Saturday, 29 September 2012

Random trucks, paint and food

We've had a couple of random things happen over the past week so I thought I'd do a "bits and bobs" style post.

One morning I was doing my workout in the office and heard a bunch of trucks.  That's not really surprising - we get a few a day heading down the road opposite our place to one of the mines.  But when I could still hear them when I'd finished my workout, I thought I'd go check it out.

The Little Big Fella must have been totally engrossed in what he was doing because there were trucks everywhere across the road from us and he hadn't noticed!  (He's normally a huge fan of trucks, especially earth moving equipment.)

Obviously I told him and he looked and was very excited :-)

I also wanted to show you some of my yummy meals from this week too!

You've just gotta love fruit salad and yoghurt, right?  Definitely one of my all-time faves!

This was a surprisingly delicious breakfast last weekend.  Toasted pumpkin bread (thank you Brumby's!) with poached fresh eggs (from one of our neighbours), some home made bacon (the Big Fella is totally into making smallgoods at the moment and there's no complaint from me ;-)), a bit of avocado, some wilted spinach and some goat's fetta.  Really yummy!

And these little beauties were pretty cool too!  Chicken and beetroot balls made with chicken and beetroot (obviously), sour cream, fetta and toasted cumin seeds.  They needed more cumin and more seasoning, but definitely on the "do again" list!

What else?  Oh yeah!  We headed down to the park this afternoon and one of the girls from the local primary school was painting the kids' faces to raise money for an iPad or something (love the entrepreneurial spirit).  So she asked the Little Big Fella if he'd like to have his face painted and he wanted to be a tiger.  This was the result:

He loved it and when we got home he growled at himself in the mirror for at least 10 minutes :-D

The lady next door just had her third child a couple of weeks ago so her middle child has been playing over here a few times since then, especially while the oldest has been at school.  I figure it keeps two kids happy and gives her a bit of a break, maybe even a sleep in between all the lovely visitors she's been getting ;-)

And it's gotten hot here!  Quite hot!  I know, I whinged about it already, but seriously, it's hot!  And it's only the start of Spring!!!

So the other day we found the Little Big Fella's paddle pool, cleaned it up and let the two kids splash around in it for the afternoon.  They had SO much fun together!

It was rather amusing though; the sandpit is just to the left of this picture and the kids decided that sandpit toys are so much fun they should go in the pool too!  So the toys (and the sand, and the grass) ended up in the pool.  And the little girl also decided that running and splashing into the pool was a good idea, including (very slowly) hands and chest first.  Definitely kept a close eye on that one and no injuries were had, just a bunch of fun :-)

So there you go!  A few more of the "interesting" things that have been happening at our place this week.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Under the Sea - Part 2

A little while ago we started turning the Little Big Fella's room into an under the sea world.  We've been reading fishy books, singing fishy songs, watching Nemo and the Octonauts and playing fishy games.

I thought it was about time we did another sea craft and put some more stuff in his room (because it's never messy ;-)).  So yesterday we made an octopus, a couple of crabs, and a couple of jellyfish.  We counted the octopus' legs when we cut them, then when we stapled them on, and then when we were done!

The octopus is the green plate with pink tentacles.  The Little Big Fella even drew eyes, nose and mouth on it :-)  And the crabs are the egg cups with sparkly pipe cleaner legs.

After all that creativity, the Little Big Fella needed to get destructive!  So it was obviously time to cut something up!  The plastic plate ended up in little pieces less than 1cm square.  Thankfully, the Little Big Fella likes cleaning up if I do it with him, so I held the pan and he brushed all the bits into it.

I put a couple of 3M removable hooks up in his room and strung a line for hanging creatures from and voila!

The octopus is in the middle (I know, they're normally on the ground) and the jellyfish are either side

Here's the crabs and some of our earlier work

And a bit more of the crabs (that really look more like 6-legged spiders but my 3 year old doesn't know that!)
I'm considering making some balloon fish, handprint fish and maybe a couple of other bits and pieces before we change themes.  We'll see what we come up with :-D

Thursday, 27 September 2012

See how they grow!

I realised today that I haven't shown you any updates of our dogs, chickens or garden in a LONG time!  So it's about time right?  ;-)

Here's Frankie (the black male) and Choccie (the brown female).  They're rather excitable little things and like to jump and dig, but they're also lovely companions who follow me around the yard when I'm outside, or just sit nearby or next to us on the couch in the evenings.  The Little Big Fella absolutely adores them!

And here are the chickens!  They're growing their feathers and their cute little personalities.  One of the Orpingtons (the black ones) even comes up to me for a pat when I'm in the chook yard on my own.  We're pretty certain that one of the Orpingtons is a rooster so we'll have to do something about that pretty soon.  The lady we bought them from says we can take him back and swap him but I'm not sure how that would work because when you add a single chicken to the flock they tend to get pecked to death :-(

And here's the garden!  We've moved all of the herbs from the pots into the ground and they are thriving!  As are the pumpkin and zucchini plants.  Probably has something to do with all the horse poo ;-D

Here are our little self-seeded basil plants.  We got a basil plant with our insta-garden but it was already going to seed.  So we planted it anyway, hoping that some of the seeds would take... and they have!  Yay!

And our first tomato is getting big and yummy!  We normally grow cherry tomatoes, so this will be a big change for us :-D

At the front of this photo and in front of tomato bushes at the back are our sugar loaf cabbages, with tarragon in between (goes GREAT with chicken or fish!).

In the front left corner is the oregano, which has grown about as much as it did in a year in the pot.  Next along, with the grey-ish foliage is watermelon (flowers, no fruit yet), and behind that the zucchini.  At the back, next to the wood panel, is the pumpkins and sticking out of them is the banana tree.

And look at these little babies!  We've been eating fresh zucchini for a week or two now and they're delicious!  

Just the other day the Big Fella called me over and showed me these - little baby mangoes on our mango tree!  And there's HEAPS of them!!!!  I'm SO excited and I'm hoping that at least some of them survive and become that delicious, juicy, smooth orange fruit!

Can you see all the little green buds among the dead flowers?  They're baby mangoes!!! 

So now you're up-to-date with all the growing things in our yard :-D

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Argh me hearty!

You guessed it!  We went to a pirate party today!  The Little Big Fella and I dressed up as pirates, only to discover when we got there that none of the other adults had dressed up!  Embarrassed?  Only for a fraction of a second... I love a good dressup and I looked pretty good ;-)

My son is such an anti-socialite sometimes.  He begs to play with his friends, or go to someone's house, then plays all by himself!  Actually, it's normally only in larger groups - if it's one-on-one he's pretty much fine, or even a group of 2 or 3, but after that he's very much a loner.

It doesn't bother me that the Little Big Fella likes to play alone, but I do wonder how it will affect him later in life.  How will he go at Kinder next year?  How will he go at school?  Will he get picked on for playing on his own?  Or will he be different when I'm not around anyway?

Our chickens have started to become a little more adventurous.  They spent last night out in their chicken house rather than in a box in the house (it was a really warm night last night).  And today they've been "flying" off the landing of the chook house, down into their little yard.  I've had to try to catch them several times and get them back up into their house.

So this afternoon, the Big Fella decided it was time to teach them to use the ramp up to the chook house.  So we caught them all, 1 or 2 at a time, and helped them walk up the ramp.  I think they were slightly traumatised by being caught and handled so much, but after a few times, they seemed to get the hang of it.

So hopefully tomorrow when we go out to check on them, they'll either be in the chook house, or happily scratching around on the ground and able to get themselves "upstairs" without any worries.

One of the things the Big Fella did today was to move our shade roller from over the little verandah to over the kitchen window.  It's quite hot in the kitchen in the mornings and he has a shade sail he wants to put out over the verandah (hopefully soon because it was HOT in the lounge this afternoon without that outside blind).

I'm looking forward to seeing how the kitchen feels in the morning with less of the sun streaming in.  Maybe it'll even be cool enough to stick my hands in hot water and wash the dishes ;-)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Summer already???

It was 33 degrees inside my house today.  33 degrees!!!!  (That's Celsius, by the way - about 91 degrees Fahrenheit.)  And it's only September!!!

And even though I've lived in Queensland for the past 6 years and am somewhat acclimatised, I'm worried!  If this is what it's like in September (which is normally one of my favourite months), what is it going to be like mid-Summer???

Yes, we do have air conditioners in the bedrooms, and they'll certainly be a relief, but I don't actually like living in a temperature controlled environment.  And I don't want to pay exorbitant electricity bills either.  Yep, I'm cheap ;-D

I decided around lunchtime to pull out the Little Big Fella's "swimming pool".  It's maybe a 1.2m circle and about 15-20cm deep.  But it's served us well.  And just as I was about to do this, the little girl from next door started playing with the Little Big Fella through the fence.  So I asked her mum if she could come and play in the "pool" too.  She was over here in a flash!  :-D

They happily played together for the whole afternoon, including having a hold of the chickens, having some fruit and a sandwich, and playing in the sandpit (yes, they were still wet!).  It was nice to sit in my chair in the shade and watch them play (occasionally suffering the little splashes that came my way).

I suspect water is going to be a fairly big part of our summer.  And probably staying indoors in the middle of the day.

Oh!  I went to a Nutrimetics party last week (haven't been to one of those in a LONG time) and the lady had a machine that shows the state of your skin.  For example, white is the dead skin cells, orange is oil, and brown is skin damage.  Surprise, surprise, my skin is seriously sun damaged!  Guess who's been wearing her sunscreen and hat every day since!

It's not that I don't wear sunscreen or hats, it's just that I don't wear them all the time and I haven't worn them at all over winter.  My poor skin is paying for it and will probably pay for it as I get older too!  Bummer :-(

The Big Fella is going to be home for the next 4 days (in theory) so the list of things to do is long ;-).  A bit of yard work, okay, a lot of yard work!  It's a mess out there!  Cleaning out the shed, fixing my poor car... and that's before we add in anything food related :-D

So goodnight, keep cool (or warm if you're in another state or country), and don't forget to tell your loved ones how special they are to you - they can't read your mind ;-)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Photo catch up!

Yay!  I love photo catch up posts!

I was going through my phone photos and decided that there are a few that you guys might like to see :-)  So here we go!

The Little Big Fella needed a new helmet because the dogs chewed his other one to pieces (yes, I'm rolling my eyes!).  So we went to the nearest "big" town and found a shop that sells them.  I think I mentioned our visit in this post.  The Big Fella thought it looked ridiculous, the Little Big Fella was determined that this was the one he wanted.  The Little Big Fella won :-)

The chickens when we first brought them home.

The chickens hanging out in the chook house.
Our chickens are growing!  We've started putting them outside in the chicken house during the day and they seem to love it.  We did have them running around in the chicken yard but they're still pretty small and got through the fence!  There's also a gap at the back of the chicken house and I think a couple of them fell through it the other day because they were under the chicken house when I went to check on them.  I've since put a block there so they can't fall down.

This afternoon, I was weeding the vege garden and looked over to see the Little Big Fella inside the chook house with the chickens!!!  I'm not really sure how he got in there because the door space is pretty small!  The poor chickens were a little freaked out.

Later on in the day though, he was sitting on the little landing and had one of them perched on his hand quite happily.  Those chooks are going to be quite used to being handled!!!

The dogs, Frankie (the black male) and Choccie (the brown female), desperately want to play with the chickens!  Here they are eagerly hoping to be allowed into the chicken yard :-)  They have actually "met" the chickens but until the chooks are bigger, it's definitely a case of separation!!!

And finally, I've been having some delicious meals so I thought I'd share them with you too :-)  As I've said before, I'm doing Fit Yummy Mummy and the main focus with food is to have a protein (lean meat, legumes, eggs etc) and produce (fruit and vegetables) every time you eat.

Breakfast the other day was a bunch of yummy, fresh veges cooked in the frypan (just with spray oil), then crack a couple of eggs in, season and add a bit of fresh herbs or chilli.  Instead of mixing it all up in a mess to cook it, I finished this one off under the grill.  Mmmmmmmm!

This was my "snack plate" lunch the other day... it got a little out of control!  A bit of smoked pork, some cheese, leftover steamed veges and some fresh veges.  SO filling and the green beans were amazing because they were so fresh!

This was today's lunch.  A wholegrain wrap with salad and more of that delicious smoked pork (thanks honey!) with a little dijonnaise.  I had a little trouble wrapping it up but no trouble eating it :-D

And finally, tonight's dinner, courtesy of Delicious magazine!  It's spicy meatballs in tomato sauce with a "little" side salad (it's funny how my "little" salads keep growing until they take over the plate!).  The meatballs were made with some garlic, parsley, rosemary and pancetta, as well as the mince, tomato paste and egg.  It tasted amazing and would go well on pasta or garlicky toasted sourdough!

So there you go!  A few little bits and pieces from the last week-ish.  Hope you enjoyed it :-)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sun damage and stubborness

We've had a big couple of days around here!  Yesterday was filled with an early start, playgroup and a trip to our nearest major town (an hour away).  And today included a Nutrimetics party at a friends' place, a bit of housework, a movie and a big play at the park.

Our little peep-peeps are growing quickly and quite enjoying the time they get outside in their chook yard.  Unfortunately, because they are so young and the chook yard has no roof, and the fencing is a little too widely spaced so they could get through it, they don't get to go out there alone so they only get 15-30 minutes outside at this stage.  We're considering an alternative to their current box so that they can be out in the chook yard by themselves and still be safe.

At the Nutrimetics party today the consultant had an ultra-violet box that shows the condition of your skin.  I have some pretty serious sun damage, which on the one hand was surprising, and on the other a bit obvious.  I mean, the Little Big Fella and I are outside pretty much every day unless it's raining and I've gotten out of the habit of using sunscreen.  It was a bit confronting though.

The main reason for our shopping adventure yesterday was to get a new bike helmet for the Little Big Fella.  His old one fell apart - the plastic covers came off - and then the dogs chewed on the styrofoam shell.  The best place to get a helmet was the toy shop so the Little Big Fella was seriously distracted!  Eventually we got him to focus enough to choose a helmet.  He chose a Bumblebee (from Transformers) helmet.

The Big Fella was not impressed!  See, when the Little Big Fella tried it on, the helmet, which is shaped like a car, looked SO odd on top of his head!  The Big Fella tried to encourage him to a different, more plain helmet but the Little Big Fella was adamant!!!  He wanted this one!  In the end I had to convince the Big Fella that the Little Big Fella had decided on what he wanted and, as we'd given him the choice, we should go with what he'd decided.

This afternoon the Little Big Fella wore his new helmet to the park and all the kids thought his helmet was cool!

My son has a fairly strong temperament.  This is a constant source of clashes between us and I have to decide what's worth fighting for almost every day.  But the thing that encourages me is that he is more likely to be a leader than a follower and less likely to be swayed by peer pressure.  That makes me proud!

Not that I had much to do with that part of his personality - that has the Big Fella written all over it :-D

The Big Fella has 3 days off starting tomorrow so it's likely to be busy around here :-D  I wonder what we'll get up to next???

Monday, 10 September 2012

Fear of failure

Hmmm, I'm not really sure where this post will go but let's go on an adventure in blog-land together!

I've just completed Week 1 of a 10 week challenge with Fit Yummy Mummy and overall did pretty well.  Oh my goodness was I sore on Saturday and Sunday though!!!  Apparently that means I'm working my body hard and building those muscles, but it just feels exhausting and sore :-)

On Friday Holly sent us an e-mail asking us: "If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?"

You know it took me all weekend to come up with an answer.  See, I don't really have anything that I want to do.  Isn't that just a horrible thing to say???  I don't have a bucket list, I don't have any particular passions.  I'm just coasting along in life with no real direction.

And, on the whole, I'm pretty happy with that.  I like where I live, I love my husband and son, and I'm living in the present of my life, trying to be the best  wife, mum, home executive ;-) that I can be!

But I am afraid.

I am afraid that I'll cause irreparable damage to my relationships with my husband and son.  I think it's pretty unlikely, but still this fear lurks in the background.

I am afraid that I'll look back at the end of my life and wonder why I didn't do anything with it.

I am afraid that I am failing as a human being.  Although, I probably couldn't tell you what a successful human being is.

So then I wonder, if I were to change my life, what would I do with it?

Would I study?  If so, what?  Maybe graphic design, or nursing/midwifery, or physiotherapy, or massage.

Would I travel?  If so, where?  Europe is appealing, as is much of Asia, and I wouldn't mind going on a cruise ship one day.  Oh!  And the Rocky Mountaineer!

Would I start some kind of business, become amazingly successful and decide to be a philanthropist?  If so, what kind of business would I do?  Especially from here!

Would I become an advocate of some kind?  If so, what kind of cause would I want to support and could I be passionate about it for a long time?  And would my passion for it drive everyone around me nuts???  ;-)

I think one of my biggest problems, when it comes to these kinds of questions, is that I'm a pragmatist.  I am completely practical and even though some of these ideas are appealing, they're not practical at this point in time.

Dreams are important though and I think the more I ponder, the more likely I am to come upon what my real dream is.  And it will shine like a beacon in my mind's eye and I won't be able to resist making it happen.

So I will dream and ponder... and let you know if I discover it because I won't be able to help myself :-D

Friday, 7 September 2012

Peep-peeps and chookns

The Big Fella has always been really keen to have his own chickens - for eggs and possibly for meat.  So far we've had two attempts.

A couple of years ago we got 3 chickens.  One disappeared.  Then another.  It turned out that the butcher birds got them.  We decided to get a duck to keep the last one company.  The last one turned out to be a rooster.  It didn't survive very long after that.  The duck went to live with a bunch of other ducks and seemed quite happy every time we saw it.

The Big Fella got a book a little while ago that goes through the specifics of raising farm animals - chickens, sheep, cows and pigs.  He's particularly interested in raising his own pigs to then make his own smallgoods.  But he got excited again about the possibility of having chickens.  He'd arranged to get four "layers" from a lady at work, so he built the chicken yard.  The deal with the lady at work didn't come through as expected.

Then last week the Big Fella went and got a chook from a guy up the road who has a million of them (not really, but it seems like that sometimes).  He caught one and put it in the box then caught another, went to put it in the box and the first one flew out and away.  So he brought the 2nd one home.

He put it in the chook yard and it... flew over the fence into our back neighbour's yard where the dogs chased it until it flew to their next door neighbour's yard.  They have a little border collie puppy who proceeded to round the chook up and bite off it's tail feathers before the chook was finally caught and returned to us!

The poor chook was obviously traumatised and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find a way out of the chook yard (with new fencing wire added to the top section).

In the morning the chook was gone.

The Little Big Fella was absolutely devastated!  The Big Fella was annoyed.

We ended up going a lady's place just out of town.  She breeds several "varieties" of chickens and had some in the incubator.  So we had a look around and a chat and decided we'd get some chicks once they hatched.

The lady called us yesterday afternoon and asked if we'd like to come and choose our chicks.  So this morning the Big Fella and the Little Big Fella went out there to choose our chicks and bring them home.  They ended up choosing three Orpingtons and two Rhode Island Reds.  Here's what they'll look like when they're grown:

The Little Big Fella is in love!  He hasn't been away from the chicks all day, except when I practically dragged him out for lunch with friends.  Everywhere we went (we had some errands to do after lunch) he told everyone about his "peep-peeps" and that they're going to grow into "chookns".

Here's a few pics from throughout the day :-)

Because they're so small (I think they only hatched 24-48 hours ago) we have to keep them indoors for a few weeks.  We also got a nice warm globe for one of our reading lights so they can keep warm under it overnight.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to take them outside for a little while and introduce them to the chook yard.  We introduced them to the dogs this afternoon (very carefully) and the dogs are very interested in them but behaved really well.

So hopefully it'll be "third time's the charm" and this lot will survive, not be roosters and start laying eggs for us in the near future!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Under the Sea

I mentioned recently that I'd be sharing one of the effects of my re-think about being a stay-at-home mum.  Well, today's the day!!!

When I was little, I dreamed of having a themed bedroom.  Maybe a bunk bed with my sister that was built like a jungle cubby, complete with a rope bridge to climb up and a slide to get down.  Fake trees and vines all over the walls and ceiling and a few birds hanging around.  Maybe even a mural painted all over the walls and ceiling!!!  I wanted to feel like our room was a different place.

I've been thinking about similar things for the Little Big Fella's room, but on a slightly smaller scale.  And in creating that fun space, we could learn things along the way.

So last week I collected a few things from the cheap shop and the other day the Little Big Fella and I made some hot glue gun glitter fish.

Some what???

Hot glue gun glitter fish!  We drew fish on coloured paper, then used the hot glue gun to put blobs of glue on them, then tipped glitter on the glue.  Hot glue gun glitter fish!  Ta da!

""I'll take a photo of you Mum!

 The Little Big Fella grabbed my camera for this shot :-D

So we made the fish!  I'd also found some other fishy things around the house that we'd done previously - a fishing game where I'd made paper fish and put paper clips on their noses so we could "hook" them with a paper roll fishing rod, a picture we'd coloured a long time ago, and a seagull that we'd made after playing with one at a local event.

Over the last few days we've been re-creating the Little Big Fella's room, watching under the sea movies and reading fishy books :-)

The entry to our Under the Sea world :-)

Blue cellophane waves really add to the feel of the room
(and with the temps starting to hot up, they make it feel cool like the water too)

The "seaweed" is some raffia, the cut out fish are from the game, and the coloured paper is the hot glue gun glitter fish.
And the toys are normally in the blue box :-)

And our seagull (who will have to move when we need to use the fan :-D)
I've got some other ideas to add to the room and heaps of ideas for the future (jungle, space, beach, pirates...).  So far it's fun and the Little Big Fella loves his under water world.

In other news of the day ;-)...

The Big Fella made some garlic pork sausages today that taste awesome.  I helped him stuff them into the skins and then he smoked them in our new smokehouse/BBQ.

AND... yesterday we had a bit of time in the garden pulling weeds, planting the herbs out from the pots into the vege patch, mowing, whipper snipping, fertilising... it was exhausting!  But it's looking great:

So that's what we're up to at the moment.  And I'm a bit exhausted so I'm heading to bed :-D  Then on to the next episode in the adventures of ScooterShell and the Big Fellas!!! ;-)