Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gabbie's Gourmet Taste Bud Tingler

We have discovered the BEST addition to our kitchen table ever. Gabbie's Chilli Jam! No matter what I serve up it tastes 100% better with some of this taste bud tingler spread on it!

Unfortunately we reached the bottom of the jar today while making chicken wraps for lunch. Looks like we will be sending Gabbie an email with a new order first thing in the morning....

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rain and Rugby.

Rain and Rugby don't mix. They make for soggy pitches and cold miserable spectators.

Late nights and early starts don't mix well either. Glasses of (Rhiannon!) bubbles that taste so good in the wee small hours in the company of friends make for muggy heads and bodies that don't want to crawl out of bed at 7.30am to get three kids up and dressed and off to Rugby matches.

When I looked out the window this morning at the rain pitter pattering on the patio below I confidently assumed that Rugby was cancelled. A phone call to Gareth's Rugby coach took the smile off my face, it was still kick off at 9am.

The following 30 minutes were spent running around, finding socks, filling water bottles, cutting oranges into easy-to-eat-at-half-time wedges, dressing, brushing teeth, shouting at kids gently reminding the kids to hurry up and get in the car. This is the part of the blog where you are expecting to see photos of a muddy rugby pitch, drizzling rain, muddy boys and triumphant faces as trys are scored. Sorry, we got a text half way to the Rugby grounds apologizing for the late notice but announcing that the match was indeed cancelled. We pulled in to the side of the road, looked at each other and then rang Joe (who was also planning to meet us there) to tell him to stop rushing. We were disappointed not to be seeing Joe, Rhonda and Cian so we suggested that they come to our house instead. We did a u-turn and returned home and put the kettle on.

Always trying to find the silver lining we praised ourselves for being up and dressed so bright and early ready to make the most of the day ahead (while secretly thinking this was a load of positive rubbish and we would much rather be still cuddled up in bed!) Still trying to be upbeat and not grumpy I decided the best way to cheer us up was by eating. I'm not ready to analyse why I turn to food as comfort, I don't need to think about the messages I am programming my kids with. For now we all fit through the door of the house and God knows freshly baked muffins on a rainy day makes me feel happy! Besides, I couldn't waste the chopped up un-eaten oranges could I!

Joe, Rhonda and Cian poured through the door. Out came the food processor, flour, eggs, butter, poppyseeds and with a little bit of 2 year old Cian help...

Voila! Freshly brewed coffee, cups of tea (de-caf for the pregnant amongst us!)

...and a plate overflowing with "Golden orange poppyseed muffins"


Friday, May 29, 2009


Rhiannon is a Welsh name. In ancient Welsh folklore Rhiannon was a horse goddess.

It is an unusual name and outside of Wales your rarely hear anyone called it. It is also one one those names that you never see on those stands with personalised name keyrings, bookmarks, pens etc.

Imagine Rhiannons surprise when we were at a friends house and a special bottle of Champagne was popped, it was Petersons "Rhiannon" !

We all toasted our lovely Rhiannon who passes more than a small resemblance to a glass of champagne. Dizzy, bubbly, fun and makes your head spin if you have too much!

Rhiannon asked could she bring the empty bottle home with her.

God help us when she grows up!

"Sew late" sewing!

Rhiannon has had a bit of a growth spurt. Her school tracksuit pants that she wore last winter are half way up her shins. During the summer she wore the school shorts but now it is CHILLY and she desperately needed warmer bottoms. We searched all the local (and not so local) shops looking for a new pair her size with no luck. All we could find was age 4 or 10.

Eventually we settled on a size 10 with a drawstring waist and legs that were ridiculously long. Nothing a sewing machine couldn't put right I thought....

Note to self: Don't leave clothing adjustments to the actual morning they are needed!

At 8am this morning, in my pj's, hair sticking up wildly and 20minutes before we needed to be driving to school, out came the sewing machine...

Rhiannon was good as gold. She stood on the table while I pinned, cut and sewed furiously. Job done, I threw the new shorter legs at her and raced upstairs to get dressed as she proudly put on her perfectly adjusted pants. I wish I could describe my state of mind the same way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breakfast with Granny and Grandad Joe

Granny and Grandad Joe live in Ireland. Every few weeks we find brown paper parcels in our letter box with colourful stamps with birds on them and a big green customs label. The kids don't even hesitate to read who the envelope is addressed to. They already know it is "CHOCOLATE BUTTONS FROM IRELAND!"

This week our delivery took a different route...?! They were hand delivered by Uncle Joe and Auntie Rhonda! In the excitement I didn't get to question who, what, when, where, why... I assume they were in a parcel Joe and Rhonda had received from Ireland. It was just before tea was served so I hid the envelopes away behind the toaster thinking I would get them out when dinner was over. I forgot, ooops!

As I cleaned the kitchen late last night I saw the envelopes again. I set the breakfast table and sat each kids envelope in their cereal bowl.

I was gone to work this morning before the sleepy heads had woken up so I didn't get to see their reactions to having breakfast with Granny and Grandad Joe but I hear it was a very noisy and exciting affair!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday night get togethers.

When my brother Joe went off to India last month, Rhonda and Cian moved up to Anne and Kel's house for company while he was away. We decided to make the most of seeing Cian by making Wednesday nights a regular "Get together" for tea at our house. There is nothing better than seeing our kitchen table piled high with food, cluttered with plates and a person in every chair, even extra chairs pulled up on the corners for us all to fit. It is noisy, squishy and fun!

This Wednesday we were in for an extra treat.... We needed yet another chair squeezed in because Uncle Joe was coming home for the week and was joining us. Convinced Joe would be fed up of spicy food I decided to go with an Irish themed dinner: Guinness and Beef pie with garlic and bacon mashed potato. It is a slow meal to prepare and cook so I made it on Monday, my day off work. I followed a recipe in a great book I got for Christmas from Mum and Dad.

I did have one dilemma, the recipe called for 150mls of Guinness but the can was 440mls....? It would have been a real shame to waste it so I poured some extra over the beef and then poured the rest in a small glass and raised a toast to all friends and family in Ireland


All I had to do today when I got in the door from work was put the pastry lid on top and let Rhiannon decorate it with Shamrock shaped pieces of pastry using Auntie Carries cookie cutters. While we were waiting for it to crisp up in the oven we made some raspberry and white chocolate muffins with Cian helping to measure and mix!

He was so excited when they came out of the oven but he had to wait until after dinner to tuck in.

It was a really great evening. The dishwasher was packed tight with plates and glasses and there was still a mountain of stuff to be washed that just couldn't be squeezed in. If a family meal can be judged on the height of the pots and pans balancing on the draining board afterwards then tonight was a massive success!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rugby Training.

It can be a real rush trying to get home from work, get the kids to do their homework, prepare dinner and still get them to their after school sports.

Some days I feel a bit like a taxi, tutor, housekeeper and nanny rolled into one.

Some days I am getting from A to B to quickly I don't stop to smell the roses but tonight arriving at Gareths Rugby training I stopped and looked at the sky...


Monday, May 25, 2009

Nobby's Head

The last 7 days it has rained. The weather man had warned us and he was right.
The next 7 days will rain, the weather man says so it must be true.
It will be showery on Sunday the weather man told us... and we woke to blue sky!

We jumped up and decided that we better get out and make the most of it before the weather man said "I told you so"

Where to go? I looked at Byron and he looked at me. "Nobby's" said Byron "Perfect" said I !

Three kids, three drink bottles, three scooters, 5 bananas, 5 carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting on top!

We walked, scooted, ran, climbed, drew in the sand, photographed, watched the surfers, avoided the heavy sea spray breaking on the rocks.

We bought ice-creams, fish and chips, a squeeze of lemon, tartar sauce, ginger beer.

...and then the skies turned and twisted, greyed over, drizzled the finest mist of raindrops, enough warning to scrunch up the fish and chips wrappers and throw them in the bin, run for the car, jump in as the mist became big fat drops of rain.

We drove home along the winding coast road, overlooking the seas, waves crashing and foaming, feeling smug and self satisfied as we licked the salt and lemon juice off our fingers.

We beat the weather man! And we finished with a rainbow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

*UPDATED* I'm so excited!

Guess where we are going tonight!


The envelope above contained tickets to go see the "Three Little Pigs" in the Young Peoples Theatre last night.

Our friend Sophie was playing in it so we wanted to see her perform. We had 5 tickets for Sian, Rhiannon and myself, Angelina and her daughter Neve. Poor Neve woke up yesterday feeling sick and wasn't able to go.

It was a great show. very professional and with quite modern twists.
I particularly liked the joke about swine flu when the wolf had a sneezing fit and pulled a face mask out of his pocket!

There was no photography allowed during the performance so I had to call upon huge amounts of will power not to try sneaking a few flash-free shots from under my jacket! At the end of the show the cast came out on the stage and we were allowed to talk to them and take as many photos as we wanted.

Sophie was wonderful. Sian and Rhiannon were in awe of her dancing about on stage. Neve, we missed you. We hope you are feeling a little better this morning...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trash or Treasure...?

Our Church held their big Garage sale fundraiser today. It has been raining almost all week so when we looked out the window and saw small patches of blue we jumped in the car, pockets full of loose coins ready to go discover what bargains lay in store...

There were toys, jewelery, bric a brac, sweets, homemade cakes, tea and coffee.

Each kid bought something with their pocket money. What came home with us was almost less important than the fun they had exploring the contents of the tables and bargaining with the ladies behind them!

Gareth ended up with a jar of lollies and the game "Battleships" A game that Byron had been reminiscing about last week!

Sian bought a surprise for her friend Amy who is having her birthday party very soon.

Don't worry Amy, this is just a little extra, you will still get a proper present too!

Rhiannon came away with a bag of jewellery for the bargain price of $2!

My bargain of the day had to be the car charger with a connector at the end that fits nothing electrical that I own. It was 20 cents and I am thrilled to bits with it. Why? Because the tip of the charger screws off and perfectly fitted my normal car phone charger that had lost its own connector only yesterday!

Trash or treasure? You decide!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Humour: Nature or Nurture?

Do we pass on humour in our DNA? Or does humour develop when we are brought up by similarly-thinking parents?

Would Byron ever need to doubt the paternity of his kids, specifically Rhiannon?

Don't waste your money on an internet paternity cheek swab Mr B...

Just have a look at the photographic evidence....

Jazzy afternoon.

Last weekend we decided to go chill to the sounds of a local Jazz band playing in Pippies, a bar/restaurant overlooking the lake. We were all suffering from different stages of our Swine Flu outbreak head colds.

The weather was sunny but chilly and the band were on the outside deck.

We huddled up with hot chocolates and coffees and shivered listened to the band play a mixture of jazzy tunes.

It was fun seeing someone playing Saxapohone other than the talented Mr B in our living room. I think he enjoyed it too. Eventually as our fingers turned blue we admitted defeat and decided to call it a day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Carrot Cake, by Sian.

1 Cup of Olive Oil
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
3 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Cup of Walnuts
2 Cups of Grated Carrots

My Mum says that this Carrot Cake is so easy to make a kid could do it. So today I decided to have a go. Mum got to tell me what to do but I had to do it!

I got all the wet ingredients like the egg, brown sugar and olive oil and blended them up in the food proccesor.

Next I put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the cinnamon into the sieve and sieved them. Then I mixed everything all up with a cup of walnuts and the grated carrot.

I put the mixture in the tin and put it in the oven at 180 degrees and cooked them for about 12 minutes.

I made icing by mixing Philadelphia cream cheese with icing sugar and a little bit of lemon juice and spread it on the cakes as soon as they had got a little bit cooler. The next thing I did was eat one to see if they were poisonous!

There was one last thing to do though. You will need a grown up to do this bit for you.....

Tidying up the kitchen!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Images from India

My brother Joe is working in India for a couple of months.

He has a new camera and if I am truly honest I have a mild case of lens envy. Not just lens envy because his new camera out gadgets my new one hands down but also because his latest photos he has emailed are, well, ...



Ok, bloody brilliant!

So just a little message to you Joe, Ease off the talent a little can you. We all know you got a bit more of the Sheeran brains than I did, now can you just stop showing off the fact that you got a big slice of the artistic talent too....?!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hot Chocolate

It was cold and rainy today. I collected the kids from school and when we got home I sent them running upstairs to get out of their damp uniforms and get into their pj's.

By the time they came back downstairs they looked much cozier and we made three cups of hot chocolate, whipped cream on top, marshmallows and sprinkles!

What better way to forget it's raining outside than to get cozy inside!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Postcards from the edge...

Thank You Cathy!
Your postcard couldn't have been more bang on in its humour or have arrived at a more appropriate time...!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Questions about Chicken Soup....

Can someone please help me? I'm a bit confused. It's this stupid head cold. I thought it might have been swine flu for a while but Byron reassures me I'm overreacting. It's just that his head cold only lasted 24hours. He moped and sniffled though one day, went to bed and woke up 100% perfect the next morning.

I on the other hand must have succumbed to a mutated version of his bug because since Thursday evening my nose has run like a tap, my eyes are red as a vampire and I have worked my way through three boxes of tissues, two toilet rolls and a super jumbo roll of extra absorbent kitchen paper.

I have also been responsible for maintaining the Australian pharmaceutical industry in this trying economic climate. I have worked my way methodically through 4hourly does of Paracetamol, 6 hourly Ibuprofen, squirted numerous doses of Drixine up my sore nasal passages and rubbed a whole pot of Vicks vaporub on.

Just to support the alternative medication industry I have ingested teaspoons of foul tasting Olive Leaf Extract, multivitamins and Evening Primrose capsules. Not sure if Evening Primrose has any cold fighting properties but God help Byron if I were to get pre-menstrual on top of this already frayed mood.

Tonight I even made a litre of chicken soup with 6 cloves of crushed garlic floating around in it. I look awful, I reek of Garlic and I sound like a fog horn.

I cant see any time scales on the tin of soup?

Does anyone know when I should be feeling back to myself again?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kayla's 7th Birthday Party.

Gareth was invited to a great party this weekend. His friend Kayla was turning 7. The party was at a local swimming pool and there was a HUGE inflatable assault course in the water! Just in case it wasn't fun enough the lifeguards put detergant on it so it was covered in bubbles!

Gareth thought it was brilliant. I captured a small video clip on my mobile phone. It's pretty grainy but it gives you an idea of the fun they had.

Kayla's Mum Karen is a friend of mine. She had paid extra $20 for an extra lifeguard to help the kids along the inflatable. This poor girl slipped off a few times to the cheers of all the watching parents. I would have paid $40 just to see Karen on it instead! It was a great party and one that I am sure all the kids will be talking about in school on Monday morning!

More Rugby Glory!

Now I know I am in danger of boring you out of your tree if I post about how great Gareth was at Rugby every Saturday. I had decided to give you a rest from this topic this week....


How can I not tell you that he scored TWO TRY'S in todays game helping the Roos to win 6:4!

I dont know who was more excited, Gareth or Byron!
Or maybe even little Cian who had come along to cheer his big cousin along!

Enough now.

No more bragging...

...for this week anyway!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I love kids, I love how their minds work.

I called in to see my nephew Cian last week. He is 2 1/2 and has a facination with clothes pegs.

He had three in his hands and was clipping them to each other to make a rocket. '

He held out the first peg "This is the motor"

He held out the second peg "This is the handbrake"

He held out the third peg to me "What is this one?"

I tried to think like a two year old boy... "I know Cian, It's a super sonic jet !!!"

He looked puzzled, looked at the peg, looked at me and said "It is a peg"