Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas from Jimmy!

How cute is this pup??? and just one more notch in that 'Mother of the Year' title I am aiming for by agreeing to take the 'horsey' one and Jim to have his Christmas photo taken!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter weather!!!

Lots of bits and pieces to tell today, none particularly exciting. We are having the most ridiculous weather. It is meant to be Summer and that means warm and sunny but instead it is cold and wet and windy! So wet and windy that I have unexpectedly been given a whole weekend to stay indoors and try to start and finish the Christmas cards and wrap the presents!! Baseball, tennis, puppy school and a horse event were all cancelled! Must admit I'm the only one smiling, the rest of the family are disappointed. Have to also admit that it is now Sunday and I didn't get one single Christmas card written yesterday although I have written the letter to go into them which is often the hardest part, condensing a whole year into a few pages! Freddy is spending all his time inside curled up fast asleep looking very cute as this photo shows.
Jimmy on the other hand is testing the friendship. I have threatened to give him away, even pay someone to take him these last few days! The 'horsey' one did say if he goes so does she, mmm, should I suggest she start packing??? I am finding it a little frustrating that it is only my things that he eats and finding this possum wool glove that my Mother-in-law brought me back from New Zealand last year does not help! and no I did not leave it hanging around, he actually went into my wardrobe and took it from a shelf!! It hasn't helped that we have had to walk in the rain the last few days. It has been a bit harder to wear him out as much as normal. We took this photo last week after one of his walks when he struggled to even get home!

I was so spoilt last week to receive a parcel from a blogging friend in Norway 'Anne Heidi'. I have sent her some magazines during the year. I received some 'coffee' coasters, some Christmas sweets, a little Christmas doll and two of the most beautiful pewter decorations to hang on my tree, a flag and a jumper. It was such a bright moment in a busy busy week!

My darling SH brought home an exciting package during the week. After many months of will we, won't we, can we justify the cost, should we... we finally purchased our very favorite new appliance ' a Kitchen Aid mixer'. We had to order it in as we wanted to choose our color, we finally settled for 'pistachio green' - a bit hard to see in this photo. While I was out for dinner on Thursday SH and the 'horsey' one christened it by making the first batch of shortbread for the season and were super impressed, the best shortbread ever apparently and after too many tastings I'd have to agree! (for those in the States , Kitchen Aid's here are very very expensive!)
Headed off to Ballarat for the day on Friday as the 'horsey' one had her first orthodontic appointment. It went well, we don't need to be reviewed for 12 months but in that time she needs to have 9 baby teeth removed. They don't fall out by themselves and are stopping her adult teeth from coming through.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers for Aunty Jan, please keep them coming. She is not doing very well. It is very aggressive and progressing a lot quicker than expected. She is in hospital although they hope to stabilise her enough in the next few days to send her home with palliative care services.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Prayers please......

Prayers are needed please for my Aunty Jan. She has been sick since June with pneumonia and fluid on her lungs which keeps building up. She does not enjoy the best health anyway being a diabetic. After many hospital admissions and doctors appointments she has now been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The original cancer is Ovarian and she now has numerous secondaries. We were told she would enjoy Christmas but would not celebrate Easter with us. It is now doubtful that she will still be with us at Christmas this year. She lives with another Aunt and although does not have her own children has a large extended family who care about her. Mum arrived to stay with them to help out last weekend. She will stay indefinitely. They live 12 hours drive away, it is just so far. I am torn between rushing up there, my family, the silly season and work commitments. At this stage I am planning to go between Christmas and New Year but unfortunately I may need to go earlier. I am hoping that her faith will give her some comfort and courage to face the days ahead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Teenagers !

Last week was the kids last week of school before starting summer holidays (not that we are having summer weather!!). They had exams the previous week so it shouldn't of been a hard week, finishing off a few projects, being introduced to subjects for next year, sport, films, Christmas and end of year celebrations. My darling 'HS' decided to make it a little more interesting......They attend a private school which has many rules and regulations including ones about hair......for boys it must be short (but not too short) above the collar and ears and sideburns if in fact you can grow them may only be a certain length, no product is to be used and no artificial coloring. My son is blessed with a good head of hair unlike his mother, sister and grandmother (we have a straight thin excuse for hair!), it grows quickly thickly and with some curl. He can also grow facial hair at a far too rapid rate for a teenager. He started the school term with a fresh haircut but decided a few weeks ago he was growing it all of summer to see how long it could get. Hence when the Principal lined them up after assembly last week he was issued with an order to get a haircut before Wednesday, have a decent shave and present to the office! We weren't told this until Wednesday morning when he attempted to make his hair look 'shorter' and hence he failed inspection. What followed was messages to me (at work) that he was NOT getting his haircut no matter what the consequences - sorry sunshine , sometimes in life there are things you just have to do that you don't want to! an appointment was made at our hairdressers and SH delivered him and supervised although obviously not well enough as HS was told the next day it was still not good enough and he would need another haircut! Let me point out again this is all 2 days before school finishes for the year but in aid of the schools Carol service on Thursday night and opening of the new sports centre on Friday afternoon. Anyway with enough of the forbidden product we avoided another cut and he made it through without being frogmarched down to the barbers by the Principal's secretary which has happened in other years. My sigh of relief was short lived as HS decided if he had to have his haircut he would have what he wanted so I get home from work on Friday to this
If he was looking for a reaction from us he didn't get it! SH actually thinks it looks better than what he had before. His hair grows so quickly that by the end of January he will probably need another cut. Think he will grow tired of the maintenance needed with product (putty I'm told) to keep it looking like this. Having said that I am sure Grandma will react on Christmas Day and not favorably - should be fun!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've got mail!!!

I received a parcel today from April (Cake makes the world a better place) in the UK . She was my swap partner in the Christmas Decoration swap organised by Indigo Blue. How lucky was I? She sent me a cross stitch card and 2 cross stitch decorations. They are just so cute. I bought a new little Christmas tree today so they have pride of place on that. We have decided we won't put up our big tree this year due to Jimmy. He eats and plays with everything ,often destroying the item in the process!! This little tree will sit in the middle of our dining table where he just can't reach!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jimmy is a champion!!

Yesterday SH and the 'horsey' one went to a local agricultural show with Dudley (the pony) and Jimmy. The 'horsey' one and Dudley picked up 3 blue 1st ribbons including one for showjumping so a very happy combination! Jimmy entered the dog events and came home with a first for 'best groomed' and a second for 'any breed puppy'. It was only a small show but we are very proud of our pup!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I've been on holidays this week. Quite unplanned and not for any special reason other than I have plenty due to me and I haven't had any since January and was feeling like I could use a few days to catch up with myself, clean the house, do some stitching, read a few books and completely organise Christmas including cards and gifts!!!! Mmmm how successful was I ???? I wasn't! My biggest (and only) achievement for the week was to get my two swaps finished and in the mail and of course they both seemed to take a lot longer to finish than I expected! Because they are swaps I can't even show you photos and prove that I have indeed been stitching but my SSCS and decoration swap are on their way! As Murphys Law would have it , because I was on holidays this week I was called up for Jury duty and had to present for 3 days this week. Luckily court was cancelled and I wasn't needed!
Had a wonderful blogging experience in the last week or so. I had an email from a lurker wondering if I was a friend of hers from when I lived in Canberra. We had stayed in touch but due to me it had become just at Christmas each year. She is a very talented stitcher / quilter and an even better friend. I am so thrilled to be back in regular contact. I would love her to start a blog especially as the way she decorates for the silly season is amazing!!
This week my darling children have had exams. It is always a week I dread. They are tired and uptight and I am anxious for them and at the same time sure they could study a little more!! After a final 2 yesterday for HS and 3 for the 'horsey' one they are finished for another year! Only 1 week of school left then summer holidays and we are all ready for it. Going off to work in the mornings is so much easier if there are not uniforms and lunches to prepare and kids to try and prise out of bed!!! By the end of January I will be craving the routine again!!
Another busy weekend ahead, the 'horsey' one played in her basketball grand final last night and won by 1! so a very happy girl! while HS refereed 2 grand finals. This morning I am off to the boarding house to do a 24hour shift while SH is taking the 'horsey' one and Jimmy to a local agricultural show to take part in the horse and dog events. It will be quite an unfamiliar and interesting experience for him!!!!! HS has baseball this afternoon then a party to celebrate his friend's 16th birthday at a farm just out of town, fully supervised bbq and pool party - just the way I like it when I don't have to worry!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mother of the year???!!!

Okay as part of my attempt to become 'Mother of the Year' I went outside my comfort zone last weekend and took the 'horsey' one and a friend of hers and her mother to Equitana in Melbourne for 2 days!!! For a non horsey person I think this is a huge achievement, to surround myself in all things horsey!!!! For those unsure what Equitana is, well according to the program it is "the biggest non-racing horse festival in the southern hemisphere and offers a comprehensive program of equine competition, exhibition, education and entertainment"! I almost enjoyed the first day, we sat out in the sun and watched the miniature horses, the vaulting, the mounted games and the breed parade. We then spent the afternoon looking at all the various stalls - kind of like at a quilt market but they were all selling horsey things! The horsey one was good, she didn't spend all of her money and certainly didn't want everything she saw unlike others we watched! She bought a new pair of breeches - blue,red,yellow,orange and green stripes, very loud, lets hope she lets me take a photo when she wears them!! We also ordered gaiters for her christmas present so another tick on that list! Okay so the 2nd day, it was not so pleasant! by the time we got from the car to the gate we were wet! my boots I didn't know leaked did, my socks were wet, my backpack was even wet through, it was cold, it was windy, it hailed, it was plain miserable and noone wanted to go home! By the time we drove into home it was 11.30pm! I swear it has taken me all week to get over it! On the upside the horsey one loved every single minute with some highlights, she was able to get her photo taken with some olympians, Clayton Fredricks and Megan Jones. The major highlight though was having her photo taken with the 'Saddle Club' girls!!!!! We don't have the new series on yet, apparently it is already showing overseas, but she is waiting. Even funnier as we were fumbling with camera batteries a little girl asked the horsey one for her autograph thinking she was also in the show. My cheeky girl was about to sign!!! until I let the girl know although she'd love to be part of it she was only a fan like herself!

Off to market!

Well I am hopeless!!! It is now almost a fortnight since I posted and since I spent the weekend in Melbourne at the Australian Quilt Market. It is also about that amount of time since I have caught up on everyone elses blogs!!
Had a great weekend at the AQM. Robyn released her new quilt, 'The Sewing Circle' 50's themed. It was well received which is great. I loved seeing what everyone else had and there are a few patterns I saw which will be ordered soon!!! Shame they didn't come with 'time' included to complete the projects! Robyn and her
son painted this life size 50's model for the show. We named her 'Edie' and had great fun changing the saying in her speech bubble over the weekend! Some of them were a little naughty! Others for example were , 'Housework is evil, It must be stopped!'and ' I haven't had my coffee yet, don't make me kill you'. She was really gorgeous and Robyn and Lewis are very talented.

This is post no. 100 and I have decided not to do a giveaway to celebrate. Instead as the festive season is looming quickly (far too quickly!) I am popping a few small surprises in the mail for some of my earliest blogging friends who supported me when I took such a big step and set up this blog! I will have a giveaway in the early part of next year when I am not feeling so overwhelmed and can put together something special!!

Hoping to get back to blogging regularly (how often do I say that??) now, lots to tell!!!

Oh and once again, no I'm not in the photos, it's Robyn, Rex and my Mum!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baking, bands and Jimmy!!

Thought you'd like to see the photos of yesterday's baking for work. The cheese scones were good but the chocolate caramel tarts were YUMMO!!! and just the perfect size. You make them in a mini muffin tin so they are almost just bitesize.

Yesterday was also the day that the Playstation game 'Guitar Hero World Tour' was released! HS has been counting down the days and actually used some of his hard earned money (which doesn't often see the sunlight!!) to buy it. Not only does it have the guitar but it also has the drums and vocals. I was so!! lucky and given the chance to sing vocals on the microphone, not so lucky when I was so bad at it that the song kept being stopped!! Oops singing is not one of my stronger points!!

I received a letter in the mail yesterday from my darling niece Daisy from the UK. A bit hard to see but she has drawn a picture of herself asleep dreaming about our dog Jess. It was the most beautiful sympathy letter that we got after losing Jess and there were tears all around as we read it. I so wished my sister and her littlies lived closer!!

Thought it was time for some updated Jimmy photos. He has been really miserable since we lost Jess. We are trying to decide how to best help. I think the rest of the family would like another dog but I'd rather just find him a friend to play with during the day!? Any suggestions?? He has grown so much and is needing even more exercise now! Loves his balls and must take at least one on each walk. He has outgrown another bed and has a pair of my old shoes for his own now which he is slowly destroying. He normally sleeps with it close in case I should try and steal them back!!
I am off to the Australian Quilt Market in Melbourne tomorrow with Mum to help our friends Robyn and Rex (she makes buttons!!). It is a trade show and we had such fun last year when we went. It will be an early start but I will have lots to tell you next week!!
nb: this post was written last Thursday but when I went to publish it my rotten computer wouldn't cooperate so I had to head to Melbourne without doing so. I will be back in the next few days with lots of photos from the weekend!
**Just another thing - has anyone noticed what number post this is?????

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lots of bits and pieces!

Had a lovely but busy day yesterday and I actually have some photos to share! No, not of work I've been doing - that's all still top secret, and yes I have been plodding away and may actually make the swap deadlines!!! I had what feels like an odd day off and boy did it go quickly and did my list still have a lot on it at the end of the day! Mum and her friend Sue came over and as usual Mum was not empty handed! She spoils us so much and always makes us feel loved
The roses are actually from our garden and SH often brings in an armful for me to enjoy inside. These are a few days old but are just beautiful and mostly scented. It is worth a snuffly nose to enjoy the beauty!!

Mum made the cupcake pincushion for an end of year challenge at the doll group she goes to. Of course she wasn't happy with the first one and wondered if I'd like it. There was no hesitation on my part!! The box of gold tealights was just because!!! She'd found them shopping the day before and thought I might enjoy them!!

Every year Mum makes us an item to decorate our home over Christmas and yesterday she delivered this years. They are not great photos, I wish you could all visit in person to see it yourself. It is a wall hanging with 'The twelve days of Christmas' stitched. The rust color that she has bound it with is not a traditional Christmas color but it looks fantastic. I may even not pack it away in the New Year. Haven't decided on it's final position for the 'Silly season' but will play over the next few days!!
Received a card from my 'fairy godmother' Aunt Jude yesterday. She thought I might enjoy this 'Pig Wand'!!! We both struggle with our weight and when she saw these at her church fete recently thought it would give me a giggle.(Just realised it is hard to see what it says: Magic Pig Wand, Wave over food once to remove kilojoules. Wave twice over desserts. Now Pig Out!) Think it will be used today as I am in the midst of making chocolate caramel tarts to take to work for our fundraising morning tea!! Yum, I hope they turn out as well as Sarah's from . Also taking some cheese scones with quince paste. We have a morning tea each Wednesday morning and each department takes a turn in catering and then choosing which charity to donate the gold coin donations to.
Congratulations today to my sister-in-law Nene & her husband Steve celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dreams can come true.....

Let me start this post by saying I am not an expert in political matters, I do not even know as much as I probably should as a parent and a citizen, but I do care about the future of the world we live in for my children and their children in the long, far away ! future. This is a simplistic, individuals view so please accept it as such.
This week from the other side of the world I watched what was happening in the USA elections. It was on our news and in our papers (not as much as I'm sure it was there!!). Now that I have some great blogging friends in that country and I had read some of their comments I was even more interested. I was interested in the fact it is voluntary to vote in this country - it is compulsory here and you are fined if in fact you do not cast a vote.
I was wanting Barack Obama to win and scared that it may all become pear shaped on election day and not happen. I had a few tears when he did for a few reasons. The most important - he has sent a message to our children, whatever your race, whatever the circumstances you are born into and live, You can do anything you want! Your dreams can come true! Lets hope they grab hold of that message with both hands and and make the most of every opportunity they are given and they live their dreams.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off and racing!

Well today is the infamous Melbourne Cup Horse race. It is part of the racing Spring Carnival and the cup itself is always held on the first Tuesday of November. I was actually born on a day the cup was run and HS and my birthdays often fall on this day. I have never been to the actual meet but traditionally have a flutter and take part in cup sweeps. I have worked the last few years as reception for the visiting paediatrician and because it is a public holiday this gives me an extra day to take at christmas time. The oldies Day Centre that operates in the building always have a special day, dressing up, wearing hats and having a special lunch. The tables are always decorated with the most beautiful roses out of staff member's gardens. Unfortunately today I had no luck, in fact my horses may still be running...................but that is part of the fun!!
( I did get a little stitching done between patients today so might! just make my swap deadlines!!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Birthday Loot!

With the busy weekend we had HS and I didn't open our birthday gifts until late last night when we returned from paintballing. We both got some great gifts. HS was happy with many vouchers and cash and a 'skins' top from us for baseball. From SH and the kids I got a beautiful 'Royal Albert' cup,saucer and plate, and a great enamel jug which has a rooster pictured on it. I just love it and it is all the more special that they thought of it and chose it themselves. Another special present I got was from a work colleague, this gorgeous ceramic cat tape measure. It is perfect and just so me!! My special Aunt (fairy godmother) from NSW posted me a lovely gift. She knows of my fixation with all things 'cupcake' and made me a lovely table runner and some new tea-towells which are far too nice to use!!!! I feel very spoilt!
The 'horsey' one headed off on school camp this morning until the end of the week. They go canoeing, surfing, bike riding and hiking as well as make all their own meals and sleep in small shelters (not proper tents). The weather is VERY ordinary, cold , wet and windy so it could be a long week for her!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Birthday!

Today my Handsome Son has celebrated his 17th Birthday! We took him, 8 other teenagers and 5 parents in total to a city 2 hours away for a day of paintballing!!! We all played although I became the official photographer after the first two games! It was lots of fun, there are lots of bruises and I'm sure lots of tall tales about the day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

From the minute I got up this morning my phone has rung hot with various friends and family wishing me a Happy Birthday! Yes, I am a birthday girl today!! Unfortunately the day was not spent doing anything special but at Pony Club with the 'horsey one'!! It was very pleasant especially the afternoon walking the cross country course in the sunshine, that is until one of the girls took a very nasty fall and the ambulance had to be called. Just brings home what a dangerous and unpredictable activity horse riding is. At this stage it looks as though Jess may have broken her pelvis although they were also querying spinal injuries. Got my fingers crossed it will not be too bad and she will recover quickly and well.
The big excitement for the day is that this morning I parked myself in my chair where I could see their lessons, ignored the cold wind and stitched away on my Secret Santa Swap. It felt so good, and I just wish I could share with you what I managed to get done but of course it is a secret!! Not finished by any stretch of the imagination but on its way!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The travellers!

While SH was talking to his parents last weekend they mentioned they had the travelling bug again and were off on a trip. He was interested to which exotic location they were going now. None it seems! They were off on a road trip for a few days and to areas not more than a few hours from home!!! Not exactly what we had been expecting. They stayed with us last night, a good distraction after our harrowing day, and lovely to catch up on bits and pieces. They headed off this morning expecting to be away another few days but have phoned tonight to say they are home in Geelong safely, the rain was too miserable to be travelling in!!!!!!!

I had a lovely day today, I didn't have to work so that's always a good start. Mum came over for the day, we went out for lunch and browsed the shops, picking up a few bargains!! We then brought home some cakes for afternoon tea when the kids finished school. Mum brought us these roses in memory of Jess. A bit hard to see in the photo but a beautiful apricot color.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Farewell dear friend....

Jessie Jo passed away this afternoon. No more suffering for her. We will miss her so much.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh dear where has the time gone?????

Hard to believe another fortnight has passed since I posted! All I can say is I am a little overwhelmed at the moment. With work and kids and general chores there are not many spare moments and I really can't see it improving until January!! We already have something on every weekend until then and on some occasions more than one thing. Catching up on some blog reading yesterday I am not alone. With that in mind I am hoping to post each day for the next fortnight , call it a little challenge to myself. I must be able to find 5 minutes a day and at least 1 thing however small to report on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poor Jessie Jo (our older dog) has been very unwell again. She had a trip to the vet Thursday as she had finally finished the medication she'd been on for 3 months and also developed a cough. Amy the vet was very pleased with her, since Jimmy arrived she is doing so much more exercise and she looked healthy and happy. Amy was sure the throat was irritated, maybe from the dust flying around so after an anti inflammatory shot and armed with antibiotics and cough syrup we came home. She just went downhill again from there and by Friday evening was unable to walk and was not eating - one very sick Jess. Saturday Amy wasn't working and the vet I phoned was too busy!! to see her. I did go and pick up some more of the previous medication she had been on (quartazone) to see if that would help. If they had seen her that morning I am sure she wouldn't of come home with us. She finally picked up a little by Sunday night when she wanted to go for a walk with Jimmy. Monday the cough changed and became worse so when I took her for the prearranged appointment yesterday I was still very worried. Holly (yes it is a clinic of only female vets) wanted to do chest xrays so I left Jess there for the morning. It showed the worst case scenario but what we expected, her dodgy heart is failing and is surrounded by fluid making her cough and struggle to breath. Holly has sent her home with heart tablets and fluid tablets and if she responds to them it will give her a lovely quality of life for a bit longer. If she doesn't at least we have tried everything. She started on them last night and we are expecting it will take 2 or 3 days to see the effect. I was up with her every hour last night (as I have been for the last week) comforting her as the coughing took hold. I hope they work quickly as I'm not sure I can see her like this for much longer.

On a different subject matter I have not picked up needle, thread or fabric let alone put out my sewing machine in the last fortnight!!!! I miss it, I need it and I want it!! Let's hope that changes quickly!

I purchased a new book last week that I am hoping will change my life!!! 'House Detox' - 200 ideas to declutter your home, room by room! I am a hoarder, I am unorganised, I need help! I have already read it cover to cover once and it has inspired me to change . I am putting a realistic timeline on it ( the book helped me realise it took a long time to get this way, can't be fixed in a day! a bit like excess weight - maybe I can work on that next!), and I will plod along. I have planned new storage units and I am excited about it. I have taken photos of all my rooms, cupboards etc (think my quilting cupboard is the only tidy organised one) so I have a record of what used to be. Unfortunately they are not fit to post so I will leave you with a photo of the book which will change my life.........................................I hope!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm back .......

Well I can't believe it's a fortnight since I posted! No real reason except everyday life took hold, oh and we've had 2 lots of visitors!!
The day after my last post I worked in the morning and then headed over to Mums for the afternoon. It was the anniversary of Dads death, 12 years now but in some ways it still seems like yesterday. Mum is always very 'scratchy' at this time of year so the distraction of our visit was good for her. We took her out for lunch then visited the cemetery. After that was a visit to Mum's dentist for the 'Horsey' one for a second opinion! When she had visited our dentist for a check up the previous week he had suddenly decided she needed to urgently see an Orthodontist and honestly the prices he was talking was making me faint! Our regular dentist has recently retired and she was quite conservative about orthodontic work ! Anyway the 2nd opinion was yes she does need to see an orthodontist but as a planning tool which may involve some work now and eventually braces or a plate but certainly not at the prices he was quoting. The 'horsey' one didn't get a tooth until she was 13 months old and still has at least 6 baby teeth left. They don't fall out by themselves and are extracted when the adult tooth there comes through properly. A truly unique child!! Anyway she has decided she won't go back to the first dentist again so we will be making the trip to Mum's dentist for her regularly now!!
On the Saturday the 'horsey' one and I set off to Ballarat to catch up with 2 of her Godmothers (she has 3) and another friend. We all worked together many years ago and try and catch up a few times a year. Colleen and her husband have just been on a trip to Alaska and Canada and the photos were amazing! A part of the world I definitely need to visit one day.
The first lot of visitors arrived last Monday night at 11pm!!!!!! I am an early riser and an early to bed kind of person so this killed me having to stay up waiting for them to arrive! Add to this that I had spent the day running with dentist appointments (HS this time), haircuts, collecting drycleaning and parent teacher interviews all before the kids returned to school after holidays on Tuesday. It was our great friends from Queensland who had come for a flying visit. I help Robyn at trade craft shows , she is a button maker, and Mum stitches her samples. There is a show coming up in November and she will release a new quilt so she wanted to touch base and check on the progress. Her and Mum are very happy with the finished product so it was worth the 2000 odd km they travelled! We had lots of laughs, good food and wine while they were here.
The second lot of visitors arrived on Sunday ( honestly the dust in my house doesn't know what's hit it - being moved 2 weeks in a row!). My best friend since kindergarten Karen, her partner and my goddaugher 'Bianca'. They live in the city and this was there first visit to us for about 4 years. They stayed in a hotel and we had Bianca who is 2 for her first ever sleepover!! She was absolutely perfect for us! We had a lovely few days together. She is such a bright and talkative little poppet.
On the craft front I received some exciting parcels last week. Decided I couldn't be left out and I needed! the monthly pincushion kits. The first two arrived so I can't wait to get going on them. I also received the first instalment of the 'Bluebird' Quilt by Janelle Wind, a Block of the month. Another thing I can't wait to get going on. I have made some progress on something for Chookyblues SSCS. Of course it is a secret so I can't show you..... I am trying to do a little each day so I am not panicked closer to the deadline!! The work has been a bit slow as I'm nursing a sore arm after having a tetanus injection last week , the reason I had to have it was Jimmy bit me!! Wasn't really his fault, I put my finger in his mouth!! Yep sometimes I just don't think!! Luckily my finger is healing well!
Hoping things are back on track again and I'll be back to posting more regularly!! also will have time to visit everyone and catch up on all your news!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Grrr Teenagers!!!!

Does anyone else have teenagers that are just beautiful, kind, funny, clever etc etc etc but drive you to distraction occasionally??????? Yesterday when I went off to work I asked for just 4 things to be done to help me , tidy up the kitchen, do homework, walk the dogs, and bring the washing in, hardly rocket science or unreasonable I would think! Yep you guessed it , the total number of these done when I walked in the door late and tired - a big fat 0!! Oh well today is a new day and I do love them anyway!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Exhausting but rewarding!

I am really lucky in my job as a receptionist in the Allied Health area of our hospital. It is a great job with lots of people contact which I love and lots of great people to work with. My standard hours are 2 and 1/2 days a week and then I relieve when the other reception staff are on holidays or sick. I also do reception for some visiting specialists and yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day in our elderly 'day centre' which operates out of our building. The chance to do some relief here doesn't come around often (as I am not a trained nurse) but when it does I jump at it. We have around 12 - 20 elderly clients who come in from their own homes for the day (we collect them on our bus), they enjoy a day of companionship, activities and a hot 2 course lunch. While there we can deliver them easily to appointments at the medical clinic, pathology, xray, physio etc. We also do a pharmacy run each day in case they have a script they need filled. Yesterday we did tai chi exercises (in chairs), followed by a game of scattegories then in the afternoon played bocce ( I was no good and helped the 'poms' lose to the 'aussies' badly!!). They all generally have some health problems or mobility issues. Most live alone. One of the dearest ladies yesterday has advanced dementia. Another lady that has dementia was telling me that she used to sew, even make wedding dresses. Unfortuantly those days are beyond her now. Another lady with impaired sight was crocheting a rug, something she has only taken up since her sight became so bad. Some of them are cranky and argumentative! They all have such a lot to offer and I always have such a fun day working with them. Gosh I am physically exhausted at the end of the day though! Today I am doing reception for a paediatrician clinic so the complete opposite end of the scale!! I usually manage a little stitching between patients so may even have something to report on that front!!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I promise these will be the last Jimmy photos for a while but they were so cute I just had to share them!! I'm also hoping the 'horsey' one doesn't find out I posted them...... Jimmy is an inside dog and up until the last few days has been happy to sleep in his bed on the floor next to me (the reason behind this is as I am a Mother I will wake up when he does and take him out to the toilet!!). The 'horsey' one has been putting him on her bed for cuddles because he is just 'so cute', yep you can see where this is leading. We as good parents have let her know all the reasons its not a good idea, hygiene, when he gets bigger, he has his own bed etc etc, her as a teenager has largely ignored us! When I got up yesterday morning this is what I found

The first photo I took was cuter as he was fast asleep but as I took it in the dark there wasn't much of them in the frame!! He was duly removed and not 5 minutes later missing again, this is what I found this time

Now she is a sound sleeper and had no idea he was there so he had got himself under the quilt and his head on the pillow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Told you it was cute!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Puppy School and Footy Finals!

Well the day started with Jimmy's first trip to puppy school!! It was held in a town about 40 minutes away so with HS driving once again (my nerves are getting better!) we set off. Jimmy was a star!! After being scared of all the bigger dogs he thought he would make friends with a little chihuahua named Max smaller than him. Max had other ideas and was quite fierce baring his teeth and growling. Poor Jimmy! We covered sit, heel, wait and drop all in various degrees of success but the instructor feels he is quite advanced and very clever (maybe a little exaggeration there by mother!!). We have come home with homework and looking forward to his next lesson in a fortnight. As you can see it was a very exhausted Jimmy once he got home!
It was the Australian Football League grand final yesterday afternoon and SH, HS and the 'horsey'one's team was playing. Geelong-the mighty Cats! They went in as favorites and were hoping for back to back premierships. We decorated the front of the house, balloons, streamers and posters. I even stitched my Sashiko - navy and white , while watching. Alas it was not to be and by the end of the day the decorations were gone and there were long faces all round looking forward to next year!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Well we managed to get to the beach yesterday afternoon as planned ( a feat in itself for our family!!). SH finished work early so off we went with HS driving on his L plates - that makes me feel old!!! The 'horsey' one and I took Jimmy for a walk while the boys went off to get lunch. He was in heaven, so many smells, didn't quite know what to do first. A fish and chip lunch in the cold wind was good for the soul especially as I had put a jumper in unlike my kids who seem to always know everything - not on this occasion!!! then we hit the beach. Jimmy loved it! Did decide early on sand was for eating (as is everything) but then he found a stick and he was off. Landed in the waves almost by accident and got quite a fright, wouldn't venture that close again. One very tired, sandy, wet puppy snored all the way home in the car!
Before heading home the menfolk actually let me visit the local quilt shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( I had just bribed them with icecream). It was very small but I was still able to make a purchase. This gorgeous 'strawberry' lady and a few fat quarters that the 'horsey' one chose for her holiday sewing project.
Off to 'puppy school' this morning!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Art Gallery and Horses!!

I love Thursdays as I finish at midday, it means I have half a day to run around and pay bills and do all those fiddly jobs that I put off!! During school holidays it means I have an extra half a day to do something with the kids and yesterday with my Mum as well. She had driven the hour and was already at home waiting when I got home from work. She'd even already handed out the treats to the kids, chocolate biscuits and chocolate!!!
We headed out for lunch which was interrupted by the urgent departure of the 'horsey' one - more on that later! The main reason for her visit was an exhibition at our local art gallery. She is a volunteer at the art gallery in her town but they won't be receiving this particular collection to exhibit. It was an exhibit of textile sculptures by an Australian artist from Sale 'Annemieke Mein'. The simplest way to describe her work is a combination of painted canvas, machine embroidery and stumpwork. There is however nothing simple about her work. It is quite spectacular and as much as I enjoyed it I will not be attempting to create my own similar masterpiece, I would not be surprised however if Mum (who has already done some stumpwork) went home and played on her own creation!!! I bought some cards of pieces in the exhibition but they didn't photograph well enough to post - sorry. My favorite was the 'dragonflies'.
Now the reason that the 'horsey' one dashed off was that we had a phone call that the 'myotherapist' coming from interstate to treat her horse 'Dudley' had arrived early!!!!!!!! Yes I kid you not, I paid for a combination of a chiropractor / physio for horses...........................luckily it was reasonably priced, not quite as much as I thought! He responded quite well and she has been taught some stretches to do with him daily. He had been naughty when she was jumping him and sore in the neck. He has to rest now for 2 days then she can ride him and see if there is an improvement!!
SH will finish work at lunchtime today so I will spend the morning cleaning the house (repeating the mantra all the time - I will not get distracted, I will not get distracted!!) then we will head down to a beachside town not far away for fish & chips on the foreshore!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My new favorite recipe!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
2 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup milk
1 cup lemon butter
3 eggwhites
3/4 cup castor sugar
Makes 24 cupcakes. Cooked in a preheated 180C/160C fanforced oven.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition (mixture will seperate at this stage). Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the flour. Stir in half the milk. Repeat with remaining flour and milk until combined.
Spoon into prepared patty pans and bake for 15-17minutes.
When cool use a small sharp knife and cut a 2cm deep x 3cm round from the top of each cooked cake. Discard tops - children are very handy for this! Spoon 2 teaspoons lemon butter into each hole. Place cakes on a large baking tray, increase oven temp to 200C/180C fanforced. Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites and sugar in a bowl for 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Spoon mixture into a large snap-lock bag. Snip a 1cm triangle from 1 corner of bag. Pipe mixture over lemon butter. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes or until tops start to turn golden. Stand for 5 minutes.
Serve and Enjoy!!
I made these for morning tea at work and they went down a treat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I can't believe I was so good with posting last week and now another few days have gone past without a word from me!! To be honest there has not been a lot happening in Chocolate Cat land that is newsworthy!! We are back to Winter with our weather, it has been windy, cold, wet, and dull for days now. I need a little sunshine! The children are now on school holidays, we have read their end of term reports which I have now filed away. The 'Horsey' one spent yesterday in her pjs watching tv and only ventured outside to take the dogs for a walk with us in the evening!! I must say she cooked dinner for us last night. She is doing cooking at school at the moment and wanted to practice some of the recipes she has learnt. We had marinated chicken kebabs and rice - Yum! I could get used to this!! Her brother went to a friends farm to help with some farm work - I think with the rain they would of spent most of their day inside. Today we are off to visit family friends on their dairy farm. We were at boarding school together a long long time ago. It is far too long since we have caught up so I am really looking forward to the day. I actually sat and stitched last night and it was SO good for the soul. I don't know that I'd even realised just how much I'd missed it. The 'Brownlow' medal, the best and fairest award for the Australian Football League was being televised and it is tradition to sit up and watch it. Perfect viewing for stitching as you don't really need to concentrate on the screen!! My plan came a little unstuck when Fred - the cat came and plonked himself on my lap and proceeded to settle in for the evening! The football grand final is on this coming Saturday. My team lost this last weekend but the rest of the household's team 'Geelong' is in and we are all hoping they can win back to back premierships! GO CATS! Now I'm hoping SH isn't reading this!! I have done a little online shopping in the last week. I have ordered a felt christmas ornament kit, signed up for a BOM - Bluebird, and purchased some prairie paisley fabric for borders for the quilt I haven't quite made yet from my prairie paisley fat quarters!! Unfortunately I didn't get in while the exchange rate with the USD was good. I have also signed up for a Christmas Decoration swap with IndigoBlue. The pressure is on......

Friday, September 19, 2008

Warm and fuzzy feelings.....

Well last night was another evening without stitching but it certainly had its own rewards by the end of it. The 'horsey' one and I attended the school's annual netball dinner for the end of the season. The school enters many (11 this year) teams in the local competition ranging from U11 to U18. The 'horsey' one has only been playing for a few seasons and although she loves it and is extremely enthusiastic about it her success has been varied. This last season her team made it to the finals and although didn't progress any further was very pleased with how they went. Last night the 'horsey' one was recognised with the coaches trophy so a very proud mother here!!! I was team manager for the season which actually sounds a far more important job than it actually was!! It meant I had to be there each week to score, to coach if necessary and generally be a contact person. The two young girls coaching the team presented me with a bunch of flowers to say thank you and then the team itself presented me with another bunch! I came home feeling very appreciated and warm and fuzzy inside!

I have my Sunday morning sleep-in all organised!! ( yes I do realise thats a few days away!). While running around yesterday afternoon doing jobs I found the latest copy of my favorite mag 'Homespun', the next favorite 'Quilters Companion' which came with a free!! DVD, and my favorite food mag to try and get some inspiration for dinners. If I don't think about what I have to achieve between now and then............................

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Food Glorious Food!

I love food! There I've said it and if you could see me you would be able to see the results!!! My HS did hospitality at school yesterday and brought home 2 bags of the best looking Florentine biscuits and trust me they taste as good as they look!! He would like to be a Chef and has done for a few years, he always does very well in Hospitality and has a part time job as a kitchen hand (oops sorry I think that is 'dish pig') and he certainly has the right temperament!! He has never found school easy or enjoyable and we had looked at other options for next year such as a school based apprenticeship but he would have to swap schools and he would prefer to stay with his mates where he is. It means that if he knuckles down for the next 2 years he will always have other options if he should decide he wants them. As long as he is happy in life and able to support himself I will be happy, he has been given the opportunities , it is up to him how he uses them.

(Okay I confess - still NO stitching, I am having withdrawals!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hump day!

Well today is officially 'hump day' or Wednesday - the middle of the week!! I'm working extra days this week as someone is on leave and I'm already hanging out for the weekend. Think such a busy week last week took it out of me and I haven't caught up yet. The kids start school holidays for two weeks on Friday, they are so looking forward to it!

No actual stitching last night ( I sound like a broken record) but I am starting to do the panic that I haven't started my 'Secret Santa Christmas Swap' yet when on other blogs people have finished them and have them wrapped ready to post - HELP! So I started looking in my huge pile of magazines (research aids) for inspiration and think I have come up with some ideas...but I need advice... should it be a christmas themed item or not?????

I'll leave you with an updated 'Jimmy' photo. He is growing so quickly and we are now a little worried just how big he is going to end up. He has huge paws and very long legs! We had finally had success with toilet training, things were really looking up, until the stormy weather - think we are back to square one now! He is starting to learn some manners and is just such a joy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stormy weather....

Last week we had some lovely mild days with signs that Spring had finally arrived appearing everywhere. It was enough to put a smile on the dial!!! Saturday was the most magnificent day, my perfect weather. I was able to get washing dry, needed to use sunscreen and the garden was beckoning. Well Winter is back with a vengeance! We have had stormy, cold (no make that freezing), windy weather since Sunday. We actually lost a tree - a huge gum in our yard on Sunday night. It fell over our back neighbors fence. At this stage it doesn't look like it has damaged their fence , only shredded his pride and joy - his walnut tree. It could of been so much worse. It is just getting light now so SH will soon do an inspection after another windy night. Please could we have Spring back???
Still no stitching to report.......After work last night I scored the 'horsey' one's basketball game before going to a meeting at school regarding her trip next year to China!!!!!!!!!!! Yes the school that my children go to have the 'Year 9 experience' which begins with a week in the city in February, 4 weeks at a sister school (and touring) in China in April and a 10day camp in the Otways in November. What a life! HS went last year and had a great time . After a quick dinner SH and the 'horsey one' went off to another meeting at school , this time about their camp coming up in November this year! After I collected HS from refereeing basketball I headed off to bed for an early night. Maybe tonight!