Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Doings and Makings

Thank you for all the lovely comments on fb and here about Smallest Boy's birthday cake.  It was certainly time consuming but well worth it.  I am going to need to do some kind of course though, as I make the same mistakes every time and still can't work out how to avoid them! 

Well Smallest Boy is quite determined that he is still 2.  I'm not sure what the problem with 3 is but frankly he is sticking with 2, thank you very much.  He received a parcel from our Fabulous Fairy God Mother in Scotland today.  She has a gift for being able to give just the right present (in fact I received a truly gorgeous one from her myself yesterday).  Smallest got a sticker book of cars and trucks.  I had only twigged to the fact he likes vehicles 2 weeks ago when I took along some books to read during music lessons.  He ignored all the ones on animals, jungles and insects and went straight for the one on trucks!  Gold Star Auntie C! 

We spent a long time outside sticking and repositioning! I was in trouble for thinking that when he was finished, I could use his book to prop up my camera to play with the self-timer!

I finished off a Bamboo and Wool scarf for a friend's birthday, then made up a few of these little face washers, inspiration found from Catherine here, pattern found here.  I made them up really quickly in an organic cotton.  I'm thinking 7 of them tied up with a ribbon could be a cute present. 

I must head to my bed.  We all have to be out of the house by 7.15am, packed lunches for all, not to mention all the football kits and music books that will be required after school and need to be ready before we all leave.  Good night all xx

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Smallest Boy was 3 today.  He was a bit sad that he'll never be 2 again.

Trying out his new Lightning McQueen scooter 

Manic Martians!

Despite the rain, we managed a BBQ lunch with some friends in the garden, then cheese and biscuits with more friends for tea. 

He went to bed exhausted but happy. 


Earth Hour 2011

This is what I got up to during Earth Hour.  I do love playing with my camera!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


This is my first attempt at Amigurumi (the number of times I spelt that wrong and had to be corrected by Google!).

He is (loosely - my apologies!) based on this pattern by a lovely, very talented, friend from University, Emma Varnam.  Smallest Boy had been invited to a 3rd birthday party but I have had ALL of the children at home for one or both of the last 2 days with headaches and temperatures, and couldn't get to the shops to buy a present.  I had decided that I will try and make as many presents as I can this year anyway, but boys are tricky.  I had a stash of wool and remembered Emma's gorgeous patterns so decided to give one a go. 

Well, I have been doing crochet for about 9 months now and figured "How hard can rounds of Double Crochet be?".  I confess that this little fellow nearly reduced me to Bad Words.  Even  looking at his picture now I'm noticing more mistakes!  If I had thought about it earlier (other than 5pm last night) I would have bought some felt for his eye and tooth rather than cutting up one of Smallest's old t-shirts at 9.30 this morning! 

Thankfully The Birthday Boy was pleased when he opened his present, calling his Mum (the lovely Rachel of Polly's Dolly and artillumina) to come and look, and was even spotted playing with it and a fantastic hippo made from recycled flipflops later on!

My Boys were also fairly impressed and are now putting in orders for their favourite Pokemon characters...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Again, for those of you not fans of my Granny-habit, you have been warned!

First of all, the cushion has been finished for a while.  I'm really quite pleased with myself!

The front...

the back...

The colours make me think of Chocolate and Raspberry Ice-Cream - yum.

I've managed some Granny Squares...

I then had a serious case of the "Wanties"  when I saw this gorgeous 100% wool crocheted shawl.  I figured I could have ago at making it myself, but whether or not I could do it for cheaper I wasn't sure.  I had bought a few of these balls of yarn in the sale this week and thought I could do a trial run with 1x100g ball for Miss M.

I think it turned out ok for a 6 year old girl!

She's a cheeky monkey!

My conclusion was that if I can get hold of a more neutral colourway, then I could make myself one for about 1/3 of the price!  Chuffed?  Oh yes!  All I did was chain until I thought it was long enough then (UK)triple crocheted, reducing by one at each end.  I also made a couple of other scarves in 2 different colour ways, one while I was babysitting for a friend's 2 girls who both took a fancy to them!  Each one took about an hour to do. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I've long believed in the fact that the Full Moon affects the behaviour of small children.  I remember talking to No1 Boy's teachers, about 6 years ago now, and saying that I was sure his behaviour was cyclical.  At that point I hadn't worked out that his behaviour was directly related to the moon.  I also remember them asking me if it wasn't my responses that were cyclical!  Fair enough, but no!  I eventually twigged that his behaviour got worse a couple of days before the full moon then got better (relatively speaking) when the full moon had passed  (No2 Boy was unaffected, but No3 Boy is, not to the same extent, but again the behaviour is noticeably worse for a couple of days.).  I was reminded of this this morning when The Child had a melt down, was sent to his room to "CHILL OUT!!" then came out, apologised and when asked what was wrong sobbed "I don't know!".  Sure enough tonight is a Full Moon, in fact the closest the moon has been to the earth in nearly 20 years. 

I find the subject quite fascinating.  I'm interested in the idea of Lunar Gardening (not that I'm much of a gardener!), even Lunar hairdressing!  With all the natural activity going on in the world just now, there are a fair few Doomsayers out there predicting the End of the World.  According to some, this particular Full Moon could cause more earthquakes, floods etc.  Thankfully the Experts think not.  Perhaps some slightly higher tides and some crazy children though!

I'd love to hear other people's theories...

Friday, March 18, 2011

TGI Friday

It's been a funny old week.
Husband is a University Professor who works, on average, a 75 hour week.  For this reason he felt perfectly happy to justify taking a couple of hours on a Monday morning, since he had no lectures, seminars or meetings, to take his lovely wife to the cinema, now that Smallest Boy has finally settled at Pre-School.  Due to far too many children, with far too many activites that finsh far too late at night, we don't go out for evenings and the thought of organising a babysitter at the weekend is just too hard.  Unfortunately for me, he only ever wants to watch films that he thinks he'll be able to use in his classes, which generally don't spell "Fun Movie Date" to me.  Miraculously we were both keen to see The Adjustment Bureau.  We liked it even better when we used a voucher that gave us one free ticket.  We both enjoyed the film and, as expected, he saw many more layers than I did.  He excitedly explained how many different ways he would be able to use it all the way home! 

The day ended with the 2 Big Boys coming home from Youth Group with a massive armful of someone's leftover wedding flowers!  I manged to cut them down to a manageable size and took a couple of pics.  No2 Boy was pleased to think he might get one over on Dad who never thinks to bring home flowers!

I have to say it was an unusual, but very nice way to start the week.  Since then I've felt very "meh".  I'm a bit cheesed off that I'm apparently virtually unemployable here.  Whenever I have spoken to anyone at the Department of Education, they just say "Oh, look, we don't really teach that here".  I'm fast discovering that I'm not actually qualified to do anything anymore and will need re-training or different qualifications altogether.  That had always been my plan until Smallest Boy surprised us all with his appearance and threw a few spanners into the works!  So I need to earn some pennies but am rather uncertain as to how to go about this at the moment. 

It's also been pretty full-on with activities during the week.  The kids have Youth Group x2, tennis training x2, tennis comps, music x2, football x2, cubs and tutoring, and then a school disco thrown into the mix this week, not to mention homework.  Husband gets home at 6pm, has dinner, helps with kids bed-time then works until our bed-time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely NOT complaining, I love buzzing around, the kids have fun and exercise and more often than not it's all very social, but when you're already feeling "meh" it kind of adds to that.

Smallest and I have had a couple of nice walks with Dog at a local park, done a mountain of grocery shopping, played with Lego and watched Toy Story 2  a g a i n.  I've managed a bit of baking and a bit of crochet.  I was really pleased to see that Sarah London has extended her Crochet a Rainbow to include New Zealand and Japan and got cracking on those Granny Squares. 

The Big Kids had today off for a local Show Holiday.  We manged to clear Miss M's wardrobe of some items to be passed on, the Boys (sort of ) tidied their room, then spent the rest of the day playing with friends, colouring in, baking and wii-ing briefly.  It means that tomorrow morning should be a more relaxed affair before Husband goes off to play football, then 2 lots of matches on Sunday - phew!

Oh, and I managed to get my hair cut.  Just in case I might happen to get an interview, I figured I should maybe try and look like a grown-up!

So it's now after 9pm on a Friday evening, Husband is working and I'm off to find some mindless tv and a cup of tea.  Lovely!

Edited to add that I forgot to mention the vomiting toddler at midnight last night...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crochet Goodness

We've been a little distracted by the news from Japan over the last few days.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected, and for safety for all those trying to deal with the awful situation in the nuclear reactors.  I wonder how many more places will feel the effects of the Pacific Plate shifting about.

Well I had promised some crochet in my last post so if you can't cope with the Granny-ness you might want to give this post a miss!

I thought I would let you peek at my Crochet Corner.

As I have said before, we are still, 2 years on, living in our 6-month rental.  We had intended to buy/build our own house but for one reason and another, we're still here!  We really like the house, very convenient for Miss M's school (next door) and for bus routes for all the boys, fantastic garden,  but really much too small for us all.  The Big Boys often hang out in the garage for some peace and quiet, but I have a corner of the lounge which I hadn't considered until the Christmas Tree was taken down.  As you can see, I often have to turf Small People out of my chair. 

So having got ridiculously frustrated by Miss M's blanket, I now have a number of bits and pieces on the go.  The reason for the frustration was realizing that it was really too small and that I would need to make another 120 little circles.  It's not really a problem, just that I had thought I was nearly done.  I needed something quick and easy to cheer myself up so managed a couple more neck-warmers. 

Then I was inspired by Miss M's finger knitting (see this post).  I had bought some funky yarn in a sale thinking I could make her a scarf, only to find it was nigh on impossible the crochet the stuff! 

  When chained it actually looks ok.  I wore it after taking this pic wrapped round a couple more times, it looked fine but acted like a scarf and was far too warm for the weather this week.

My next project was a cushion cover.  I had seen some lovely ones on flickr and fancied something to match our sofa.   The squares are from Alice's Grandala pattern.

Having spent about half an hour, sitting cross-legged on the floor in Spotlight, playing with colours I went for these ones. 

The front is finished and the back will be done soon, need more yarn and thankfully Spotlight are obliging by having 20% off for the next 2 days. 

I'm also working on another blanket.  I wanted to have a go at a ripple with some lovely organic cotton.  I'm not sure about the green, but it's really soft and light. 

Last thing was this hat. 

I generally do NOT like pics of myself, but needed to model this one.  The pattern is from The Happy Hooker and took about an hour to work up.  A friend had asked for a red beanie to wear when she does some market stalls, so I'm hoping this one might do the job...  if not, I found a heap of patterns online to try!

Some good news,  my lovely friend who co-ordinates Make Space in The Hunter St Mall, has said she will put some of my 'creations' ( I say that jokingly!) in the shop!  How exciting!  So if you fancy a neck-warmer as it gets cooler, then head on in to Make Space!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Counting Your Blessings

My Mother used to sing a little gospel chorus to my brother and myself when we were little which started like this "Count your blessings, name them one by one".  I was humming it to myself in the car earlier today as I thought how 'blessed' I am.  I am very fortunate in that I tend to be a cup-half-full type anyway, but every now and then I like to remind myself to "Count my blessings" and try and remind myself to be a blessing to others in turn, "Pay-it-Forward" style.     

It was my birthday last week and I was reminded that I have people I can call "Friends" all over the world, literally!  I have been blessed with good friendships in all the different places in which I have lived.  Part of that is due to the fact that I tend to just butt in to people's conversations until they give in and include me!

I live somewhere near beautiful beaches, where the sun shines a bit more than it did in Edinburgh!  Beaches aren't everyone's cup of tea, Husband for one, doesn't get the fascination, but I love them.  I'm not really one for lying on them, but walking by them, having a coffee with friends at them, watching the power of the waves, swimming at them are things I love. 

My kids drive me demented.  I'm not the chilled out Earth-mother type I always hoped I would be, but sometimes (!) they are great!  They have always had a very dry sense of humour which Smallest Boy (2)already demonstrates.  This evening I asked him which was our car as we walked back with our shopping bags, and quick as a flash he pointed to a red car a few spaces away from ours and said "Let's take that one" with a totally straight face.  When I laughed and said he was funny, he replied "I know"!  They have endless energy as demonstrated by this trampolining and 2 lots of tennis lessons this evening.

We have a roof over our heads.  Ok it's really about 4 rooms too small for us and we only ever meant to stay for 6 months, but it's convenient, our Landlord is great and we don't know what the future holds.

Whether or not it turns out to be the best move, we have had the fantastic opportunity to expand our horizons and move, albeit temporarily, to the other side of the world.  What a great experience for our kids (and us too) to see other parts of the world, hear different opinions, try new things,  all of which will help to form the people they will become, hopefully open-minded, understanding, caring individuals who are confident and brave.   

Family that I love and miss, but who still bother to Skype with me regularly and abuse me on Facebook!

That's probably enough for today, I had intended to mention some Crochet, but I'll keep that for another day.

Give it a go - Count YOUR Blessings, I dare you.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Jim The Echidna

Here are the pictures of the cake that members of My Gang made yesterday.  I think they did a beautiful job!

Husband has only ever baked once before - this time last year - so was a little nervous when the kids presented him with their choice of cake.  Especially when in the Women's Weekly book it was actually an ice-cream cake.  I explained that it would be simple enough to translate to a cake and all that he had to do was follow the recipe.  I left the house to make sure I wouldn't feel tempted to help out!

Can you tell they had a ball?

Can you see Smallest Boy's cheek?


Jim the Echidna!

Thank you to all my Lovely Gang xxxxxx

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finger Knitting

Miss M has a fantastic teacher this year.  Mr C. has great sympathy for Steiner education so the children are benefitting from a balance of this approach with their more traditional Public School (State School) education.  She is having a great time sawing up trees that have been felled in the playground, filling the Wormery and so on. 

This week she has learnt to Finger Knit. 

She showed me what to do and I tried to explain that it was very like Crochet but without the hook, but she was having none of it! 

So she raided my wool stash and made herself a few more wrist bands. 

She is now up to 7 and I'm running out of wool!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birthdays - Chaos Style!

Today has been my birthday.  The last one before the Big 4-Oh. 

It started well enough with 5 children bouncing on my head, forcing presents on me before I had opened my eyes.  I was very impressed to hear Smallest Boy's perfect rendition of 'Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey and you smell like one too'.  He is 2.

Husband had arranged to stay home to work so did all the packed lunches and helped to chase the Big Ones off to the bus.   At Miss M's school I saw some Lovely Ladies who felt that the right thing to do on a birthday is to do coffee/lunch maybe even both!  I explained that Husband might feel a little put out if I disappeared and left him with Smallest Boy all day, but said coffee would be great!  2 hours later I got home, he'd got some work done, and we decided on a wee jaunt for lunch. 

We LOVE our Entertainment Books in this part of the world (discounts to lovely cafes, restaurants, cinemas, bowling, skating, you name it!) and thankfully still had a voucher for the place we wanted to go.  The weather was gorgeous, the food delicious and the view fantastic, Smallest Boy was beautifully well behaved and so was Husband!

All was well after school, all homeworks finished, piano practise done, usual small amount of scrapping etc, until No3 Boy said "I think I've got nits". 

Just the words I wanted to hear. 

I did a quick check and sure enough.  Joy.  An hour later he had been combed to within an inch of his life and spent 20 mins with foul smelling potion on his head.  I dutifully informed his friends' Mums by text (and later more generally on fb!),  then rolled my sleeves up to start on everyone else...

An hour later everyone had been dealt with, only 2 were affected but all were doused in the potion just in case.  The poor Dog didn't know where to put his nose!

They did eventually go to bed at which point I cracked open the Max Brenner chocs.

I've been promised cake at the weekend when everyone is less busy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crazy Weather

According to the Nice Man on the radio this morning, we were to have 34C and 90% humidity today.  Well, we hit 38C and I think he was spot on with the humidity!  I have learnt to cope with the heat.  Being a girl from the UK, most recently the East Coast of Scotland, I expected to struggle with it.  However it really is the humidity that's the killer!

This morning I got up, had breakfast, made 4 packed lunches, chased 3 people out , had a shower, walked to the wee school and came home needing another shower!  It was roasting by 9.30am but outside there was a fantastic wind which I took as a signal to wash as many beds as possible. 

I washed 2 lots, including mattress protectors, and had them all dried by lunchtime - fantastic.  It was like being under a huge hair dryer.  I spent the morning doing bits and pieces under the air conditioner that I have tried very hard not to use.  I felt a bit bad for not being outside so walked the dog to collect Miss M from school.  This just about killed Dog, Smallest and me!  Soo hot. 

However within literally a minute of the boys getting home the heavens opened and the wind whipped up, No2 Boy's friend said a branch nearly fell on his head after leaving our house!  I had just hung out the last sheet and had to race to bring it back in as the skies rumbled.  It came in wetter than it had gone out.  I love a good thunder storm, especially when it brings a drop in temperature of 15 degrees. 

Thankfully it had all cleared by the time No3 Boy had to go for his tennis lesson, but the roads were covered in debris from the trees and we had to avoid branches as we drove.  The wind was crazy and has partly blown over a section of our fence. 

Aussie weather is nothing if not extreme!