Monday, 30 July 2012

All partied out

I'm feeling a little partied out tonight.

After our big days on Wednesday and Thursday, the Little Big Fella and I spent most of Friday morning on the couch, just veging out together.  Normally he gets a bit antsy and is ready to play after being quiet for about an hour, but he was quite happy just sitting there with me so I'm guessing he was ready for a slow morning too.

We spent a bit of time in the afternoon at the park and that evening headed to the local pub for dinner.  The Big Fella was a little put out, I think, that when we were there I caught up with a couple of the girls - he thinks I have a massive social life... and he's kind of right!

Saturday the Big Fella worked until about midday, so the Little Big Fella and I headed to the next town to do some shopping.  We'd attempted to make chocolate mousse the afternoon before and it hadn't worked, so I was collecting the ingredients to try again.

That afternoon the Little Big Fella had been invited to a 5th birthday party.  We rocked up and there were kids everywhere!!!  A quick headcount by a friend said there were at least 30 kids there, and apparently some had not attended!  That's a big party for a 5 year old!

The Little Big Fella wanted to go on the swing (as he always does if there's one around) so I went and gave him a push.  Soon I was juggling three swings, stopping them after a bit and helping kids swing across the monkey bars at the top, then pushing a new lot of kids on the swings.  If I'd pulled some balloon animals out of my pocket I reckon I could have charged as the entertainment for the afternoon ;-p

After the cake and such, we had to race home to help finish preparing for our dinner guests.  The Big Fella was having a second attempt at making the chocolate mousse and so far all was going well.  Okay, that's not quite true.  He added some rum essence to the melted chocolate and it went almost solid again!  Frustrated, he returned it to the stove to try to re-melt the chocolate. Eventually it did so he took it off to cool a little before adding the eggs.  After adding the egg yolks it looked like it was starting to go bad again so he folded in the whites and... success!  It looked (and tasted) like mousse!  The last step was to add a cup of lightly whipped cream.  Unfortunately he missed the "lightly whipped" part of that instruction and tipped the liquid cream in.  He told me it didn't look right and asked me to read the recipe for him.  As soon as I said "lightly whipped" he collapsed on to the floor, completely frustrated!  I stepped away from the dishes and looked in the bowl and decided I could probably tip off most of the cream, whip it a bit then try adding it back.  It worked and the mousse was saved!  Hooray!

Our guests arrived and the Little Big Fella went absolutely hyper!  He insisted on showing them his bedroom and telling him about everything that was happening (including the knife in his hand story).  Thankfully he showered and went to bed after the main meal.

The Big Fella is a great cook you know!  He made a delicious potato/carrot/pumpkin/sweet potato soup with a little cream, thyme and fresh nutmeg and it was so lovely!  The mains were lamb shanks, which were lovely but not quite as lovely as some that he's done before.  And the mousse turned out to be absolutely delicious, especially with some cream and berries! I am a seriously lucky woman to be married to that man!

We had a really enjoyable evening, sitting around and chatting.  Although the guys talked trains for a little while, it was a pleasant way to spend a few hours and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

This morning the Big Fella was at work again but the Little Big Fella and I went next door for a baby shower.  I must have been warm after my workout and shower because as soon as I got there, I realised I was going to be cold! After about 20 minutes I snuck back home and got changed, and I felt so much better for it :-D

As you do at baby showers and such, we played several games.  My little bit of competitiveness... jumped out and reared its ugly head!!!  We played one game where everyone was given a nappy (diaper) pin and if you caught someone crossing their legs or arms, or saying "baby" or the shower-ee's name, you could take their pin.  Yep, I turned out to be a horrible little monster, pouncing on unsuspecting ladies with shouts of "give me your pin"!  Okay, that's a mild exaggeration... but only just.  Happily, I won that game :-D

I also won the dummy (pacifier) spit :-D

It was a great morning!  The kids all played well together, the ladies had a good time, and the shower-ee didn't look quite so tired as she has recently so I think she was having fun too.  And I was stoked when she liked the gift of coupons I gave her - for things like babysitting, massage, housekeeping, shop runs, venting sessions etc.  Now to ensure she uses them...

After the shower I took the Little Big Fella home, gave him some solid, non-sugary food, heated some leftovers for my lunch and sat down for 5 minutes, realising that I was actually quite tired.  Sure enough, the Big Fella calls.

"Honey, I need you to come down to the pub."

"What for?"

"You need to bring the jerky down."


"I'm not kidding, we need it."

I sat there for another 5 minutes, willing my body to get itself together and get up.  Eventually I got there, packed a couple of things in my bag, got the Little Big Fella all set up with his bike and we rode/walked to the pub.  I met a few people that the Big Fella works with; names I've heard, and some I hadn't.  He seemed very relaxed and happy, which made me happy too.

The Little Big Fella was ready to go to the park pretty quickly so we said our goodbyes and headed back.  I'd left my picnic blanket on the fence of the park on the way past (I love our small town!) so spread it out while the Little Big Fella started riding around the skate park and playing.

By this stage, I was tired!  I just needed to lay down for 5 or 10 minutes.  So I did!  I lay down on my picnic blanket, in the sun, listening to my son happily riding around, and had a little doze.  I can't tell you how good it was to have those 5 or 10 minutes!  I revived much more than you'd think was possible!

After a little while some of our other friends turned up and we spent the next few hours hanging out at the park, kids happily playing, mums happily chatting.  I really enjoy that you can get out of your house and go to the park here and it's pretty likely that someone else will turn up and you can have a chat, vent if you're having one of those kinds of days, or just socialise and feel that connection with other people in your community.  I'm sure I've said it before, but it's a definite strength of this place.

When it started getting cool we all headed home and did the evening routine. The Big Fella slept on the couch - he has a little catching up to do I think.  The Little Big Fella went to bed really easily, but unfortunately had too much to drink this afternoon and has already had a bed and pj's change.  He goes to bed with a nappy and then wakes to use the loo, struggling to get the nappy out of the way, but if I agree to leave the nappy off...  Oh well!  He'll get there eventually.

I'm hoping to get an hour or so tomorrow to go through the paperwork and phone calls that need dealing with in the office tomorrow.  We also have our first house inspection this week, so I want to make sure the house is relatively neat and tidy (and the yard isn't completely toddler and puppy trashed).  Other than that, there's no major plans for the coming week.  Let's see how it turns out hey?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

How to revive a dead crow

For the second night in a row, the Little Big Fella is asleep within about 5-10 minutes of his head hitting the pillow.  He is absolutely worn out!

Yesterday we met some friends a bit after 9am and went to McDonald's for a cuppa, a cake and a play.  I haven't actually done that with anyone since we got here and I really enjoyed it!

We then went to Music Makers.  Friends of ours went to something similar in our last town but we never got around to it, probably because it was on a day care day.  But I thought we'd try it out here.

We turned up and the kids were all sitting down on the floor in front of the teacher, who had a keyboard and a microphone set up.  The Little Big Fella was shy and nervous because of the new surroundings and people so I got to sit on the floor with him on my lap... yay me!

The class was a real eye opener!  Here are these 3 year olds attempting to do things in time with the teacher and each other, learning musical terms for very fast (presto) and slowly (adagio), how many keys a piano has (88), how to hold, strum and identify parts of a ukulele, dancing, speaking and singing into a microphone.  I mean, what a great start for these kids, not only in terms of music but also in public speaking, movement, following instructions... a great start to a whole bunch of things that they'll come across in life!

By the end of the session the Little Big Fella was definitely enjoying himself, but was still a little shy, especially of the microphone.  So now the question is whether we go back, or just go to Playgroup (which is on the same day/time), or do a little bit of both.  I'll probably let the Little Big Fella decide :-D

Our little friend came back to our place for a bit of a play before her parents came and we all had lunch.  Apparently a cous cous, chickpea and roasted vegetable salad, while tasty, is not a complete dish to serve to guests (or even perhaps just my husband).  Who knew???  ;-)

I really enjoyed having a couple over and all of us getting along really well.  Between one thing and another, the Big Fella and I have mostly had separate friends for almost our whole married life.  To have husbands, wives and children all happy to hang out together was such a nice change!  Although working out a time that suits everyone (because of different shifts) might be a bit tricky, I'm looking forward to more of this!

After the Big Fella went to work mid-afternoon, the Little Big Fella and I went to the park for a bit more play and social time.  After school it's pretty rare to go to the park and not find at least a couple of mums with their camp chairs having a chat, watching the kids ride around the skate park, kick a footy or playing on the equipment.  It's a key social part of our little town and I think it's fantastic!

Today we were up early, trying to be quiet while the Big Fella slept after his early hours finish.  We were also looking after a little boy today so I had a challenge on my hands to keep two 3 year olds mostly outside, mostly away from the bedroom window, and mostly quiet!!!

But!  I had a plan!  I'd prepared a bunch of little things to do that were easy, outdoors or off-site, and I was pretty sure both boys would be at least partially interested in.

We started with bubbles (always a winner!), using a bubble solution that I'd made up.  But, for a bit of a change I'd grabbed a handful of drinking straws and showed the boys how to blow bubbles in the bubble mix, rather than blowing the bubbles into the air.  They loved it!  Who'd have thought???

I did a couple of things while the boys were happy, then decided it was time to get away from the house and give the Big Fella a good chance to sleep, or at least rest.

We grabbed a couple of buckets from the sandpit, brushed the sand off and went for a nature walk up the road.  Being boys, they mostly collected rocks and sticks :-D  However, in my role as childhood educator (for the day) I made sure to point out seedpods (and explain how they work - basically), flowers (including "what colour is this one?"), and feathers (textures, colours, spots etc).  We even had the joy of coming across a dead crow, who they wanted to revive by giving it water, but happily left it with a blanket of dry leaves.

When we got back we made a little pile of our recovered items, collected a few things then went for another walk - to the post office then for a picnic at the park.  Some of our friends were there and we got to meet the children of the guy who used to drive home with the Big Fella when they were training to be train drivers.

After a while we had to go to the shop for some milk - the Big Fella would need a coffee or three when he woke up and there was only enough milk for one, or maybe two coffees!  Of course, the kids got to have a lolly too :-)

We went home via the park again (I'd left a few things there to collect on the way home that were too heavy or awkward to have to carry extra distances), played with some other new friends, then made it back just in time for our little friend's Nan to arrive and take him home.

I made the Little Big Fella's sandwiches for lunch, then a chicken and strawberry salad for the Big Fella and I.  I came across the recipe through Angela from Grocery Shrink, who initially interested me in Fit Yummy Mummy. The Big Fella liked it well enough, but I love it!  I probably won't plan to make it when he's around though.

We had a little trip to the next town for a few bits and pieces and, I have to say, I was rather frustrated.  I know it's just a small town, and I know our supermarket is pretty dodgy, but I'm not travelling a minimum of an hour away when there are birthday parties and such to buy presents!  I had to find something for a boy turning 5, and also for a baby shower.  After a bit of stress I did find suitable items, but it was a horrible process.  I'd even thought of getting practical items for the baby shower - newborn nappies, muslin wraps, Bonds Wondersuits, even maternity pads - and couldn't even get those in the supermarket!!!  Rahhh!!!

One thing that was very cool in a small town-ish kind of way was that we went to the bank to give the Big Fella internet banking access to my accounts, mostly because our savings account is in my name.  We walk into the bank and by the time we get to the "wait here" sign, the lady who did our car loan has come out, greeted us and asked if we were trying to link our internet banking.

The other lady behind the counter was at a party I went to last week and I'd asked her what we needed to do, so she'd obviously remembered and passed that info on.  We sat down at the desk to do it and the loan lady remembered our names and a bunch of things that meant all I had to do was produce my card and it was all done and dusted!  Isn't that cool?  Even in our last town, where the bank tellers recognised me, there was no way that kind of thing would happen.

In our 10 minutes of communicating the nitty gritty of daily life this afternoon,  we realised that I'd double-booked myself!  (Seriously, I have a much mor full social life here!)  I was going to help out with the canteen at the footy on the weekend but we have people coming for dinner (and this is after the 5 year old party in the afternoon).  I think I might need to start using my calendar a bit more!

It's raining tonight so I'm hoping the Little Big Fella will happily play quietly inside tomorrow morning, while Daddy has another sleep-in after a late shift.  You never know, it could happen...

Monday, 23 July 2012

A photo catch up

The Big Fella is back at work so I'm catching up on a bunch of stuff... including loading all my photos from the last phew few days to the computer!  So here's what we've been up to:

The Little Big Fella's latest hot glue gun creation 

This morning's breakfast - absolutely my favourite-ist breakfast at the moment, when I can be bothered cutting up veges.

Today's lunch (even better than it looks - there's roasted seeds and a bit of fetta under there)

Remember the grass seeds that we planted a few weeks ago and the dogs keep digging holes in?

Here it is today!

Another creative moment for the Little Big Fella (he also did some water painting today but I didn't get a pic).

Remember this?  This is the table-to-be for our kitchen (although I suspect it will end up being used as a coffee table in the future).

And here it is, all done up in the kitchen!  The spices used to sit on top of the microwave and every time you tried to use them you'd invariably knock at least one over.  Having them in the two stackable boxes underneath is awesome!  And having the fruit in the box (rather than that huge bucket) is working really well.

Ah yes!  The day we planted seeds!  Here they are now!

 This was definitely a brilliant idea by the Big Fella!  The sandpit has had some pretty intense use over the past two days (and so has the vacuum cleaner!).

 Check out this box we found when we were collecting wood the other day!  It's about 1.5 metres wide, 10-15cm deep and about 50-60cm high.  Any suggestions you creative people???

Here's our big pile of wood this morning:

The thing at the back has now been pulled apart and added to the wood pile and the one at the front is going to be the floor of half our soon-to-be chook shed :-) 

So there you go!  A few photos to go with the stories :-)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Big Fella's Days Off

I'm not exactly sure what I've been up to since my last post but I'm certain I've been busy!!!  Whenever the Big Fella has days off (he gets 3, 4 or 5 in a row) we tend to be busy, the house doesn't get its normal general tidy and clean, and we have lots of fun doing... whatever!

Getting to the computer is once again a bit tricky, I think that's mostly because I tend to do it when both Fellas are sleeping or the Big Fella is at work and the Little Big Fella is sleeping.

My father-in-law came up on Friday.  He flew interstate and we went and collected him from the airport an hour away.  He was very keen to buy the Little Big Fella an ice-cream (and there were no complaints from that end of the field either!) so we ended up getting a box of mini Magnums from the supermarket while we were there.

The Big Fella also did a little shopping while we were in the bigger town (oh! And saw the dentist, but more about that another time).  He bought some clothes from our new favourite country-style clothing store, then went into Big W to try to find a replacement set top box.

The Big Fella's favourite show at the moment is Masterchef.  It's on channel 10.  There are a couple of other shows he likes, also on channel 10.  Guess which channel doesn't work so good???  Yep, channel 10.  After a bit of messing around, we worked out that the reason we weren't getting good signal was either the set top box or the aerial.  So, he decided to "just look" at set top boxes while we ate our ice creams.

A little while later he comes out of the store empty handed.  I have to say I was a little surprised... until he told me he'd bought a new digital TV that didn't require a set top box :-D  Thankfully, when we got it all set up we received channel 10 nice and clear :-)

When we eventually got home we lit the fire and the guys sat about making it work while I got stuff ready upstairs.  Then we did our first stir fry over the fire!  The Big Fella bought a couple of woks a few years ago but we haven't had gas cooking facilities so they've mostly stayed in the cupboard (poor neglected things!).  But last time we had a fire the Big Fella had the thought that a wok would sit quite nicely on top of it (it's a converted washing machine drum) and it turns out he was right.  It cooked really hot, which is perfect for stir fries.

In the morning the Big Fella and his dad went out for breakfast at the mine camp just up the road.  They do all the cooked breakfast items that guys seem to love and you get to pack a container of food to take for lunch as well.  They did that because the Big Fella's dad bought our car and was driving back home and having some yummy fresh food is always a good thing when you travel.

I was planting some garlic that had sprouted in the cupboard when I heard a horrible cry and looked up to see the Little Big Fella at the kitchen door holding his hand out and bawling!  I ran up the stairs to find blood leaking out of the webbing between his thumb and pointer finger on his left hand.  Of course, being 3 he doesn't want me to touch it or put anything on it but is freaking out about the blood coming out of him.

I get a tissue on it and walk (calmly) down the hallway with him to get bandaids, hoping and praying that it's not too bad and we won't need to go to hospital because the Big Fella is out with the car.  We get the bandaid ready (luckily the Little Big Fella is a huge fan of bandaids) then take the tissue off to check the damage.

Phew!  It's just a little cut.

Want to know how it happened?  Of course you do!  I wouldn't be writing about it on my blog if it wasn't at least mildly interesting :-D

While I was outside the Little Big Fella decided that he wanted to play with the money in his money box/shoe.  To get to the money you have to turn the shoe upside down and turn the circle plug thingy around.  He obviously couldn't do it by himself.  So he decides he needs a knife to open it!!!!!  He goes to the kitchen and gets out my little paring knife.

Now, the Big Fella doesn't believe in blunt knives so every knife in our house is sharp.  Not just fairly sharp either.  To test if it's sharp enough he uses it to dry-shave his forearm.  It's not sharp unless he gets a little bald patch!

So the Little Big Fella takes this sharp little paring knife and attempts to use it to open his money shoe.  As you do.

Obviously he's slipped and copped the nice sharp tip in the webbing of his hand.  I'm SO grateful that's all he did!!!  Honestly, I'm expecting one day we'll have to go to the hospital with broken bones, split head/chin/hand/knee or whatever else kids do when they're exploring the world and not overly afraid (or aware) of hurting themselves, but I'm glad it wasn't yesterday.  I get the feeling that the Little Big Fella has a new respect for the sharpness of knives though!

Who knew planting garlic could be so eventful???  We got a couple of bandaids on the cut and then taped it up with sports tape because I knew the bandaids had no chance of staying on without his whole hand wrapped up!  Sure enough, by about 2pm he'd decided he was fixed and took it all off.  As soon as he rode his bike it started bleeding again and needed to be re-dressed.

What else have we been up to with the Big Fella home?

Well, the Big Fella wanted to collect some wood for making a chook house, outdoor table and bench chairs, a sandpit and other bits and pieces so the Little Big Fella and I jumped in the car and went with him.

Now, when I say "some" wood I mean posts, beams and random bits of wood that are now piled under our stairs - about 1.5 metres deep, 3 or 4 metres long and piled about half to a metre high.  He collected more today, including what will be half of the floor of our soon-to-be chook house.  (A deal has been done and we're getting 6 chooks and a duck.)

This morning the Big Fella used some of the wood to create a sandbox for the Little Big Fella.  He made the frame, dug a little channel for it to sit in, then went and collected a ute-load of sand from the creek (that's a serious workout right there!).  The Little Big Fella loves it and has been in it for at least an hour today (he would have been in there longer if he'd been home more).

I was super tired today so this arvo I had a little lay down (not a nap because I was too cold to sleep).  When I got up I had so much more energy.  The Fellas were out helping a friend collect more of that wood so I got to whip around the house and do some cleaning (including vacuuming up sand from the new sandpit - there's going to be some lessons learned around here over the next few days!!!) and dinner prep.

Actually, we had a garlic/lime/chilli chicken dish tonight that was quite yummy.  It's from Leanne, the Dinner Diva.  I've not tried any of her recipes until tonight but I'm thinking of searching for some more because it was quick, easy and delicious!

We've had some night time issues over the past few nights.  The Little Big Fella must be sleeping really solidly because normally he gets up once or twice to use the loo before I go to bed.  But he wet his bed twice in one night and tonight he woke up crying but didn't get up.  I went to him and tried to work out what was wrong.  He wouldn't tell me because he was crying, then I feel warm wet.  Ugh!  I hate being peed on!  At least he didn't wet the bed though - getting the two of us cleaned up is so much less of a drama than changing sheets!

Today was my Fit Yummy Mummy 4 week weigh in.  I forgot!  So I didn't weigh in until after breakfast but I've lost 2 kilos and 3cm on my muffin top.  I'm going to do another weigh in tomorrow though, just to see if breakfast made that much difference.  I also took photos (nope, you can't see them - I'm not ready for that) and can see a bit of a difference in my face, muffin top and a bit of muscle definition in my arms and shoulders.  Oh!  And I wore a couple of items of clothing this week that I haven't been able to wear in ages!!!  And I'm wearing my belt 2, nearly 3 notches tighter than when I started.  It feels awesome!  I'm looking at the whole thing as a lifestyle, rather than a diet and I think it's sustainable, and all those veges and un-processed foods have got to be good for me.

We've got another big week coming up.  A birthday party, a baby shower, friends for dinner, and all the other bits and pieces that fill up our life here.  Hopefully I'll be able to grab a few minutes (and hopefully photos) to tell you all about it!!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

10 steps back?

I feel like I felt in the latter part of last year, before I began my happiness project, and it feels like crap.  I'm down, I'm completely impatient with my son, I'm frustrated by everything and I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I know it's probably there.

And no, I don't think it's just today, or hormones, or even the rain that just won't go away.

So, back to the old drawing board.  What can I do to get out of this funk?

Stop sighing, start smiling, fake it until I make it.  But I don't have the energy to do that.

Get enough sleep, take some time to myself.

Remember what I'm grateful for (that's normally a good one!).

Hmmm, I'm grateful for a cheap place to live and the Big Fella's wages so we can get ourselves into a better financial position.

I'm grateful for the weight I'm losing and that the Big Fella is noticing it (he said yesterday that the roll on my back seems to be gone - isn't he a charmer ;-)  )

I'm grateful that my son is pretty easy to entertain most of the time and that he wants to spend time with his parents.

I'm grateful for friends, old and new, who look out for me and try their darndest to pick me up and help me out.

I'm grateful for an old fashioned country town where everyone looks out for each other.

I'm grateful for heating and undercover washing lines.

I'm grateful for a husband who loves me and does everything he can to provide for me in every way, including making time to give me a break when I'm losing the plot.  And I love how he has a go at so many things and normally does a really good job of it.  Honey, you're amazing and I love you and the spark and interest you add to life!

I'm grateful for the fact I can read and write and have access to the internet :-D

I'm grateful for my awesome family.  Even though we don't get to see each other as much as we might like, and we're all pretty bad at phone calls, there is a deep well of love between each of us (getting teary) and I know I will always be able to count on them.  I love you guys!!!

I'm grateful for the healthcare system we have.  Even though it's not perfect, we're generally well looked after and money doesn't stop you getting care.

Yeah, I have a lot to be grateful for.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Selfishness and hurt

Sometimes I just need to be selfish.

Because if I don't insist on having some time just for me I wonder if I might hurt someone.  Probably not physically (I'm not especially strong like that), but I could do some pretty serious emotional damage if I tried.

Before we moved here the Little Big Fella went to family day care with Super Carer two days a week.  I got to do what I needed to do and sometimes even what I wanted to do.

But now I really am I full-time mum.

It's been really wet here over the last week.  And despite putting on our gumboots and going out whenever there was a break in the rain, my nerves had pretty much reached their end by yesterday.  I needed some time by myself to do whatever I wanted to do without being interrupted every 5 seconds by "Mum, what can I have to eat?".

Thankfully the Big Fella didn't start work until 3 this afternoon.  Even though I'd told him, I don't think he realised how much I needed a time out.

While trying to do my 15 minutes of exercise this morning the Little Big Fella decided he wanted to watch TV (I was exercising in the lounge room).  Because of the kind of exercise I was doing (intervals of 60 seconds of hard-as-you-can-go followed by 60 seconds of marching on the spot) I could hardly talk.  By the time I got to my 60 seconds of marching I was angry.

And I lost it.

I yelled at him to get out of the room.  It was MY turn!

He cried and I got angrier and told him to go to Daddy.  He cried more.

I don't feel bad for taking time to exercise, or for not letting him watch TV, but I feel bad now (I didn't at the time) because I was passive-aggressive with him and that's no good for anyone.

A little later Daddy took the Little Big Fella for a bike ride to the park for a while.  I got some time to myself.  I got to epilate and have a long, hot shower.  And this evening I've had a chance to read through and clean out my email inbox.

But my need for selfish time shouldn't hurt my family.

So obviously I need to learn to recognise better when I'm getting angst-y, communicate it better and make the time before I lose it at those I love.  They don't deserve that.  They deserve a me who looks after myself so that I can treat them with the respect and humanity they deserve.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Out and about after the rain

OMG!  How much washing can you do in one day???  My line was full today!

Yesterday was wet!  I mean, really wet!  Our backyard was a swamp in most parts and pools in the others.  No way was I going outside!  And today?  Only in gumboots baby!

So today when I got up and the sun was shining I got the washing going straight away.  I decided to ditch the workout for the morning so I could make sure the Little Big Fella and I got out before the rain came back (the Big Fella was at work from just after midnight this morning).

We went down to the park about 9:30 and there was no one around, which is a bit odd.  I think playgroup must have been on and we missed it :-(

I recently realised that whenever the Little Big Fella is playing I tend to play on my phone rather than watching him or playing with him.  Not good.  Certainly not all the time!

So I deliberately left my phone in my bag and let him show off for me (yes, he is a show off, even at 3 years old).  And he loved it.  I noticed that when he's riding in a straight line he's not using his training wheels at all!  Won't be long and he won't even need them!!!

I noticed all these cars pulling over just up the road and didn't really think anything of it.  Then I started to wonder if something was going on.  Then, at 10:45, I remembered!  As of Monday (2 days ago) the mail is now being given out at the CWA hall between 9 and 11 every weekday morning!!!  I had to get up there and get the mail!

(For those who don't know, we live in a town of about 360 people.  We used to have a little post office but the people running it have sold their place and the new owners didn't want to take on the post office.  We had to collect our mail from the next town and it was a bit of a pain, for us and the post office staff there.  So having our mail back in our town is awesome!)

I got the Little Big Fella to get off the swing and we headed over to the hall.  On the way we ran into our friends and had a little chat but then I had to say a quick goodbye and keep going.  Luckily they'll be coming over on Friday morning for our first playdate at our house!

We made it in time and apparently the Big Fella had already collected the mail this morning :-D.  That was okay though because there was a parcel for us that had been missed.

The Little Big Fella decided that we needed to go to the shop and get a lolly (candy) and I agreed we could.  When we got there, he was adamant that he actually wanted an ice cream.  I agreed and he chose a Drumstick.  For those who don't know, a Drumstick is in a waffle cone and has yummy chocolate on top as well.  Surprisingly, this was a much cleaner ice cream for the Little Big Fella than the one he normally has, which is designed for kids!  Yay for less clean up :-D

I was also really proud of myself for just eating the pear that I had in my bag.

On the way back we decided to stop in at the Library, seeing that it was open.  My Little Big Fella makes me smile so often.  I can't even remember the actual conversation he had with the Librarian but it was really cute, and just so him!

Well, we couldn't just go home from there so we went back to the park for a while longer.  The Little Big Fella wanted me to run around while he rode his bike.  (Oh!  I forgot to mention that the skate area of the park still had big puddles from yesterday's rain, and he was riding through them and laughing his head off about the splashes.)  So I chased him through the puddles in my lovely big gumboots :-D

Eventually we had to go home because I was hungry!

The rest of the day was mostly taken up with housework, a workout that nearly killed me, and a lovely candlelit dinner.  It's been a nice day.

Oh!!!  I forgot to tell you!!!  I bought a yoghurt maker and made my first Greek yoghurt last night.  I didn't put any sugar in it so it's fairly tart but it tastes delicious!!!  I had some this morning on my oat pancakes with caramelised banana, walnuts and cherries.  Mmmm mmmmm!!!

Monday, 9 July 2012

A trip to the sawmill

When I woke up this morning, I'd intended to do the food shopping today and clean the floors.  That is, after I'd had a yummy healthy breakfast and done my workout.

But we went to bed late last night (the Big Fella worked until about 11) so slept in this morning (as much as you can when your toddler is being rowdy and lets the dogs in to jump on your bed).

I did get up and make a yummy healthy breakfast.  And I did (eventually) do my workout.  But the plans changed, as they often do when the Big Fella has a day at home :-D

My husband is very enthusiastic.  He gets an idea in his head and totally goes for it!

So when he woke up this morning, as well as smoking his meat for jerky,

This is an old deep freezer from the tip - perfect as a smokehouse :-)
he wanted to take a trip to the sawmill (about 20-30 minutes away) and find a nice big piece of timber to cut into chopping boards.

Now, there's something you need to know about the Big Fella.  He loves to cook but he hates little chopping boards.  His idea of a perfect chopping board is a big bench made out of good quality hardwood and just chop on the bench.  Your standard, 20-30cm (about a foot) x 15-20cm chopping board is completely inadequate for the task when he is involved!

The Big Fella told the Little Big Fella they were going for a drive to the sawmill.  My lovely son came and told me that I couldn't come! :-)  But I was invited and decided to go.

(Side note:  Yesterday I noticed that we finally have grass sprouting in our driveway.  Yay!!!  This morning it had definitely grown.  Check it out!

Then on our way out this morning I saw this:

Our lovely puppies had been digging.  This hole is about 35cm wide and about 10cm deep.  Thank you very much, you lovely, annoying little things!)

At the sawmill, we picked up a lovely piece of Bluegum,

Measured it up...

And cut it into a "small" chopping board for the kitchen, a large chopping board for downstairs (making jerky and such), and a table/stand for our microwave so that we can fit our spices in the kitchen (although, it's the size of a small coffee table and I'm not sure how long it will remain in the kitchen!).

This will be the microwave/coffee table.
 The next stage was to plane it nice and smooth.

The piece on top that's being planed will be the upstairs cutting board.  The one under it is for downstairs!

I went upstairs to do some other stuff and the Big Fella kept working on the chopping board for upstairs.  I was part way through cooking dinner when this arrived:

Isn't that just gorgeous???  I love this kind of wood timber!  And it's so nice to go into the kitchen and see something that makes you smile!  It's so smooth and shiny and just makes me want to touch it!

So I got to use that lovely new chopping board to finish making dinner.  And it was a yummy dinner too!

This is a Jamie Oliver inspired dish.  There are pork and fennel sausages, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, capsicum, red onions and garlic.  Then I poured a tin of tomatoes over the top and about 1/2 a cup of beef stock to keep it moist.  The croutons on top are sourdough bread soaked in olive oil with garlic powder, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, and the zest of about 1/2 a lemon.  I put them all in a casserole dish and baked it, covered with foil for a bit, then removed the foil to allow the croutons to crisp up.  Mmmmmm!  Not quite a healthy recipe, but not too bad either... and definitely good for the taste buds!

The Little Big Fella decided we needed to have a fire this evening so I took our dinner down to this:

It's such a hard life!!! ;-)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

I'm a lucky Mummy!

You know what?  I have to say that my son is awesome!!!  I've been reading and hearing lots lately about people having trouble getting their kids to go to bed.  We just don't have that problem.

Last night at the footy the Little Big Fella got exhausted before half time and was begging Daddy to go home to bed.  The Big Fella wasn't ready to go home and I was helping out in the canteen so couldn't go home yet.  What to do???

Then I saw the couches in the corner of the canteen!  Ah ha!

The Big Fella laid the Little Big Fella down then went to the car to get my jacket to put over him and keep him warm.  The Little Big Fella was fast asleep before the jacket arrived!  And he stayed asleep despite the kids kicking footballs around him, the giggling girls in the corner right next to him, the raucous cheering on the other side of the room and outside, and even when I picked him up and carried him to the car - he didn't stir once!

And at home we have our routine of dinner, shower, pjs and bed.  Sure, some nights he watches movies for up to an hour before he falls asleep but he still follows the routine without complaint, sometimes even making me follow the routine when I don't particularly care.  I'm a lucky Mummy!

Of course, there is the fact that only Mummy can do the night routine - Daddy's not allowed to shower or dress or put him to bed apparently.  And because it's that time of night, the Little Big Fella gets seriously distressed if we try to let Daddy do it.  Sigh.  We're working on that :-)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sad, shopping, boys

I'm doing my post earlier today in the hope that it'll actually get done :-D

This week has been pretty average in a lot of ways.  The biggest thing being hormones kicking me in the guts then beating me around the head while I was down!!!  I don't recall ever being so affected by hormones!  I think I cried (as in bawled my eyes out uncontrollably) 3 or 4 times in one day.  And pretty much the sole content of my thoughts were along the lines of one of the following: I'm fat, my clothes suck, I'm a terrible mum, I'm a rotten housekeeper, I'm lazy, I'm a terrible wife, I'm a horrible person... and probably a couple others in there too.

Now (Mum, this is especially for you) even in the middle of this horrible emotional self-beating, I was aware of the fact that it was the fault of hormones and that I'm not a terrible person, mother, wife etc.  But being aware didn't make any difference at the time.  All I could do was hope it would be over soon.

And it was.  I texted my best friend, got a big hug from the Big Fella when he woke up, got a chance to clean up the bomb fallout in my house, and ate a delicious dark chocolate Cherry Ripe!  Mmmmm, chocolate!  Even when you're changing your eating habits, sometimes chocolate is necessary ;-)

So yesterday and today have been much better and the hormones will give me a break for at least a month (I hope!).

This morning I decided we needed to drive to the major town an hour away.  We had to return the DVD player that won't communicate with our TV because it's not digital.  We also have two birthday parties to go to this week so I thought I'd combine the lot and have a quick trip out with the Little Big Fella while the Big Fella was still at work.

It was a good trip actually!  I got nearly everything done (I forgot to fill scripts, but that can be done nearby), got a new DVD player that does talk to our TV, presents for the parties, a Superman outfit for the Little Big Fella to wear to the parties (they're both superhero themed and he likes to dress up), some stuff for the Big Fella, a new jumper (sweatshirt for my USA friends) for me, and some seafood from the awesome big, new supermarket!  That was a big sentence.  Sorry.

When we got back the Big Fella was already home from work and had gone out for a quick ride on his motorbike.  He and the Little Big Fella have had a definite boys afternoon.  They've done the first stage of making jerky.  They've washed the motorbike.  They've gone to the tip.  They've gone out to check the sights on a gun.  They're currently out helping a guy and this evening they'll go to the local footy together (I'll be selling stuff in the canteen).

I love when they spend time together doing "blokey" stuff.  It's so good for both of them!

And I get time to do the dishes and write a blog post :-p

Friday, 6 July 2012

Just when you think you've reached a goal...

Oh my goodness it's been hard to get to the computer this week!  Between just doing stuff and being tired, the computer has definitely been last on the list of things to do.  Sorry if you were hanging out for a post ;-)

We had a very exciting moment Wednesday morning.  The Big Fella's pay came through and we reached our first savings milestone!  Yay!

During the morning I noticed the light globe had blown on the fridge.  No worries, we can replace that at some stage.

Later I realised I hadn't heard the fridge "kick in" for a while.  Uh oh!  I checked and it was fully plugged in and turned on.  I opened the door for a while and turned the dial up to the coldest setting.


I checked that the safety switch hadn't flipped in the power box.  Nope.


Time to let the Big Fella know.  Unfortunately he was about to go to bed after a night shift and in preparation for his next night shift.  But we all got in the car and, after a false start (we think only because it was cold), we drove to the next town and looked at new fridges.

We got our fridge from the Big Fella's parents as a wedding present, ten and a half years ago.  We kind of knew it was likely to need replacing soon but I really wanted to shop around and choose something we'd really be happy with, not have to take the best option in front of us.  I wanted it to be an exciting shopping adventure.  Sigh.

We ended up choosing a lovely, very large fridge and arranged delivery for the afternoon.  We did a little bit of food shopping and collected the mail the headed home.

The Big Fella went to bed in an attempt to get some desperately needed sleep.

I started moving some items to the downstairs deep freezer and a few things into our awesome esky (ice box) and what did I hear???  The fridge kicked in!!!  Gah!

So now we have a beer fridge (actually, I'm pretty sure it'll be a sausage fridge because the Big Fella is really keen to make his own, build a smokehouse and whatever else goes into the process).  And our upstairs fridge is so nice!  It's big and holds everything and is tall enough to stand a cask of wine up without squishing all the other shelves to uselessness.

The only down side possibly has more to do with the house than the fridge - it's kind of hard to get the crisper (at the bottom of the fridge) more than half way out to get to the veges.  You have to open the door all the way, but we have a wall in the way so it's a little bit of a struggle.  But I think we'll find a way to deal with that so it's no biggie :-)

Oh!  And it's a self-defrosting freezer!  Yay!!!  Given the humidity that we'll get in summer, defrosting the freezer kind of becomes a monthly task so having one that does it all by itself is so exciting!

And it has an ice-tray built in thingy.  We go through lots of ice so this is definitely a bonus for us.

And it's easy to pull the shelves and door bits out to clean!  The old fridge was great but had a couple of permanent door shelves that caught all kinds of stuff and was tricky to get well cleaned.

So there you go!  We have a new fridge!  And the Big Fella is now keen to replace the washing machine (about 8 or 9 years old), microwave and bedding over the next few months.  Yay :-D

Monday, 2 July 2012

Toys and friends

For those of you who don't have kids (or don't live in Australia), the major department stores have a massive toy sale at this time of year.  They allow lay-by where they hold the items until just before Christmas so a lot of people do the majority of their Christmas shopping now.

After looking at the catalogues online, I decided there were several items that I'd like to purchase for the Little Big Fella and that it was cheaper to drive to our nearest major town (an hour away) than pay for delivery.  So today was the day we had enough time to go all together.

We had a relaxed morning, sitting in bed with a cuppa for a chat and eventually getting started around 8:30, or maybe 9 o'clock :-)

I made lunches and snacks (we'd be spending enough money as it was and I wanted to have a healthy lunch if possible) then went and showered and got ready.

After other "chooking around" we eventually left at about 10:30.  I've never left for a "trip" so late!!!  But it was only an hour drive so no biggie :-)

Big W was first.  They didn't have any of the things I wanted to get!  Although mildly frustrated (okay, pretty frustrated) I was soon shown a bunch of things that the Little Big Fella was excited about, including a chainsaw that makes the sounds and even has a rubber chain that works.

We also picked up a couple of Nerf guns so I'd imagine Christmas will be semi-violent this year :-D

On the way out of the shopping centre we came across a clothing store that had "outback" style clothing... and we loved it!  The Big Fella is planning to go back there in a month or so and have a big wardrobe replacement :-)  And I picked up a nice, cosy, warm, fleecy jacket to replace the one I've been wearing since we were engaged!

We went to the other main shopping centre and had a look around, finding another "outback" style clothing store to get excited about.  On our way to the supermarket, the Little Big Fella stopped to play in the coin-fed car (so sad, it was out of order).  While he's playing a family walked by and the lady looked at my son in the car with a big smile.  Then her gaze flicked by me and we both did a double-take!  We'd been in the same mother's group in our last town!!!

It turns out they are now living in a mining town a little north of us and this major town is the one they visit most regularly.  It was so cool to meet up with someone I'd previously known in such a random way!  And her kids are gorgeous!  Last time I saw them was a few days before they moved and their little girl was only about 2 weeks old - she's now walking and talking very well.

Apparently they come near us on a semi-regular basis so we've promised to catch up for lunch or dinner or something next time they go by.  And the Little Big Fella and I might take a drive up that way when the Big Fella needs lots of day sleep or something :-)

We had another couple of short stops on the way home then the Fellas built a fire out the back this afternoon.  The plan was to cook dinner on it but that didn't quite work so we ended up inside.  I was quietly happy about this because it's freezing outside tonight (for those Victorians in particular who don't believe me, it'll be between 3 and 5 degrees overnight).

All was going fairly well until the puppies peed on the carpet.  About 5 minutes later the Little Big Fella woke up because he'd wet his bed (through his nappy, by the way).  Just when you think your cleaning-up-pee days are over...

And the DVD player we bought today doesn't seem to be compatible with our TV.  That makes for an unhappy Big Fella.

I guess tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Glitter and paint

Having missed my workout two days in a row, I did a combined strength and cardio this morning... playing shoot 'em up with my toddler and deflecting excited puppies at the same time!  Have you tried stretching with a puppy on your lap/tummy?  It adds a bit of an ab workout with the laughter :-D

I love that I can do some exercise in my own home and play with my son at the same time.  My cardio today was to run on the spot as fast as I could for 60 seconds then walk/march for 60 seconds.  The Little Big Fella did some on-the-spot running with me then took off down the hall... so I chased him as fast as I could (making him squeal with delight), shot him then raced back and kept my speedy running going.  In my "break" minutes I'd shoot and tickle him.  Talk about multi-tasking :-D

This afternoon the Big Fella was sleeping after working all night and the Little Big Fella decided he wanted to create.  He found my hot glue gun in a craft tub and brought it out saying it's a "glitter glue".  Eventually I realised that he must have done some gluing and glittering with SuperCarer so I agreed we could do some (inwardly cringing at the potential clean up required).

Craft with little kids is messy!  But it's also really cool!  They don't have any rules (other than don't throw the glitter all over the house and so on) so they do whatever they want and my boy surprises me every time we do crafts.

Firstly, his control of the hot glue gun was a surprise!  He knew what he was doing and that it was hot and therefore a little dangerous.

And his choice of colours surprised me too!  He balanced out the colours really nicely (well, it appealed to me anyway).

And  he'd put glue over glitter that was already on the page, or over another glue/glitter spot, which made the picture even more interesting.

Of course, there was leftover glitter that didn't quite make it into the tubes again so he had to "fingerpaint" in that!

He wasn't quite ready to give up the crafty bug yet so he requested paint.  Inwardly I sighed, then went and got them (and the messy mat).

Again he surprised me!  He's really good at stamping (I think he might have had a fair bit of practice at that).  But he also layered his pictures by stamping, painting with the stencil brush and using his fingers (yep, rolled my eyes at that one).

Eventually he'd had enough (or I had and encouraged him to finish up) and I sent him to the bathroom to clean up.  Cleaning up the bathroom after he'd been in there was the biggest clean up task of the day!!!  He'd splashed water everywhere, put a ton of liquid soap and sorbolene cream (moisturiser) in the sink, and discovered the water spray bottle in the cupboard so sprayed the whole room!

Off came the clothes and he went outside with the water sprayer to water the plants while I cleaned up.

Did he water the plants?  Of course not!  He sprayed my shoes that were on the top step because "they had glitter on them".

And you know why I let him make such a mess?  Because he loves it!  And, after all, it's just mess!