Monday, June 30, 2008

Sick kids & simple living

So at lunch yesterday with my mum I commented on how well Charlotte has been and luckily we haven't encountered much illness this year. Well, not an hour later her family daycarer called for me to pick her up because her temp was 40.5 - not good. So I collected her and she then decided to have a convulsion in the car. Izaak had a few episodes of febrile convulsions as a baby/toddler so I knew what was happening but it was still scary! So we spent a few hours at A & E of the Canberra hospital yesterday afternoon and I have to say that all the nurses were just fantastic. They were clearly stretched with resources (especially staffing resources!) but everyone was great. She's home again and on some anti-biotics but we are heading off for an EEG just to check her brain is OK in about 2 weeks time.
The funny/strange/sadistic thing? While we were waiting I was thinking damn! I should have bought my knitting - could have gotten loads done!

On the fugal/simple living front I discovered a new wealth of information today - the down to earth blog with lots of other information and a recipe for homemade washing powder and other green cleaners which of course I discovered today because on the weekend I bought 10kg of commercial washing powder! I've also joined the Aussies Living Simply forum which looks like it's packed with lots of good reading material - yet another resource! Do you think the tide is turning? Away from materialistc/commerical ideas/values towards a more 'green' way of thinking? It just seems like there are so many people, so much information and so much interest out there about sustainable living. Anyway, I'm off to attempt to make a bag out of a teatowel thanks to tutorials here and here. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What a day!

Although school holidays don't officially start until this Friday Izaak tires towards the end of the term and it's a struggle to get him to school, struggle to get him to do any work - just struggles all around really which isn't good for anyone so he finished school for the term on Friday so today was the first day of holidays for him. I'm really looking forward to the one-on-one time we'll get together this week while Charlotte is still at daycare before we head off on holidays next week. Izaak and Charlotte were in charge of lunch yesterday - they cut everything up, set the table and we all helped ourselves to lunch. Charlotte thought she was just the cleverest thing ever!

I also finally balled up the yarn that I dyed earlier in the week and I'm really liking it. I was trying to get more of a teal than the forest green that came out but overall I'm really happy and think that this *might* be a scarf clappy for myself ? any other ideas?

I didn't need anything but thought I might check out the 20% off at Spotlight today in case something caught my eye that I just HAD to have. Similarly to the toy sale issue I got there, walked in the front door and realised that I shouldn't have even gone. So we hopped in the car and headed off to The Shearing Shed for Noro for Mrs Toone's clappy v2.0. Not sure if I'm just slow on the news but the shop is for sale? They have a sign up in the window to say the business is for sale.

I went to the post office today expecting my power & gas bills which are due any day now but instead I got the most wonderful surprise - my Knitpicks Harmony interchangeable set arrived - woohoooo. I can't wait to get started with these little lovelies and I'm really impressed with the customer service I received from Kelly at Dyelicious - she was a pleasure to deal with and was really helpful. I'll definitely be buying from her again!

Izaak and I, celebrating the first day of our holidays, went to have lunch with my mum at her work and as we were walking into the staff room I spotted their lemon tree which is just starting to fruit so I am having lemon pie tonight with these little beauties...

After leaving Manuka with the Noro I thought we'd pop into the op-shop at Fyshwick where last time I went I scored a cone of 5ply Bendigo yarn for a bargain. Had a look at the upstairs bit of the shop but nothing took my fancy and then as we were walking out I noticed a sign to the 'bargain basement' so we went to check it out and as soon as we walked in the door Izaak spots a massive table of toys and is immediately off and checking them all out. I had a look at the kitchen stuff and found another cute little jug - we have HEAPS of jugs but the kids are constantly using them for water at the table, milk for their cereal, prentend tea parties - then spotted it - a lovely little dolls house. In my other posts I've talked about my challenge to make/buy handmade/buy 2nd hand gifts this year and it seemed perfect for Charlotte's birthday. It does need a touch of paint and I will put a new door handle on it and ask dad if he can put a new strip of wood on the top but in November, when the little lady turns 3 she will be unwrapping this on her special day...So I feel pretty happy at this point - a sturdy wooden dollshouse for $15 ;-) Then I spot a cardboard box on the floor underneath the table that is full of wooden dollshouse furniture. Again, it does need cleaning up but a good dust-out and it will all be as good as new. So by now I'm over the moon - talked to the op-shop guy and for $30 I bought the dolls house, all the furniture, 5mts of elastic, a toy for the boy, the jug and a plate. Not bad I say.

So it's 1:48pm and that's been my day so far - never a dull moment in this place!

I wanted to thank everyone who has been leaving comments on here too - it makes me feel like I'm 'talking' to someone as opposed to just rambling away to myself. This blog has been a great outlet over the past little while and I really feel like it's helped me move forward and into my bright, new, happy future - thanks for being part of it!


I worked hell for leather on the clappy tonight - 6 repeats of the straight sections done and I'm celebrating that I'm half way through and going great guns on the timing of this one and then BANG I realise that I've made a mistake! Argh! The stitches aren't dropping in the right places, I started purling some of them but then decided I didn't like putting the yarn in fron then behind, then in front so switched back to the pattern and now it's all messed up and I'm seriously cranky!
So tomorrow I'm off to The Shearing Shed to get another ball of Noro to match the one in the stash and will cast on yet another clappy in the scarf style though. Either that or will cast on yet again with the yarn that I dyed up earlier this week and will keep the Bamboozle version, complete with mistakes for myself since I do like the yarn and I can live with the mistakes on myself but can't quite bring myself to gift it with mistakes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Reflecting in the silence...

Dad has taken Izaak out for the day today - they were off to the movies so little miss and I had hot choccies and scones for morning tea after which she crashed out on the couch. My house is eerily silent and so while contemplating how to get a massive box made into a house that I promised, I'm contemplating lots of things that are happening at the moment in my life.

For years (well, since I've been a mum) I look forward to the annual toy sales - Big W, Kmart & Target all have their sales in the same week. I have been known to stand in a layby line for more than an hour. It has been crazy but I have scored some real bargains. I think that the past 12 months have changed me though in many ways - I'm considering our ecological footprint alot more, thinking about how consumption influences our family etc. So this year the catalogues are out and one of the companies has a Ben 10 watch for half price. My son would give his right arm for one of them and I was sooo tempted but really - does he need it? It'll be the favourite for a week or two and then tossed into the dark, scary depths of the toy box never to be seen again. Similarly, there was a dolls pram that looked like a good bargain but I bought one last year for the little misses birthday and Stuart gets the occassional ride but otherwise it sits here unused for the most part. So I had one moment of excitement and then sat back and really thought about it. My kids have enough toys. More than enough toys and they really don't need anymore.
At the moment the favourite game is 'puppies' where each of them pretends to be a dog and the other takes them for walks to the park, pet shop for food & drink etc etc. I'll admit this keeps them happy for about 5 minutes but it's them playing together without any of that high-tech, expensive, 'must have' toys that makes me feel good.
So why do I get caught up in the consumerism of toy sales? Because as a parent, like 99% of parents, I want my children to be happy, I want them to have what they want, the best toys, the most toys, the things that they tell me they really want and the companies know that and play on it. TV ads lately have caught Izaaks attention and he is really taking advertising material in now. Yesterday I was told I "have" to go to ticketek to get tickets for the Dora show "because the man on TV said that we can't miss it". I worry about how Izaak will cope with these sorts of things as he gets older because he is autistic and takes everything so literally I'm concerned that he will be a prime target for con jobs and will get taken advantage of. I'm trying now to get him to see things in ads - he wanted to go to the golden arches the other day because of the toys that they advertise on TV. In the end I took him (which says alot for the pester power of 6 year olds!) and because of sensory issues he refuses to eat the meat patty or the bread and won't drink softdrink because the dentist told him not too (again, issues around literal meanings) so I went and bought him a happy meal for him to eat a few chips, a piece of cheese (which I'm not sure is even cheese - the colour is just all wrong!) and pickles. All because of the toy that they were advertising so we talked later about it and by no means have I broken the cycle but I think I may have planted a seed in there - here's hoping!
Anyway, back to my point - the kids are bombarded with ads telling them what they "need/must" have and so I'm trying to change my thinking from subscribing to those sorts of ideals to teaching them about why/how advertising works and ways we can get around it. This year my goal was to make or buy handmade for all the birthdays/holidays and so far (with the exception of a toy for my nephew) I'm doing well. We've had my grandma, mum, dad, 2 nephews and a cousins birthdays so far with my sister and both the kids to go as well as christmas.
So I've closed the catalogues and I will not be attending the toy sales for the first time in about 7 years and I will instead be trawling the net looking for christmas ideas which I can make for the little people in my life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blogs, bump news, bikes & my bloody family!

What a fantastic Saturday! The kids actually let me sleep in for a change so I'm up and about feeling like a new woman! A wonderful Saturday as well as I woke up to a message that Georgie's bump has arrived! Nowhere near my prediction of July 4 but I did manage to get the gender right! Congratulations Georgie, Bertie and PJ on the new arrival to your family.

I think we'll be off in a few hours down to the park for a big bike ride - I'm getting a bit of cabin fever at the moment with the end of uni and all. I've just taken the training wheels off Izaaks bike so it might well be a short, frustrating, angry ride but I've got his scooter as well and Charlotte is still getting the hang of her new "big girl" bike. It's times like that when I feel so alone. When they have big achievements and I'm standing there with no one to share them with. Enoug of the whining and onto exciting news we are going to Circus Quirkus this afternoon - a circus performance which is presented by the Rotary club and the tickets are purchased by local businesses and then distributed to families with children who have special needs. This is the 2nd time we were lucky enough to get tickets. I haven't told the littlies though - it'll be a special surprise.

My family is going to be disowned soon - my biological father has torn the rotator cuff on his shoulder while at work so he will now need surgery and 6 months of rehabilitation. Mum has got a massive ear infection - to the point that the pain made her go up to A & E where they decided to put her on morphine! So she's pretty out of it at the moment and then I called my grandma who is sick with a cold/flu bug - Fingers crossed that they keep all those germs to themselves!

Last night I caught up on loads of blogs that I love reading and after following a link on quilting micks to crafty pod and from there to Eucalyptus Handmade where I found this cool little gadget which shows a new crafty site each day. Months ago I ordered a key fob off Ozebaby from a lady and last night I found her blog - yet another one to add to my ever-growing reading collection. I have started going to the Canberra knitters group - stitch and bitch - and I feel like I've discovered a whole new world of fantastic blogs, great people and a wonderful opportunity to get out and about without the kids for some crafty time, good conversation and a nice cuppa. And in other knitting news last night I finally finished the increase section of the clappy so am onto the straight repeats now and WOW the Bamboozle is so much easier to drop than the mohair! A big thanks to avalonne for trading me the rest of her Bamboozle - I'm not stressed about running out of yarn now!

July Challenge

So in June I was challenged to step-up to the housework and I think I've done a fairly good job although I am still struggling with keeping the washing under control! Through my cloth nappying journey I was lucky enough to meet Eilleen and have since been an avid reader (and admirer) of her blog. Eilleen and her husband completed the Consumption Rebellion a while ago but I still love her blog. She has really got me thinking about my own household and our own consumption and it's snowball effect. So....the challenge for July will be to reduce wastage in our house - mainly in the kitchen but where we can in the house too. In terms of wastage in the kitchen the fridge is the main culprit in our house. So far this fortnight I've thrown out some ham, 3 lots of leftovers, the dregs in 3 bottles of milk, a whole tub of yoghurt and quite a few dead veges and fruit. My leftovers pale in comparison to my parents but it still makes me feel bad that we are throwing away food that was perfectly good earlier in the week.

To overcome this issue I've got a few strategies....

1 - Buying less. I have been a single parent for more than a year now and yet I still shop as though there are 2 adults and 2 children in my house. I know that I'm only minus one adult but when it's a big-eating, hard working man it does make a fairly big difference. I'm trying to lose some weight too so reducing the amount of food we bring into the house should help with this.

2 - Cooking less. Along the same vein as the above issue I still seem to think that I'm feeding more than I really am. I'm especially bad in this area with rice, pasta and veges that go with dinner. I've got a guide now as to general portion sizes which I know I've been going above and beyond.

3 - Leftovers. Hopefully the above two strategies will reduce the amount of food that is leftover but instead of keeping leftovers in the fridge with the best intentions of eating them for lunch the next day I will start putting them in the freezer straight away where they can be pulled out for FDC lunches for Charlotte.

4 - Less trips to the shops. I am reknown for ducking up to the shops for milk and coming back with at least $50 worth of groceries - maybe only half of which I actually need. This brings me to another issue which I have been pondering - need vs want. Sounds simple? I know it is but I'm good at convincing myself I NEED things when really I only WANT them. Back to the topic at hand... I do a menu plan but am not so good at sticking to it - especially if I get a craving for something in particular. So to reduce our consumption and in turn waste I WILL stick to the menu plan.

I'm not going into this challenge alone.... Oh no..... Thanks to Eilleens blog I've discovered love food - hate waste which has great ideas for leftovers, keeping food fresher for longer and portion sizes. I've also been frequenting destitute gourmet which has some super yummy recipes. tiKKi's mash potato cake which I've previously blogged has also become a frequent favourite and the other night when I had LOADS of mash left over I actually froze the mash in 1/2 cup quantities - just enough for another cake. I'm hoping less food = less waste = more cash as well but we'll see what happens. A friend from uni is taking up a simliar challenge with her family so we'll be able to bounce ideas off each other as well.

And on the kidlet front... Izaak has finished for the term and has gotten a wonderful report card. He is assessed against his ILP (Individual Learning Plan) and although academic achievements haven't been as much as I'd hoped, socially he has made leaps and bounds so I'm over the moon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly...

The good...
I finally got around to sewing the toggles on Charlotte's hoodie

This has been gifted now so I can post about it - Georgie is about to have another little bubba so this was my gift to her - out of the stash too ;-)
I also did some dyeing today - not totally happy with the colours and I can't wait to start knitting it up. The other day I took my clappy to mum's to photograph the progress and now I can't find it at all! Worst still - it's on my favourite rosewood needles!! Anyway, this very well may become Clappy v2...

Going to the post office and finding yarn parcels is also great! I got this yarn today and am already planning a pair of finglerless gloves with it. Now I'm off to find a pattern - thinking cables for them...
The bad...
I still haven't heard anything from the school and now I'm getting really PO'd. If I don't hear anything tomorrow I will contact the education department. That will be over a week since I raised the issue and I think that is more than enough time to get the ball rolling.
The ugly...
When you don't wear gloves and dye yarn...

Devonshire tea - toddler style!

What do you get when you mix 2 x 2 year olds, scone dough and some cookie cutters ? Loads of fun, a tonne of mess and the stuff good memories are made of. This is my wonderful Charlie Bear and my nephew Aden...

Tic... Toc... Tic... Toc...

Isn't it funny how things change? A week ago I would have some free time and have to choose between knitting, study, housework etc. For the past few nights I've had time to just sit and contemplate the world and not feel guilty about whatever I was choosing to do. Uni is finished and I've gotten a few things off the needles so I've got nothing hat I HAVE to do.

Little people are well and happy - another double thumbs up day for Izaak today and talking to his teacher it seems he has been very productive this week in terms of handwriting and reading which is definitely encouraging. Charlotte is just being Charlotte and I love her to death. We've had a few playdates this week which has been really nice and has somewhat quelled my motherly guilt about having her in care full time. I know that it's the way it has to be until my degree is finished but it stinks that she spends more time with her family daycarer than she does with me and I just have to remember that I'm working towards a better future for my family and it will all be worth it in the end.

I cast on for Helena tonight with some Lion Brand cotton yarn in a fantastic shade of purple that I hope will look fabulous on my Charlie Bear. It's knitting up beautifully but I've realised I've made a mistake on the 2nd row. Now do I frog it or live with mistake and just keep going? My gauge is a bit off too but I just can't seem to get it right and figure it will be better to be a bit big than a bit small anyway...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some knitting...

Pics of stuff that I wanted to put up but couldn't find the cord for - firstly, a friend Meaghann has recently had a baby girl - Hazel - so here is her bubba gift, the previously mentioned confectionary shrug.

Secondly, a fave piccie of me with my wonderful little man who has been doing it tough recently. Last week he came home and told me that he had a headache and when I asked him why he said "because Mrs X hit me with a book on my head". Mrs X is the music teacher who is know to have a less than positive attitude towards special needs students. I spoke to his classroom teacher about it and 2 other children confirmed that it did in fact happen. Today was the 1st day back at music since the incident. We had a total meltdown this morning - to the point of vomiting. I debated not sending him to school today at all but I need him to learn that horrible things happen in the world and we just have to deal with them and keep going. I went to the AP and demanded that he not be sent to her class again. Luckily she was away today and he came home happy and smiling saying that he loved music because the teacher "was smiling and wasn't rude and cranky at me". If nothing is sorted on the issue before the end of the week I'm going to the education department. I am a cross between being absolutely furious and sad. Anyway, the lovely little man who makes me smile - well, most days anyway!

And finally, the progress on Mrs Toone's clappy - I'm really happy with how the colours are coming out although the yarn is quite splitty I'm sure it will be fantastic once the stitches start dropping. 3 repeats of the increase section done so far - I'm going to do 5 so hopefully the other 2 will get finished at SnB tonight.


I am so happy. As of 10:15am this morning - all things going well - I have completed HALF of my degree! The exam went really well - one of the few things I actually retained from my two hour study session last night was the mode of action and side effects of the 5 main types of anti-hypertensive medications and it was on the exam! I feel like the multiple choice went really well and I was happy with my case study answers as well.

Now it's just a case of waiting for the 4th of July when results are released and then I'm a free and easy woman until July 27 when classes start back!

On the knitting front... I met up with a friend and her newborn last week and felt rather guilty as I was the only one in our group of 4 friends who didn't have something to present to the new bub. So I came home and had a quick squizz through the stash and discovered a nice coloured but ordinary ball of acrylic which I had actually bagged up ready for Vinnies. Next stop - Rav for a suitable pattern which was quick, easy and didn't require much yarn - queue the Confection shrug took a few hours, no thought needed and looks really nice. I can't find the charger for the camera so no piccies tonight but all in all a very productive day - finished the semester at uni, made a newborn gift for baby Hazel, caught up with a friend for coffee and had dinner with mum and dad.

Whew! After all that I need a good lay down....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

There is something wrong with me.....

I have an exam at 9am tomorrow - Acute Care Adult. This is the subject that I have been most concerned about all semester and that I have clearly struggled with. Leading up to the exam I am sitting on 38%. So I need 12% (24 marks) off this exam paper which I am stressed about. I'm hoping I'm not going to fail, I've never failed ANYTHING before. But neither have a received a pass as a mark - I know it sounds snobby but I've been aiming high. Until now.

The exam is in approximately 12 hours, I am hopelessly unprepared and I'm sitting here blogging, reading, browsing, watching telly and cleaning the house. Why? I have completed my mental health unit and so I'm pretty sure it's called 'avoidance' but I just can't seem to make myself get into it. Tomorrow is multiple choice and case studies but it's a HUGE subject. In 12 weeks we have covered - aetiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and nursing interventions for...
Respiratory - asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, emphysema
Cardiovascular - angina, athlerosclerosis (I still can't spell/say it!), infarct,
Oncology, Haematology and Immunology - cancer, haemophilia, anaemia
Endocrine - diabetes, thyroid disorders
Gastrointestinal - small bowel obstruction, large bowel obstruction
Nervous - MS
Operative care - analgesia, anasthetic

I can see now why I just feel like it's too big a mountain to climb. I figure that what I know now is what I now and I'm just going to hope and pray that it's enough to get me through this exam, this subject, this semester. It's also more important because this is the subject that is linked to my practical placement so if I fail this subject I will have to repeat it and that will put me back a whole year in my degree progession which I'm really hoping is not going to happen. Cross your fingers, toes, eyes - all bodily parts for me please.

A friend said to me the other day "P's get degrees" - I'm hoping that will be the case for me!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finally.... finished

Just wanted to quickly post....


To be honest, it took me about 4 days of actually knitting time to get it done but another 3 weeks of undoing, redoing, undoing, redoing, you get the picture. Anyway, she's done now and ready to be shown off at SnB on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My bad?

OK - I know what my previous post said but today something happened.

Izaak has had Mrs Toone as his teachers aide for 2 years now and she has gone well above and beyond her job description with my little man. She knows his love of movies so last school holidays actually dragged her husband along to the movies to see Bee Movie so that she would be aware of the characters, plots etc for when he came back to school. She brings in her personal resources (books, videos etc) for him frequently. She is just lovely. Middle aged with grown up children of her own she just loves him and the feeling is mutul.

Anyhow, I digress. Today I caught up with her and was chatting away when she told me that she and her husband are going overseas. For a month. To Europe. They will travel from Australia to Germany, through Italy and France, over to Ireland and Scotland then through Britain on their way home. She loves history and so while the trip is for her husbands work she will be going to see Troy, the replica trojan horse etc etc. So I was thinking it would be nice to make her something to take with her. I'm thinking of Clapotis given that I've only got about 8 weeks and I've still got exams and school holidays which means I won't get that much knitting time.

Still digressing.... I had to go to spotlight for more fabric for school pants for the boy when I just *had* to check out the yarn isle. And spotted some white baby layette on special. I couldn't help myself. I really couldn't. 5 balls of it were calling to me -perfect for clappy and I could dye it as well. She has amazing blue eyes and always wears blue clothing or earings so I'm thinking a blue/teal sort of colourway...

I got home and realised I've dyed yarn before but always 100% wool. Layette is 20% cotton, 80% bamboo so I'm not sure how to go about getting some colour in there. Off to investigate...

Stash stocktake

Haven't blogged for a few days now - I have been really crazy busy with my exam this week. Thank goodness it's over! 1 more to go now - Acute Care -Adult is next Monday and I've worked out I'm currently sitting on 38% so I need 12 marks off this exam - I'm hoping it will be ok because if I fail that unit I can't go on in the program with my prac placements so fingers crossed!
I have updated my stash on Ravelry this week. I cleaned up all the spotlight & lincraft bags, tubs, green bags and various other places that I had things stashed. I don't have as much as I first thought and lots of it is designated to particular projects but seeing it all there together certainly brings things into perspective. I won't be buying yarn for a while now!! These are a few things in the stash (from top to bottom) Panda Soft 8ply - I love the color of this yarn and I *think* it will be a ribbed tank for summer. 12ply (can't find the ballband right now!) this is the leftovers from my Boogie vest which will be a beanie for the young man - pattern is yet to be decided. 8 balls of Lincraft Prism - any ideas?? Lincraft Cosy wool - maybe a pair of Thuja socks? or with some contrasting yarn for longies? Not sure yet.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thanks AGAIN mum & dad!

We all know about the increasing cost of groceries and how hard it is to make ends meet. Well my wonderful parents help us out frequently in the financial department but today was really something. See all that food....

All $200 of it? Mum and dad bought it for us. Big hugs to you guys :-)
We've baked, visited, washed, cleaned and ironed today. I'm tired. Now about to start dinner then need to frog the shoulder of the Boogie so I can wear it to a coffee date tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yet another WIP

Because you can never have enough right??

I spotted this really simple pattern the other day and I loved the colour of this yarn that I picked up at spotlight a while ago. The pattern is for a very simple vest sort of thingie with a tie around the waist. No waist shaping or anything fussy - just lots and lots of stocking stitch. Good TV knitting project where I don't have to think about it too much - well not at all really! The pattern is written for 2 needles but I'm attempting it on circulars. This will be the first time I've attempted to change a pattern so I'll see what happens. Excuse the crappy photo - will try again tomorrow in natural light but it's a beautiful deep purple colour...

1 down - 2 to go

Analysing Disease went better than expected and I'm feeling confident that I have done enough to pass the course so I'm happy. I know that I got a few things wrong but I also know I got a few things right.

On the knitting front I finished the knitting part of my knitting needle bag which I'm going to use as part of a swap. I'm confident my swapee doesn't read here (it's a secret swap so technically she shouldn't know who I am at all). I'm really happy with how the colours came out but the stitch pattern didn't seem to "pop" as much as some of the others on the gallery page at Rav for this pattern...

I did really enjoy the pattern though and spotted some fabric that immediately called out to me as the lining of a bag so I got some and found some yarn I liked as well so this combination is destined to become a knitting needle bag of my very own...
To celebrate another FO & 1/3 of my exams being over we're having a movie night here tonight. We pull Charlotte's mattress down, add lots of blankies, a few DVDs and some chippies and it's happy days...

Oh and I was moving some furniture last night and guess what I discovered BEHIND the TV unit? Yep - the keys that went missing about a month ago!! At least now I've got a spare :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just a whinge....

Tomorrow I've got an exam.

and I'm not prepared as well as I would have liked to have been.

9am tomorrow I will sit a 3 hour exam paper for Analysing Disease - part II. My essay went well (distinction) and so I only need 12 marks off the exam and there is a large multiple choice section so I feel as though I will get through with at least a pass but I want more. Much more. I've never gotten a pass in my entire university career and I don't want to start now. On the other hand I'm single parenting 2 children and studying full time so I guess I have to take what I can get.

Wish me luck.

Although it is a total whinge post there are a few things in my life that are guaranteed to make me smile and one of which is the 2 boys in my life. 1 each of the human and animal variety...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Discovering an animal

Izaak has to do a project for school - an animal discovery poster. Wow things have changed since I was at school - he is in year one and when the note came home it included a marking criteria and also states that they are expected to do a reference list! Waaayyyyy back when I was in year one I was happy colouring in and learning to read. It does make me worry - when do kids just get to be kids? Anyway, I digress. Of course my child decides to do his on rabbits. I helped with finding the pictures and some of the spelling but otherwise it is all his own work....

I'm proud of him for finishing this project - it really was a hard task for him to complete so I'm hoping his teacher will appreciate it. Looking at projects of other kids it's VERY clear which ones are students work and which ones are parents work. One girl hadn't put her name label on her poster and was trying to - her mum came along - "let me do it so that it's straight". There is nothing straight about Izaaks poster but like I said, I'm proud of him because it's all his own work. When I think about how far we've come this year I am just so proud of him and the work that he's managed to get through. I think he was pretty chuffed with it too...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Baking Leftovers?

Sounds a bit strange doesn't it!?!

I came across this recipe on tiKKi's blog a while back and had bookmarked it because it looked good. Tonight was cottage pie night and I had leftover mash and although doubtful because it was mash potato, pumpkin & cauliflower, rather than plain mash, I had nothing to put in tomorrow's lunchboxes so decided to give it a whirl.
About 30 seconds to mix it all together and get it oven-ready...
35 minutes in the oven (I do have a VERY dodgy one though!) cooling time and a bit of lemon icing and the result....

We each had a bit for dessert tonight and it is yum! Mine didn't rise very much but it's very moist and the combination of the fruit and lemon icing is really nice. I'll definitely be making this one again - I've actually got another one in the oven right now to take to a friend's for a study date tomorrow. Oh and you can't taste the cauliflower at all!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My 1st attempt at colour work

So I cast on for the fake isle hat last night and was really surprised at how quickly it was coming together. 8pm I cast on, 11pm I went to bed and had completed the ribbing, set up and first 8 rows for chart 1. Got up this morning and finished it off. So total knitting time about 5 hours and it was a fantastic pattern for the handspun. Not totally happy with the results though. The rib at the front doesn't snuggle in and it isn't quite deep enough for my big noggen. It's close to fitting Charlotte so I'm going to intentionally felt it a little bit and it will be hers. I've got enough of the handspun left over to make another one so I'll change the rib and add rows for more depth for my own. Anyway, not bad for a first attempt!

Sunday is picnic day....

We had a lovely picnic at the Carillion with my sister & her littlies, mum, dad and my two treasures. I love going there on Sundays because they have the bells playing, the music is lovely and the bells always fascinate the kids. I'm not sure if they've changed the signs or I just haven't noticed it before but they have a screen there and when the music is playing you can actually watch live video feed of the person playing it (I have no idea what they are called - carillionist?) My dad is one of a kind, you know the ones who pack everything but the kitchen sink? Well this was his effort - this was a "basic" picnic for 5 adults & 4 children....
Complete with bikes, scooters, a mountain of food, drinks and toys we settled in for the afternoon. The weather was quite nice although a little chilly when the wind blew but it was a glorious Canberra winter day. The kids fed the ducks and then we had some swans come over and Izaak even managed to hand feed them which of course was just fantastic as far as he was concerned. The kids had a go and scooting and riding. I can't believe Charlotte is riding her big bike so well and is only just two and a half! Of course there was the obligatory wrestling match with granddad and being winter, throwing of the massive amounts of leaves at each other was also a must! I was feeling lucky, very lucky and attempted (which by now I should know better!) to get a piccie of my two together. I must add that pictures (*decent* ones I might add!) of my two children together are a rare event. So what happens when you get the two ferals who have been tearing around the park for a few hours together and ask them for a nice photo of them? See below for the results....
We arrived at around 12ish and by 3pm we'd all had enough. It was starting to get really cold and everyone was starting to get tired and crabby. It was home time. But what happens when you mix lots of food and drink, playing, running, scooting, wrestling, leaf throwing, duck and swan feeding and general craziness with an autistic six year old? Why meditation of course!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Shorter & Sweeter

Mum and I had our adventure to the theatre this afternoon to see Shorter & Sweeter which was fantastic. SPOILER ALERT - if you might/are going to see this in the future stop reading now....

Each of the plays was something totally different to the one before it and there were some that were funny, one was quite sad and I did get teary and the last one was funny but quite an eye opener as the whole thing is done nude. The beginning was a killer laugh too. It seemed like the show had started, actor on stage and started her dialogue when a phone rings. She looks annoyed and the woman who belongs to the phone gets up and walks out of the theatre talking on her phone. People around us and mum and I included quickly said how terrible it was and the actor was visibly shaken. She starts again. Another phone rings. She walks off stage. Comes back and we all applaud thinking how terrible it is that people have their phones on etc etc. Phone rings again. By now audience members are groaning and getting pretty cranky. The phone is actually the actors! and the whole thing is a set-up :-) It was fantastic! A funny and not-so-subtle message about mobile phones. It was a lovely afternoon with mum and we got some pamphlets on upcoming shows, quite a few of which interest me. Under 27s get quite a good discount as well ($40 full, $30 for under 27s) and one was even half price so I'm going to try and get to more shows before December 2009 which is when I'll be 27.
On the knitting front... I gave up on Boogie and have put her away for a bit while my frustration level lowers. I think I'm going to try this hat next to challenge myself with some stranded work. Might even cast it on tonight since for a change I actually have the right needles and I'm thinking this might be the perfect project for this handspun I picked up earlier this year at an exhibition and using white for the contrasting colour. Fingers crossed it turns out ok.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cleaning..... cleaning....

"It's always so much fun for everyone..... cleaning..... cleaning" I know some of you who read this blog are also parents so I'm sure you know that song!

I know - I'm turning into a post whore - this is my 2nd blog for the day but hey I've got alot to say! For those who don't know me that well I became a single parent about this time last year and to say the least cleaning and house keeping was never my strong point. It still isn't. I let things go because other things are priorities in my life - the lovelies, uni reading & assignments, knitting, my online world & just generally being me. I was browsing around a poster store recently ( and came across something that quiet clearly appeals to me and my attitude to housework...
But I do get sick of not being able to find things. Possibly the most dramatic, expensive and annoying episode of this happening was about a week ago when the car keys disappeared. 2 full days of searching and they were clearly lost, possibly never to be seen again. Given that I drive a car which requires chips in the keys etc etc it wasn't as simple as calling a locksmith. Picture lots of heaving and groaning to move the car, a tow truck to get it to the dealer and then another week or so for them to cut a key and code it to activate the ignition and I realise the need to turn over a new leaf in the house department. If no other reason than I really can't afford all that annoyance, inconvenience and expensive for it to happen again.

So I'm getting in a whole season early and doing my spring cleaning at the begining of winter. So far tonight I've re-arranged the pantry (well we live in a shoebox of a unit with the smallest kitchen you've ever seen! Seriously, I challenge anyone to have a smaller kitchen than what we have here!) although it's probably a bit rich to call it a pantry - I re-arranged the food cupboard, cleaned out the fridge (eeewwwwww), cleaned up the lounge/dining area and even mopped the floor! Given the sad state of affairs and my total lack of motivation and house keeping skills I am challenging myself, for the month of June, to try and keep much more on top of the house and to try and do a little bit of cleaning everyday rather than trying to get it all done once every fortnight! Wish me luck! Oh and the *fingers crossed* that this will be the new and improved version of me...