not a bad days work either!

Paddy's lunch.

What do you bring to school with you on St Patricks Day?

Green hats, Irish flag badges, a big plate of Shamrock cookies to share with your classmates!

......and an Irish themed lunch!

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to make Shamrock cookies.

You will need:

680 grams plain flour (24 Oz)
350 grams of soft brown sugar (12 Oz)
230 grams of butter (8 Oz)
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
2 beaten eggs
8 tablespoons of golden syrup (1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda


Shamrock cookie cutters
An Irish sister called Carrie
A CD of Diddly Didely Irish music
A Guinness clock set to Irish time
An Irish tea towel
An over sized Guinness hat you got by drinking copious amounts of Guinness in Harrigans Irish Pub last weekend.

Firstly say a prayer to St Patrick thanking him for the fact that you have an Irish Sister called Carrie who gave you the cookie cutters in the first place. Then put on Irish CD given to you by a great friend who loves The Boomtown rats. Set oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F)

Put butter, sugar and syrup in saucepan and stir over a low heat for U2, Sinead O'Connor and half a Clannad track. Sift flour, bicarb of soda and spices to HotHouse Flowers daydreaming of the day you went swimming in the Irish sea with Liam Ó Maonlaí. Add the syrup mixture and beaten egg and stir furiously to The Pogues and Kristy Mac Coll. Have a giggle about the day a very drunk Shane Mc Gowen came into A+E of St Vincents Hospital in Dublin with a Colles fracture and told the anaesthetist to F*** off and discharged himself when he was asked if he had any loose teeth caps or crowns. Knead mixture well and then put in the fridge to cool down.

Put kettle on for a cup of tea.

Check Guinness clock to see what time it is in Ireland. Consider ringing Carrie to tell her she's a great sister but then decide 2.22am is not the best time for sister to sister bonding session.

Drink tea to the mournful wails of The Cranberries and think back to the Shane Mc Gowen story and how everyone had bets on as to how long before he would walk back in to A+E begging for his arm to be fixed. 1 hour 45 minutes and six more pints of Guinness if I remember correctly!

Roll out mixture to 1/2cm thick to the rhythm of The Boomtown Rats and use shamrock cutters to make 200 cookies.
Place on baking trays and using Irish tea towel, place carefully in the hot oven and cook for Thin Lizzy, The Dubliners and a Van Morrison track (10-15mins)
Allow to cool on wire racks then sprinkle with icing sugar and eat warm with a glass of cold milk as the final track plays on the Irish CD and your belly is filled with a warm fuzzy sentimental glow!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We went to lunch at Harrigans this weekend for Beef and Guinness pie. If friends can be counted in quantity rather than quality then we are lucky because there were over 40 of us! Luckily they are a quality bunch too! Lots of Guinness was drunk and many a glass was raised to absent friends and family. Free Guinness hats were earned by ordering pints of the black stuff and by the end of the afternoon most of the men were wearing one!

I had the mother of all sore throats and was dosed up on Neurofen, Strepsils, Difflam throat spray and multi-vitamins. We had double booked ourselves with our St Patricks Day celebrations at lunchtime and a two hour drive to Sydney late afternoon for the Coldplay concert that night. Photos of Coldplay will come in a future blog. Due to intense pressure from Mr B I was forced away from behind the camera to the front of it for a photo to prove I still exist!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Sian!

Happy Birthday Sian!

11years beautiful today!

It was an early start so that she could open presents before heading off to school. The usual fun and excitement of three kids squishing into our bed at 6.30am and the loud squeals out of Sian as cards and parcels were torn open and contents passed around to be admired by everyone! Then up, dressed and breakfast before climbing into the car with two dozen chocolate cupcakes to share out with her classmates. Thank you to everyone for your beautiful gifts, Sian will be sending you some Thank you emails herself over the next few days.

Here is a small video clip of her in school this morning...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sians Birthday party

Sian had a V.I.P disco party this weekend. Gareth and Byron were the bouncers and took their role as Security very seriously! No V.I.P. lanyard, no admission!

Ten friends arrived and danced the evening away with streamers, poppers and glow necklases. There was pizza, chips, popcorn, fruit punch, strawberries dipped in chocolate. Everything a girl could want! She had a wonderful evening and so did her friends judging by the noise levels!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Postcard from Cathy

Oh Cathy, you know me so well. What a great postcard you sent! It makes me want to curl up and sleep right now.

In fact having come in from a morning shift in the hospital, via school to pick up three tired crabby kids, into a house that could do with more than a little spit and polish, your postcard brought a smile to my face.

I marched upstairs peeling off my crumpled uniform and got into soft pink pj's.

Only problem now is that 4pm is just a little bit too early to go to bed and start dreaming!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Jelly Beans and Martini glasses!

I am not working today and am in full preparation mode for Sian's Birthday party on Saturday.

We were at a 21st birthday party this weekend and Sian thought it was the coolest party EVER! She helped to make the punch which involved a bottle of bubbly. All the other ingredients were so sweet and delicious so we are going to make a non-alcoholic version of it using lemonade.

Hopefully it will be a party that involves lots of dancing around to music more than kiddy party games. We will be dialling out for Pizza and having bowls of snacks and pop corn to nibble on. Thanks to Tania and her cup-cake email during the week we have decided to make chocolate mega muffins in silver cup cases, drizzled with dark cocoa sauce and decorated with bright pink sprinkles and use them to spell out V.I.P. which is the theme for the party.

Do you still give party bags to tweenies? They are a bit grown up for party blowers, pencil toppers and packs of cards. We decided to go with the V.I.P. party theme and today I got some plastic Martini glasses, filled them with jelly beans and covered them with gladwrap and tied them with curling ribbon.

They look great. All I need to do now is to avoid the temptation of picking at them before Saturday!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

6 Feckin Euro

Hi, I'm 6 Feckin Euro. I came from a distant Celtic land. I was wrapped carefully in bubble wrap by Granny in Dublin and then some green tissue paper and then sent on a terrifying journey in a plane, postman's van and finally postman's motorbike until I was freed by my new owner Mr B.

I arrived in my new home on a day of excitement and celebrations. My new owners were waving flags and pinning daffodils to their red tops. I think it must have been in celebration of my arrival.

I decided to take my new owners on a journey to Hunter Valley Gardens for a day of chilling out.

First stop was to refuel these humans big blue box that they travel in. Clearly they are a lesser developed species than us dragons or they would just fly.

We passed a sign that hadn't taken travelling Dragons into consideration when they decided it was "Moderate" Fire danger, I'll show 'em!

When we arrived at our destination the first stop was for some caffeine and chocolate. I sat back and soaked up some rays while they refuelled.

Next we went to a candle shop where I showed off my fire breathing skills.

Off to another gift shop where I met some friendly locals.

The local birds were pretty hot!

Finally, I bumped into some relatives and blended right in.

This fella was called 30 Feckin Euro, I wasn't too impressed, feckin' showoff.

I was a bit worried when I saw this cooking sauce, maybe my new owners had plans for me? Gulp?

Luckily they needed refuelling again so we went on a drive to Harrigans Irish Pub.

A big swig of the Black Stuff,

A great Beef and Guinness pie

Green jelly and ice-cream to finish off

A swig of Uisce Beatha

Felt a little rough

A coffee to steady the head

and finally time to hit the road home driving along a very appropriately named road...

Yeah, I think I fit in here just fine!