Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Clothing the Giraffe

Munchkin has had another growth spurt. I decided this week that the time had come to buy him some more trousers, when I realised that he had only one pair that actually fit. With the weather turning a little cool as we head into autumn properly, it seems a bit mean to expect him to keep wearing shorts! So we headed out to Zero to Five, our local second hand baby store. An hour later, we emerged, Munchkin having had a rather nice play in the special baby play area with all those toys he doesn't have at home, and Mummy having had a rather trying time trying to find trousers that fit around the waist, in the leg, and in the bum. We managed to find 6 pairs. 2 are lighter, for using now, and the other 4 for the really cool weather. All are probably a tad on the long side...Mummy being a little paranoid about him growing too much over winter and having trousers halfway up his legs! We were able to use a gift voucher some wonderful person gave us recently, which was wonderful. Cost $32.60 for 6 pairs of trousers. I'm pretty happy with that.

The other two pairs were already in the wash again by the time I got to take the photo!


Wednesday, 30th March, 2011

The Joys of Free Food

We have hardly had to buy fruit this past month, and it is such a blessing. Our grocery budget has been really tight (as has every other area of our budget) with income being down, so I've been trying to make things last and find creative ways to use what we have.

What we have are:

Golden Delicious apples and red grapes from The Big Garden (aka my parents)

Blueberries picked from a friend's place and generously given to us for free - little tiny morsels of sweet tang as it was the very end of the season

Feijoas from our local walkway, picked on our morning walk and stashed in the bottom of Munchkin's backpack carrier thing - they are pretty small, but taste just as feijoas should!

How I've used them:

Apple crumble. LOTS and LOTS of apple crumble. A personal favourite of Boyo's. Stewed apple with porridge for Munchkin and I for breakfast most mornings. Fresh apples every now and then (keep forgetting that we can eat them fresh, which is a shame as they are SO good!). They've had some bad codling moth again despite traps. We think we left the first trap up a bit too long, and with the infestation last year things are just going to take time to get it all under control again. So a lot of the fruit is damaged and/or rotting. I hate seeing it go to waste! So there I've been, picking up all the windfall apples that I can before the birds decimate them, and cutting out the bad bits. I've made quite a few crumbles this way. We are just now starting to use the 'good' apples straight off the tree.

Grapes, well you just eat grapes. Munchkin has decided that grapes may just be his new favourite food. Banana is old hat now. Grapes it is! He started off by having small ones squirted into his mouth, then whole grapes but with the skin split a bit first (skin being pretty tough to manage when you're little). Now, he has progressed to being given a small bunch and eating them himself. He does need reminding occassionally that the stem is not actually for eating, but for the most part he manages quite well.

Blueberries have been frozen into 1cup batches in the freezer, to use throughout the winter in smoothies or crumbles or whatever takes our fancy. We have also eaten a fair few, small handfulls from a jar when we are out and about, a few added to the morning porridge, a pile left on a plate for Boyo after work at night. Munchkin has decided he quite likes blueberries too! Mummy just needs to remember to keep him further away from the bushes next time round (he got hold of a leaf and choked a bit). A few of the last fresh blueberries made it into last night's crumble.

Feijoas are just yummy eaten fresh. Munchkin thinks they are pretty good too (Munchkin seems to love all fruit, in fact!). I am thinking apple and feijoa crumble at some point soonish. If they don't all get eaten first.

Now, if only I could find a free source of locally grown bananas!!!?


Wednesday, 30th March, 2011

More Peggy Squares

They just keep coming. Every time I think to myself that there's no way I'm going to have time to do any knitting in the next few weeks or months, I end up surprised to find yet another square finished.

At the moment, there are two reasons for my knitting prowess. Firstly, I often knit a few rows while Munchkin sits on his potty at nappy changes. He is usually pretty happy to sit there and do his business, and play with a rattle or somesuch in between...but I stay close by to retrieve him before he lands face first, or tries to clamber off in search of more interesting occupations (as an aside, he has managed to escape after his bath, completely naked, and crawl madly across the floor on several evenings lately while his poor frazzled mother is trying to get his nappy ready! Off he madly crawls, laughing as he goes, to then turn around and sit there grinning at me, waiting for the's a rather fun game apparently!). So anyway, I get a few rows knitted each day.

Then there is the post-study-wind-down time. I am now studying at night. I avoided this all last year, as I have in the past not studied at all well after about 7pm. I tend to find that I am either brain dead while studying, or that my brain refuses to turn off when I get to bed...either way it doesn't work well. So due to desperation, I have tried again. Day time study I do still do, but there are quite a few days in each week where this doesn't happen for one reason or another. Evenings are more likely to occur. I currently manage about an hour, then spend some wind down time so my brain will go to sleep! Wind down invariably consists of vegetating in front of the 'box' and knitting during the ad breaks. So I get a few rows done then too!

The result of my recent labours:

I am really quite chuffed. Now I just need to find a decently large amount of time to get all the finished squares out and start putting them together!


Wednesday, 30th March, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Late Harvests

I planted a couple of zucchini plants at the end of February, hoping that they might just give us a few fruit before the cooler weather sets in. The two we had earlier in the year grew crazy wild (per usual) and produced lots of fruit, but they end up getting destroyed by mildew after a few months. One is actually still producing; I picked a whopper off it this week that had been overlooked. The other has already been pulled out though. So I figured a later harvest might be handy. I honestly doubted whether I had got them in the ground in time. Last year I was too late and we missed out. But I have already picked a fruit off the green zucchini, and was very impressed to see multiple tiny fruit forming on the yellow one when I visited the garden earlier this week.

I don't really 'like' zucchini, I must admit. But they are hard to resist as a gardener, as they are generally so easy to grow and produce well. I have worked out though, that zucs go well with other veges - in quiche, casserole, or soup - because they are fairly tasteless vegetables so blend in well with the other veges. The other two ways I like to eat them are stir-fried (so they don't go all yucky gooey mushy!) or raw in a salad (yes, you can do that!).

Here is a snap shot of our two late harvest plants at the beginning of March. They are at least double this size now! That's the only major drawback of growing zucchini in a smaller garden - they do have a tendency to lean, or ramble, or otherwise take up space as they get older! But hey, I shouldn't be too picky about something that provides us with so much food.


Saturday, 26th March, 2011

Where's the Baby?

On a recent visit to my parents-in-law, Munchkin had a much-needed nap in their cot, which has seen over 30 years of babies and is still going strong! It is a little smaller than a standard cot nowadays, but oh, so cute! My mother-in-law kindly makes it up every time they are expecting a grandbaby visit. I came in to check how he was doing, and wondered where on earth he had got to.

He doesn't usually end up burrowed like this. The usual routine at home seems to be creeping 'up' the bed and sleeping sideways across the headboard, far away from any carefully prepared blankets. I am rather glad for sleepng bags so I know he is at least semi-warm until I find and rearrange him! In this case I think he simply unfolded the sheet where it had been nicely tucked over the blanket, and wah-lah, disappearing baby act!

I fished him out. Or rather, very delicately and quietly fished the sheet out from under him until his face was clear, and then left him to the rest of his much-needed sleep.


Saturday, 26th March, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Can I Count the Onions?

I was cooking dinner last night, and found myself wondering if I can count the onions too.
This might sound like a rather odd thought, so let me explain...

Usual dinner practice is to include meat and three veg, or at any rate I try to have at least three different veges in the evening meal as we don't eat enough of them. I used to think that preparing meals was hard with a newborn. Well, I obviously hadn't tried doing it with a crawling 10month old, a husband out at polytech, and a deadline (Munchkin needing food and bed!). This leads us to last night's dinner. I had the makings of spaghetti bolognaise on the stove, and had managed to find frozen (or rather, defrosted, heated) corn and some carrot sticks. But I was lacking inspiration and lacking time. Munchkin was already disolving and had required feeding bits of bread while sitting on the kitchen floor to get him through to dinner time. He usually wants to eat about 5pm, and Boyo didn't get home till 5:30pm, and dinner was ready maybe 10minutes later. Munchkin did really well to last at all.

I found myself wondering if I could count the onions. As in, can I count onions as one vegetable? That would mean I had three, you see! Onions, carrots and corn. I suppose if I did that though, I could also count the fresh tomatoes that went into the spag bog, and the half tin of mushed 4beans mix (mushed so we hopefully don't feel like we are eating beans - a new experiment I am trying as beans are both cheaper and apparently better for us than meat, but do NOT taste nearly as good - last night's meal did taste okay, which is promising!).

It's funny how experience changes our expectations and values. Meals these days need to be very, very quick to make. They also need to be cheap and nutrious. One night recently we ended up having fish and chips because the casserole I'd carefully prepared was not ready. It was ready at least an hour after we'd eaten our takeaways, so I'm glad we didn't wait. I get to be a bit of a hungry monster (aka absolute grump!) when hungry. We ate the casserole for the next two nights instead, and it was excellent! So do you think I can count the onions?!?


Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011

I'm Back - Briefly

Hi folks,
I am back in blogland, but only briefly. I have recently survived 2 major assignments, yay! But with Boyo studying now, things are still somewhat hectic as we all get used to the different hours and when his assignments are due versus mine. I have also just discovered that my next assignment is due in just a few weeks. It's a group one, and rather large, so I am thinking I will need to start on it almost immediately. Pity. I was hoping for a couple of weeks to blob and blog. Grin.


Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011

Anyone for Carrot Peel?

Last night, my son ate a carrot peeling directly off the kitchen floor. The good news is that the floor has been vaccumed within the past week, so it isn't too dirty (just don't think too hard about how dirty a kitchen floor can get in a couple of days!). The carrot peel had fallen there just moments before as I peeled carrots for dinner. And he does not normally subsist on carrot peelings. He is, in fact, a very well-fed little boy! His diet yesterday included: porridge, stewed apple, sultanas, banana, corn cracker, melon, blueberries, fried rice with bacon and egg and carrot, onion, and zucchini, grapes, mixed veges and lamb, and a bit of spaghetti bolognaise. Definitely doesn't need the carrot peel to survive! The other good news is that, for once, he actually picked up something that IS edible by his mother's standards. Some days I wonder if his first words will be, "Not in your mouth!" as I fish yet another bit of cardboard, stone, plastic, string, or other small bit of something-or-other out of his mouth. Much to his dissappointment. I let him keep his carrot peel.

Another recent experiment in the eating department - he likes playing with the onions on the kitchen floor: the box is easily accessible, they are very cool to roll around, and the peel is kinda interesting - only Mummy keeps spoiling the fun by removing any peel and saying her perpetual "Not in your mouth!"


Wednesday, 23rd March, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Bit Snowed Under

I am currently trying to clear a snowball. It is a rather large, cumbersome snowball called study. A week with Munchkin and I with colds was enough to just about wipe me out, and I am still not recovered (I'm blaming lack of decent sleep but that is another story). I now have two assignments due in the next two weeks, as well as normal study. So I'm afraid I will be taking yet another break from blogging. In all honesty I just don't have the energy, even if I had the time. Study and baby are taking up all available brain space at present (which I do admit is not much to start with!).

We also have big adjustments happening in our household, which doesn't help my brain space. We feel really good about this decision, but it is not easy living it out day by day. He is in class all day Mondays and Tuesdays and half of Wednesdays and Thursdays. He's also currently still working 27hrs a week, while we sort out student allowances and which point he can drop his hours. But I need to work too, a day or two a week. Not fun. But we do need to feed ourselves and pay rent. We are hoping that things will be this complicated only for this year. I can't withdraw from my study without losing my scholarship and potentially damaging my chances of graduating (due to changes to my degree program), so we carry on. Not that I really want to stop studying as I do enjoy it, I just want things to be a little bit easier.

So that's me at present. I have still not done anything about passing on the blog award I was given. I don't really know where to start. Tell you what, I read very few blogs. I liked the ones Lizzy's Letters highlighted, but have only read them once. I read Rhonda's blog at Down to Earth (periodically these days), and she just received the top NZ/Australian blog award! Otherwise I really don't get 'out' much.

I did manage to write 7 things about myself to share with you all. How about I post it here, at least then you will actually get to see it!

I hope to rejoin you all in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, take care.
Wednesday, 9th March, 2011

7 things about me:

I had pet snails as a kid. My brothers and I collected them from the fennel near our school, and kept them in icecream containers with gladwrap (plastic clingwrap) over the top (holes in gladwrap for air). We fed them greenery, and raced them frequently. To tell them apart we would put twink marks on the big snail’s shells before a race began. Did you know that snails can eat through gladwrap quite easily? We had various escapees and would periodically find a dead snail on the ceiling or behind furniture. Opps. Hours and hours of fun. I still have trouble squashing snails in the garden. Slugs are not a problem, but I find myself apologising every time I feel I need to get rid of a snail!

I love giving gifts. Always have. I enjoy thinking about what the person might like, and organising to get it, then wrapping it and doing the card. This is why I so enjoy Operation Christmas Child. I get to give gifts that are really meaningful. One year when I was a child, we didn’t have enough money for each of us to give presents so my parents told us kids we were not to buy presents that year. I just couldn’t handle not giving a present! I went out and picked flowers from all around the gardens and put a posie for each person in jars under the Christmas tree, with a little note.

I want 101 children. Yes, you did read that right. People are usually a bit shocked when they ask and I say one-hundred-and-one. But I don’t really plan on having any more biological children. 101 is the number of children I would like to parent, to influence, and personally touch with my life. Most of these will probably be sponsored children, I guess some might be my son’s friends, or maybe children I teach? I don’t know, just that I want my life to count for something this big.

I have terrible hand-eye coordination in sporting arena's (it is okay making cards and knitting!). I used to think I just couldn’t play sports at all. I ended up hating sport and by high school would avoid it whenever possible. But, I have no realised that I can play a few things. The main issue is that I have to keep the ball in front of my face. If it goes down the side, I end up swiping and missing by a mile! The other issue is that it needs to be a sport I am not scared of getting hurt in. No rugby or softball for me! I like to play badminton and table tennis. I am pretty happy to discover that there are some sporty things I do enjoy, so I’m happy to leave it at that!

When I get a cold, I sneeze copiously. All day. Multiple times. To the point that there’s not really any point in saying “Bless You” for less than 5 sneezes at a time! It can be rather frustrating, as the sneezes just keep on coming. I guess it would be amusing to watch, provided you are at a safe distance!

I am a strategic thinker. This has always felt like a bit of a nuisance in my life. It has never really been used, and just gets in the way. For instance, I see things that I know would work better another way but rarely am in a position to do anything to change them. I would see that this action would result in this consequence, but being at the bottom of the food chain in my work, thus any suggestions I made would not usually be taken seriously. Anyway, I have recently decided that I want this gift to be actively used in my life. I want to see it as the gift that it is, and use it! After all, God gave me specific giftings for a reason – He must have things in mind for me that require them. Being able to use the strategic is why I loved my last admin job so much – it constantly required thinking ahead about our next training days, how to get more people on our telephone counselling rosters, and so on. And being at the stage in life we are currently, with a baby, no capital to speak of, and both of us needing to retrain, Boyo and I really need to start living strategically just to have a free hold home by retirement (and we want to do so much more than that!). We’ve never done it before, and you can so tell!

I don’t like swimming in the ocean. In fact, I don’t like swimming anywhere I can’t see the bottom. I did swim quite a lot as a child and teen, but have avoided it in my adult life. You see, there were a few incidents with crabs. I know, silly, they are just little crabs, what harm can they do?!? But that was enough for me. You can imagine my thoughts about the charms of swimming in North QLD – box jellyfish, crocodiles, sharks, sting rays, and assorted other dangerous animals and there was absolutely NO WAY I was getting in that water! Boyo paddled. I refused to do even that.