wishing you a happy and holy easter weekend

I know the weekend is under way but yesterday went by so fast. Stations of the cross at 10am and for the first time I had my 3 big kids come with me. They were so eager and participated so beautifully, following all of the words and kneeling when necessary. I was so proud of them. For those who don’t know we made a big change with their schools this year and I can tell you that my little twins have learnt more in their religion classes than keira learnt in 3 years and it was so beautiful yesterday to have my little finn with me at both services with such a reverence and eagerness to be there.

Easter is a time when I recommit myself as a catholic to live a better life, to be more like Jesus and to not be a follower in a culture that has in the most part turned its back on religion and faith. I am glad for the faith I was raised with and am committed to raise my family with the same. To know that you carry Jesus in your heart, that no matter what happens in your life and even if you lost everything that you had and loved that you can turn to God is a gift. I am grateful that I have always had that in my heart and mind and that I am doing everything I can to raise my little ones the same way.

Easter is also an emotional time when we think of suffering not just of Jesus but for all who suffer and a time to be a better person and do more for others. I was crying singing the first song yesterday morning and the emotion of Easter is never lost on me. I loved being in a new church that was packed out at both times and with lots of families. It’s funny how a different area has a different mix of people and it was really beautiful to see lots of families and teenagers at church yesterday as sometimes we’ve been one of a handful of families at Good Friday services.

Just another reason why we are so happy this Easter with our move. I must write a post on why it happened and how the timing was right but both of us yesterday said we are so happy here and it’s a beautiful place to reflect on Easter and our own lives in this new house and new life. It takes courage and faith that everything will be all right to uproot your family and decide on something different. But we have been so blessed and the timing was right. This house was meant to be ours. The school is exactly what we had been searching for and we are happy. And we are expecting another baby…what more could we ask for.

I hope that for you this Easter is a time for family and reflection and for those of you who have perhaps been wanting to go back to church then why not, look up your local service this Sunday and come back. Having my faith and belief in Jesus fills my heart with something that nothing ever can in this world. It hasn’t been an easy 6 months or so for me but I’ve got prayer and I have faith and that will always carry me through. No matter what.

have a wonderful Easter everyone and as always thank you for your support here xxx

Easter shopping – It’s not too late to start!

This post is brought to you by Woolworths

If you’re like me then you are a little last minute with your shopping this easter. We’ve just moved house, I’m busy trying to unpack whilst also supervising 5 little ones now that the kids are on school holidays. And take my word for it when I say that going to a few different stores or taking them out to do easter shopping is not my idea of fun. But a quick visit to Woolworths the first day of the holidays and the Select range had all of our easter gifts sorted. First of all we started with a wooden easter sign for our table – $10

Next up a super cute bunny topped glass jar for $7

fill it up with some Select mini eggs that taste good (you can’t tell me you’ve never had a mini egg that didn’t taste like chocolate? These were delicious and definitely taste like chocolate).

A little tip is try not to fill the jar too early or your little helpers might get in there and help themselves. Or maybe you can’t trust yourself near a jar of chocolates. If so keep the eggs in the bag until the last moment. I think this would make a great little gift for someone this easter and they get to keep the jar and use it later on. I’m hoping this will live in my sewing room until next easter.

if it’s an easter egg hunt that you are planning then we stocked up on some hollow eggs in trays – the trays come in 2 sizes (we got the small size) and they are great to hide around the backyard or the house.

 and if baking is your thing then how about cupcake kits for $3 which come with the cupcake wrappers and toppers, super cute cupcake carriers which will hold 4 cakes and come in a 2 pack, top your cupcakes with mini eggs and serve with the cute little easter serviettes. I think these would be great to take to an easter lunch or picnic or as a gift to someone coming to your house or why not pop in a vanilla cake or cupcake mix and make up an easter baking basket for a family.

And when you’re looking for something small to give at easter there are a range of these cute chocolate bunnies too which I thought were very cute and being a white chocolate fan I hope the little white chocolate bunny can last until Easter Sunday in the pantry.

So don’t worry if you haven’t bought a thing for Easter. Just do what I did. Pop down to your local Woolies, look for the easter egg section and you’ll find all these goodies and more from Woolworths Select and people will think you are so organised, thoughtful and been on pinterest looking for all of these easter ideas.

Monday Morning Cooking Club : The Feast Goes on

Second cookbook in a fortnight that has come home with me. Uh oh. But I’d been hanging out for this one and there is a bit of background. When my mum was in the last few days of her life we were at the little private hospital and we’d come out of the room to the lounge and make coffee and small talk and read the paper. And I read about this new cookbook which was about sharing recipes and passing them down from generation to generation and the profits went to charity. It was just one of the hardest times of my life and something about that book just hit where I was at and what I needed right then. So I ripped out the article and made sure that I bought the book.

And I did and it quickly became a family favourite – italian meatballs, red chicken, the apricot cake which I make so often I’ve almost got it memorised, cheesecake and I even made lokshen which is a very jewish dessert involving fettucine which I actually never made again. I loved the book so much that I bought it as presents a few times including for our sweet nanny who has just left us to get married so she can start her new life with a good family cookbook…well I bought her both and a little gift voucher inside too.

This book is just as lovely as the first. Lots of family friendly recipes and special ones too. I like that in a cookbook. Recipes for when you want to entertain and be bit more fancy, recipes to make with the kids and meals that you can make during the week for the family.

Each recipe has a story that goes with it from a contributor and the whole book is put together and the recipes chosen and tested by a group of ladies who wrote the first book.

And all of the profits go to a charity which I think makes the book all that more special because it is a high quality cookbook and has that feel good aspect as well.

Don’t ask me to pick a favourite book out of the two because I think you need both but I can assure you that it’s such a lovely book and my grandma has even sat down with it to read the stories and recipes. It’s available in most bookstores and I managed to pick this one up at 30% off at DJ’s last week.

I had to make a recipe and have made it gluten free and converted it to the thermomix. It was absolutely delicious. Light and moist with a hint of tartness from the sour cream and the cherries. I will be making it again this weekend when grandma betty comes as our first visitor to the house.

3.0 from 2 reviews

Sour Cherry Slice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe comes from Monday Morning Cooking Club The Feast Goes on and has been made gluten free and adapted to the thermomix
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: 12
What you’ll need
  • 250g raw sugar (or caster)
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 250g self raising flour (I used gluten free)
  • 300g sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • half a big jar of morello cherries, drained
  • icing sugar to dust on the top
Instructions
  1. Place the large strips of lemon rind and sugar in your thermomix bowl. Process on speed 9 for 10 seconds. Scrape down bowl
  2. Add in flour, sour cream, egg yolks and process speed 4 for 20 seconds. I scraped down the bowl once in between.
  3. **Pour into a lined square or rectangle baking tin and press in the cherries lightly all over the top. You might like to make a pattern so that it’s easier to cut the cake without cutting into a cherry
  4. Bake in a 170 (fan forced) or 180 (not fan forced) oven for about 35 minutes or until lightly golden on top and a knife comes out clean
  5. Lift out the cake from the tin by the paper and leave to cool. I find it’s easier to cut a cake with the gluten free flour once the cake is slightly cooled but then this goes against my eating a hot cake straight out of the oven policy:)
  6. Dust with icing sugar and serve
  7. If you don’t have a thermomix then combine sugar, lemon rind, flour, sour cream and egg yolks and mix well and follow from **

 

And in keeping with family traditions I served this cake on the china that carries my maiden name on it as it was a pottery house in Staffordshire and I like to collect some of it from eBay.

your pregnancy questions answered

This post is brought to you by Blackmores

Since I’ve announced my 5th pregnancy I’ve been receiving messages and emails with some of your questions. And I thought it was a great opportunity to answer them in the one spot. And here it is………………and of course I am not your Dr or midwife this is just my experience and what I’ve been through and you should always get your own advice based on your own history and circumstances.

I get really bad pregnancy symptoms and I’ve heard that they can get worse with each pregnancy, I really want another baby but that scares me. Have yours gotten worse?

My pregnancies themselves have been pretty straight forward and it’s the same for this one now- morning sickness is always a sure sign that I’m pregnant, then that leaves and heartburn walks right in as well as exhaustion and then the veins in my legs look really bad. I haven’t had any serious pregnancy symptoms or complications. I know that isn’t the case for everyone. I do have to get my veins operated on as each pregnancy they are looking worse on my legs but it isn’t serious. And I do suffer from low iron during some of my pregnancies so this pregnancy am also required to take an iron supplement but that hasn’t always been the case with my previous pregnancies.

I would always talk to my midwife or OB after the pregnancy and ask their advice if you have serious complications or symptoms that really bother you. I find they usually tell you anyway at your 6 week post partum check up when you can discuss having your next baby.

I’ve had two c/sections and my dr said no more. I wondered how you are having another one?

I got this question a couple of times since I’ve announced my pregnancy. Now I am not your Dr but I listen to my own Dr and he told me throughout my 4th pregnancy that it would be my last c/section. And I accepted it. But he cut out all of my scar tissue and gave me a new line of stitches and said that I could actually have another baby if I wanted. That was music to my ears wasn’t it? I think we’ve all heard of that lady who had 7 or more c/sections or people who’ve been told they can’t have another one. Sometimes I wish I’d never had c/sections but I can’t change the past or the order of my family or any of that. The unexpected happens and even through our best intentions and wishes we end up having a c/section and we can’t change that.

I would always talk over the risks with your OB, I always ask him before he does the c/section and he knows I’ve always wanted a big family. I put a lot of trust in him and he’s one of the best so I’m happy with his advice BUT we are all different and we all have different bodies, different pregnancy histories and different experiences so always ask your own Dr or midwife.

How old are you? I’m in my early 40′s and I’d like to have another baby but family and friends are warning me against it because of my age but I’d really like to have another?

I am 38 and I remember when my mum had my little brother at 40 back in the late 80′s and that was considered ancient! I would say go for it. Look after yourself, take your pregnancy multivitamins or a preconception multivitamin like Blackmores Conceive Well Gold and see how you go. Your fertility does decline as you age and you might find charting helpful to be a little more accurate when you are trying.

I’m over 40 and am trying for another baby and wondering did you try any natural therapies to get pregnant?

I had 2 miscarriages before this pregnancy and I had kind of decided that if it was going to happen then it was going to happen. One of them was just before I fell pregnant so  I was still feeling a little down in the dumps about that but stayed on my pregnancy multi-vitamins, wasn’t drinking alcohol, cut back on my coffee and tried to be as healthy as I could. I know that there are natural and alternative therapies that do work for some people but I haven’t tried any of them myself.

I hope that answers a couple of questions that you might have………..is there something else you’d like to ask? fire away and I’ll answer them in the comments section for you……………………

And if you’d like to win a Mums Prize Pack full of goodies just for you and worth $167 then just let me know your top tip for a pregnant lady like myself or perhaps for someone trying to get pregnant. Entries close next Tuesday 22nd April and terms of my giveaways can be found here

our sunday

Another day and more boxes to unpack. We also went to our new church for the first time, had some pastries and hot chocolate afterwards (well we had to check out where to find the best morning tea around here), I did the pantry and tried to pretend I was the organised housewife and put food into my tupperware modular mates and find a home for everything ( I bet she would have my house super organised in no time!), there was some mowing (we really need a ride on mower so just did some of the lawn today with our little regular mower and will need to invest in one………..they are not cheap).

and I took some super cute pics of the kids playing too. They play non stop and it’s hard trying to juggle the unpacking, cooking meals and supervising the littlest two who just stand at the back door waiting to go outside if we are inside……………….

Tomorrow is one of the only days of the school holidays where we don’t have appointments or things to go to so I’m hoping to knock over some more boxes, get the kids wardrobes sorted and finish the kitchen which has been the biggest job of this move.

and we have moved

But if you’re on my facebook or instagram then you probably already knew that. Here is the very first picture I took once we had settled and we were killing time waiting for the keys. It is quite a change from our little suburban block where the play area was cement and gated in…..and I’m not sure who is loving it more here – the adults or the kids.

Photo: So exciting! We are in.... Sort  of still waiting for the key

and here is our first morning, with coffee in hand I sat outside and saw 3 cute bunnies (and yes as someone kindly pointed out I know they won’t be too cute once we have some veggies going), 2 wallabies and lots of birds. In fact I can hear the birds all day long and it’s just heaven.

I have a favourite saying from St Augustine ‘Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you’ and it’s kind of how I feel about this place. And all of the places we’ve bought and sold have led us to this. The one place where I can say hand on heart that I never want to leave. We have so much space, it is so quiet, it is so beautiful and it is all ours (and the bank … if you want to get technical). We’ve had the dream for a while  and it meant leaving all of our family and friends and taking a big risk. But I know that it’s worth it and if you could come and have your coffee here in the morning then I’m sure you’d agree with me.

Now of course there are some adjustments to be made – it is no longer a 2 minute trip up to the shops for some pizza or milk, I don’t think you’ll hear us say I’m just ducking up the road for 5 minutes, mobile and internet reception on our phones is not what we’re used to and we’ve been walking through the house trying to get the best spots, the ants are huge – I went out last night to put some shoes out and they are about 5 times the size of the biggest ants I’m used to.So we have a lot to learn but we are happy to learn and loving every minute of it. Ok except for the unpacking. I am not loving the unpacking.

I look forward to sharing more pictures and more experiences from our new home with you………….just as soon as I have seen a few more boxes unpacked. You should see my sewing room………….it’s wall to wall boxes and was actually just a joke with the removalists because so many boxes just seemed to be heading to the sewing room.

a little bit of knitting

Things are a bit crazy around here and I think this will be the last blog post for this week. Packing and cleaning and trying to work out what is coming with us is keeping us busy. I have actually enjoyed packing up my craft room if for nothing but finding lots of things that I had totally forgotten about.

I also found 8 balls of worsted cotton and have popped a crochet hook in a ziplock bag with them and intend to do some face washers and cloths during the week whenever I need to take a break and put my feet up. I started on one on Saturday night when my legs were just aching from a day on my feet. The pattern is the easiest ever and you work around in a circle and this is great for beginners or anyone wanting a quick and easy project.

Pattern is called the Almost Forgotten Washcloth and you can find the pattern here. I buy my cotton from here. Happy knitting……………………….and see you next week from my new house….who knows when I’ll have an internet connection though.

My Darling Lemon Thyme – Recipes from my real food kitchen

I’ve been running a little low on enthusiasm to get into the kitchen lately. Exhaustion from moving and growing a baby and just all the day to day jobs I have to do mean that I’ve been finding it hard to get excited about cooking……..and especially because I also have to keep our dinners gluten and dairy free for little miss.

I’d seen a few pictures for this book popping up online this week (and I’ve just discovered that the book launched this week so that makes sense!). And when I saw it at Big W today I had to pick it up and bring it home with me. This is a meat free and gluten free cookbook and mostly dairy free and that’s what really appealed to me. I need some inspiration in that department and this book truly delivers. In fact I’m going to put it right up there with Against All Grain which is my go to book when I want to try something new out on the family.

My Darling Lemon Thyme is a food blog and now a book. The food is beautifully styled and presented and is full of family friendly recipes that everyone will enjoy making and eating. I like that this book isn’t about having lots of new ingredients in your house just to make something. Eggs, honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, gluten free flours and grains, olive oil, some coconut oil in recipes and recipes at the back of the book to make your own pastry, sauces and even a gluten free sourdough starter that I will have to make at the new house

You can tell that a lot of thought and work has gone into this book. It is for how people want to eat these days and so many of us have children or someone in the family on a special diet. But the appeal of this book is that you won’t feel like you’re eating food for a special diet. It’s just good healthy wholesome food minus the gluten and the meat. In fact I didn’t even realise it was meat free till I got home so it’s great for the vegetarians and vegans too.  I’m itching to try so many recipes and when I started to list them I realised that I wanted to make most of the things in the book.

But if I had to narrow it down to say a top 10 that I will be making first? sweetcorn and basil fritters, mung bean pancakes with satay vegetables, brown rice salad with spice roasted carrots, feta and pine nuts, quinoa and lemon anzac biscuits, lemon honey and thyme curd shortbreads, dark chocolate coconut bites, peanut brown rice patties, chocolate avocado tart, chai cheesecake with earl grey fig sauce and pecan maple tart………….was that 10?

You get the picture anyway. Recipes that you want to try and a book that you want to pick up and read and plan meals from. This is definitely one of the best of the gluten free books that I’ve purchased and if you want to eat a bit healthier and get into wholefoods then this might just be the book for you. I’m really excited that most of the recipes will suit my little miss and her special diet while also keeping the family happy.

Well done to Emma for such a beautiful book. I shouldn’t be buying cookbooks since we are moving house so soon but this had to come home with me and it’s going to get a lot of use at this house.

top tips for moving house……….with kids

I love how things sneak up on you….like moving house! We are just a week out and I’m getting my butt into gear and doing what I do best………..work at the last minute. We had a few little dramas yesterday like the removalist having us moving to the wrong place and on the wrong day. Thankfully we are all good now and I’m hoping that’s the worst of the things that could go wrong.

So let’s talk moving with kids………..this is our 5th house and we’ve done a few moves. Not as many as you defence families have probably done and growing up in the navy means that we moved every 2 to 3 years so my mum was certainly the queen of moving house compared to me. But I’ve put down some top tips and things I’ve learnt over the years that have made things run smoothly

1. leave out some suitcases for toys, clothes and things you’ll need before you’re settled

Packed For 3 Weeks

2. take a laptop and dvds with you to keep the kids entertained when all the furniture is gone and you’re cleaning or waiting to be settled and have the tv set up at your new home. This is a lifesaver when it’s getting late in the afternoon and no one is happy….parents included. Everyone is tired and cranky and watching their favourite dvd (albeit on a smaller screen) with some pillows is great entertainment

3. leave out some plastic plates, cutlery and drink bottles. You need to eat and drink. We love to have rice crackers, le snaks, bananas, yoghurt and some jelly snakes (treat food!) for the day of the move to keep everyone happy and lunch might be a pie or some sushi from the shops but at least we have snacks covered.

4. give the kids a box each to help pack their room. We have the packers doing most of our packing but the kids love to get involved and have packed up their knick knacks and bits and bobs and enjoyed it. Keep it simple and they’ll have fun.

5. be prepared for the barbie shoes, bobby pins, lego, tissues, socks and odd shoes behind beds and at the back of wardrobes. Wow when we left out last house I couldn’t believe the number of these items down the side of the kids beds! Maybe it was because we were moving house with 4 kids but I had to run around with a bag and pick it all up

6. Get a cleaner or friend in to help with the clean. I used to have a great lady lily who would come in with her team and clean my house in half a day and that was all they did. Exit cleans. I can’t find her anymore as she left the agency so for the last 2 houses I have helped my cleaner. We start early and in opposite parts of the house and get the house clean on the last day. It leaves one of you to mind the kids – but also gives the kids some water and a chux and let them do some dusting and help you too. They’ll last about 5 minutes but it’s fun. But if you can get a cleaner in it really lightens the load. I always seem to be pregnant when we move so having someone else do the oven is a great help too. Leave out all of your cleaning products, 50 million garbage bags ( you can never have too many garbage bags when moving) and a broom and vac and you’ll be done in no time.

7. Camp out at the new house.………this is something that we just love to do. We’re doing this time too, no hotels just airbeds, pillows and doonas at each house. I’ve got a jug and toaster set aside so breakfast is covered, dinner is usually takeaway but the kids think it is the best fun. It means you are there bright and early for the removalists and the kids have figured out the best bedrooms and explored the house. It is also a great way to save money too and especially for large families.

8. Get some help in with the kids if you need it.…..if your neighbour or friend offers to take the kids for a few hours say yes. I’m so bad at saying no but say yes and you’ll knock over a few jobs faster if you have the house to yourself for a few hours.

9. Do all of the disconnection/reconnection/change of address stuff at least 2 weeks before you move. This has really lightened my load knowing that the paperwork side of things is done and let’s hope it runs smoothly. I always seem to have problems with the internet.

10. Say goodbye to your neighbours! Always make time to say goodbye to your neighbours and leave them your new address in case any mail /deliveries or the new owners need to forward something to you. I’m going to miss our neighbours so much when we move as they have just been so lovely and friendly to us but I know we’ll have them out to our new house which will be great.

All Cleared Now

11. Do your pantry and fridge ahead of time and not at the last minute! There is nothing worse than arriving at your new house and the bins are full of food and stuff from the previous owners. It really pays to do your fridge, freezer and things that will cause rubbish just before your last garbage collection. If you have lots of rubbish that isn’t food then take it with you to the tip or to your next house if you can. I can proudly say that I’ve done the pantry and this weekend is freeze and fridge before rubbish on Sunday.

12. Take photos! It’s great to look back on especially when the kids are older as you are making memories moving into your new home.

13. Leave a box or two open on the last day because we always seem to find things at the back of cupboards, in the laundry, in the garage that need to be packed so having a spare box or two that last minute things can be chucked into is great and means you aren’t lugging bits and pieces in your own car to the new house.

And that’s it from me………..love to hear your top tips for moving with kids and what has worked with you

tuna nicoise my way

This post is brought to you by Woolworths

One of my all time favourite salads that I never get sick of is a good old tuna nicoise. It just has the perfect combination of ingredients and is a filling meal in itself. We love to make it on weekends and have it with a glass of wine and some crusty bread. Pretend we’re in Paris again where I first discovered tuna nicoise and also my love of creme brulee. In fact if I had to think of the perfect meal it might just involve this salad with some warm baguette followed by creme brulee…maybe a kir royale too.

Now this has a few more steps than just a ‘throw together a few salad ingredients’ kind of salad but trust me it’s worth it. I really love to have tuna in oil but if you’re sticking to tuna in springwater or brine then you’ll still love the salad. I’m just not a tuna in brine person.

Woolworths Select have just released a more sustainable type of tuna called pole and line tuna which avoids those big nets that catch up all of the other sea animals in them.

In fact Greenpeace wrote a great article here with all of the benefits of choosing pole and line tuna when we are buying our tuna at the supermarket. So it’s worth making the switch and especially for the environmentally conscious people out there.

Hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did……………for those of you with fussy eaters I grabbed some long parbake rolls from the bakery section at Woolies. Pop them in the oven until warm, slice down the middle and let the kids pick what they want in their rolls – mine liked lettuce, egg, potato and some beans and you’ve got a tuna nicoise roll and your kids are eating salad for dinner.

tuna nicoise my way
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
What you’ll need
  • iceberg lettuce
  • tomatoes (I love roma or truss)
  • 3 -4 eggs
  • 6 – 10 baby potatoes
  • ½ red onion
  • handful of green beans with edges trimmed
  • a few Tbs of pitted olives
  • 425g can of Woolworths Select Tuna in Oil
  • olive oil
  • mayonaise
  • honey
  • mustard
  • balsamic vinegar or your favourite
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil eggs and potatoes in separate saucepans on the stove. You want your potatoes to be firm enough to slice so don’t over boil them as if you were going to mash them.
  2. As for the eggs I’m pregnant so it’s hard boiled all the way but you could have them partly hard boiled if runny eggs aren’t a problem.
  3. Slice the lettuce and place on a large plate or at the bottom of your salad bowl.
  4. When the eggs and potatoes are done slice thickly or quarter and set aside on a plate.
  5. Drain tuna can and place on the lettuce.
  6. top with tomato, eggs, potatoes, olives and top with onion rings (or diced onion).
  7. Now to make the dressing mix together in a jar or glass 2 Tbsps of mayo, 2 Tbsps of olive oil, 1Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp mustard, salt and pepper to season and some vinegar. Shake or whisk well and season to taste.
  8. When you are ready to serve the salad then drizzle the dressing on top and enjoy.
  9. If you are making this salad ahead of time then make sure the eggs and potatoes are cold before adding them to the salad as it’s not good for health and safety to add the hot ingredients to the cold and then leave or refrigerate. I assemble mine just before eating and love the hot eggs and potatoes on the cold salad.
  10. Enjoy………we love this with crusty bread or in a pinch some garlic bread. It makes for a great family dinner and the kids eat what they like from it.

 

I love weddings

It’s been 9 1/2 years since my own wedding but I still love and appreciate all of the little details that make a wedding day. And I just love sharing in someone’s special day especially when it’s family and you remember the groom when he was a little kid. Yesterday my cousin Anthony married his sweet fiancee Georgia and it was the most perfect day.

And let me tell you that lady had every little bit of the day perfectly planned out and I have so many photos to share with you. So sit back and enjoy………………….

the wedding was held in his school chapel and was just beautiful. And it was a special place as his own parents had been married there and I was a little flowergirl at that wedding. Oh look I managed to find this pic from more than 30 years ago. This is the groom’s mum as the bride, my grandfather Teddy, his aunty to the left and me and my little sis down the front. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about family that you have memories and you make new memories together.

I had a perfect spot to take some photos but was always conscious that the wedding photographer was there too and did not get in the way. Promise. The service was conducted by a Jesuit priest and I love the Jesuits as they are just so down to earth and have a way for including everyone. And church weddings are just so special.

the reception was held up at Palm Beach and just gorgeous and where I discovered that Georgia is a budding Martha Stewart and planned out every little detail. See that letterbox hiding hiding there………let’s get a closer look.

here is the letterbox…I hear that Georgia got the letterbox from the US and had a decal made here and then put the decal on the box herself. I was so in love with this and want one for my new house. Don’t you? At the wedding we just popped our cards in there for the new couple.

and all the little details around the cake………………….

and the table settings….we each got to take our little succulent home and apparently there were a lot of people eating little cans of corn and baked beans. Aren’t they gorgeous

And that was that. I wish the lovely couple the most wonderful life ahead full of laughter and love and lots of beautiful children. Thank you for letting us share your special day with you.

p.s except for a couple of Instagram pics I took all of the photos with the new Olympus OMD E-M10 which is a great little camera I’m testing out with thanks to Olympus. I put my 12-40mm PRO lens on and was loving it. Review and giveaway to come…………….it’s an entry level version of my usual camera and so far so good. 

19 weeks and doing well

I think there is probably a misconception that the more babies you have the easier it gets. In some ways it’s easier and you know what to expect but if there is one thing that never changes for me or gets easier it is the worry. The nerves. The things that can go wrong. And when things have gone wrong in the past it turns you into a nervous wreck. I’m still not enjoying this pregnancy as much as I probably should because I just worry so much. And I’ve always been that way….whether it’s been my first or the twins or my 6th. But we are so over the moon to be having another baby as I really didn’t think it was going to happen.

Yesterday was my 19 week scan and I was a bundle of nerves. I couldn’t think of anything else and was praying and trying to be positive about it all. I try not to pray to make things happen but rather that I know it’s in your hands God so I’m leaving it up to you and then I say but please make sure everything is ok with our baby. The scan went so well and it always amazes me the difference from a 12 week scan to that 19 week scan where you see everything about the baby…including whether it’s a boy or girl.

And yes  we found out what we are having. I have to. I know some people love to and some people would never find out. For me I need to know to get those needles working overtime and to start getting ready for the baby. Now my dad and grandma betty sit in the don’t want to know camp….that was a bit tricky with my mum as she liked to know and would keep it a secret – well I hope she did:)   But this time I’ve been asked not to put it out there on the net and just keep it to family and I’m respecting that. As big as my mouth is and as excited as I am to share the news this is our baby not just mine so I’m sticking to that. And I might need to keep a few projects off ravelry or do a few neutral projects to keep the secret.

p.s I would love to show you more photos but turns out one of the little ones has taken the pictures to school today for news…………………..without telling me!!!!!

 

sentimental when moving house

Do you get sentimental and attached to your houses? Thinking of all the memories and things that happened in a house when it’s time to leave. I do. I’m hopeless like that. The very first flat we bought was where we lived after we got married, I’d bake for the office and knit before I caught the bus to the city and hoping that soon we would be starting our family. Retro daddy was spending most of his time in Japan or away from home (not good timing for starting a family) and it wasn’t how we pictured it but we were newlyweds and happy.

But it didn’t take us too long and buying our very first house really felt like an achievement, the fact we had bought a house……….with a garden. And bringing our first baby back home to it and I was terrified of walking from the car to the house with my precious newborn. And it’s where I first became a mum. We’d walk down to the beach most days, I learnt to sew and was doing lots of knitting and taking keira to baby swimming lessons and just enjoying being a first time mum. I had the best neighbour next door who also loved to bake and sew and we’d have the biggest chats over the fence while hanging out our washing.

And our next house was where we raised the twins from babies to preschoolers. It’s where elodie came home to. It’s the place where my mum would visit and the last time I ever talked to her before she got too sick and then passed away. It was really hard to leave that house with the memories I had, good and bad. And it was the first time we dabbled in renovating and got a taste for it.

getting ready for new floors

from the doorway looking in

rubble everywhere

And then there was this house……I’ll always treasure this photo of our first night here. With that giant pack of toilet paper in the photo. We like to camp out before the removalists arrive as we’re so excited to just be in our new home. Well actually that turned out to be a funny night with airbeds deflating during the night and no one got a good night’s sleep especially not retro daddy but it was fun and we look back on it and laugh. 40 year old green carpet and all.  And this is the home that we brought emerson home to.

late breakfast after school drop off

going home outfit

and my beautiful magnolia tree….it doesn’t look like much right now and I hope the next owners keep it because it is absolutely magnificent when it’s in flower like this pic.

And in a couple of weeks we start making memories in a new home. And it’s exciting and I can’t wait to get in there but at the same time I’ll be sad to see this one go and the memories we’ve made in this house. I’m so glad a young family are moving in and can make this their own just as we have.

Tell me – are you sentimental like me when it comes to where you lived or do you just move on………………….

freezable meals to cook for a new mum

Being a busy mum and always surrounded by little people (and growing another one) means that I’m hard pressed to find ways to volunteer my time and do something in person for someone. But one way that we can show that we care is by taking a meal to someone who needs it and especially after they have a baby. Oh and knitting. I always love to knit for a new baby too. New baby, operation, death of a loved one. All times when we care about someone and we know that they just don’t have the time or energy to cook a meal. This weekend I’m cooking for a family who have a little bub born with some health issues who is still in hospital and a big family at home to feed. I’ve been keeping their little baby in my prayers and knew I wanted to make them a dinner.

before the oven

Now the first thing that springs to mind that is easy to freeze and take to someone is lasagne. But you might want to be the first in there with the lasagne as I’m guessing that lots of other people think of that option too. I’ve got 2 great lasagne recipes. First up is a super easy vegetarian lasagne and then I’ve got a big hearty meaty lasagne that always gets eaten too. Well lasagne in this house gets eaten full stop. Meat or vegie. And makes for extra dishes but is always worth it.

Now after I thought about lasagne I decided on chicken pies. This is a big family with lots of little ones so I know that my guys love chicken pie so I’ve decided to make a huge rectangle one and not be limited to a pie dish. Otherwise I would be dropping off 3 pies and who knows how big their oven is.

When you really want to show some love and tap into your inner nonna (yes that’s right your italian nonna) then you need 3 hour meatballs which are amazing! easy to freeze and you could drop over some garlic bread and a salad bag that could keep for a few days.

3 hour meatballs

Now if nuts are not a problem and it’s always a good idea to ask first then these vegetarian sausage rolls are always a winner here. They are super easy to freeze and just pop into the oven and my kids love these. Super easy and healthy at the same time.

vegetarian sausage rolls

These cheesey pizza scrolls would be great to take to someone as they can be made into disposable trays and easily frozen. Just looking at this post has me thinking I must make some this week and try a gluten free version for little miss.

the finished product

Enchiladas are another crowd pleaser, easy to make then freeze and all that needs to happen at the other end is a bit of reheating in the oven. I love Pioneer Woman’s Simple perfect enchiladas which we made here. These are really fresh with coriander and cheese and just delicious.

simple perfect enchiladas

and speaking of pioneer woman and since I’m making them this weekend let’s not forget one of the best things you can take anyone – sick, with a new baby or just because you’re popping in. What am I talking about? Well I’m talking about Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls of course. They take some time and a lot of butter but man they are worth it. Everyone is excited that I’m making these on the weekend and when I looked back at old blog posts I found this time when we made cinnamon rolls and my big helper was only 4!

baking is messy

You seem to just forget the calories or butter that went into them once you have one………and reach for a second. Now what I do is I make them in a mixture of my own and disposable containers from the supermarket. The ones that I’m freezing and giving away I will bake as directed, leave to cool, cover with alfoil and then place the whole tray into 2 plastic shopping bags that are knotted up tight. I get a little worried about freezer burn. I’ll pop them in the freezer until I need them. Hot Tip. Try not to eat them all yourselves before you are taking them somewhere. Then I take them to wherever I’m going with a little post it note and ask them to place in their freezer or pop in the oven straight away for 10-15 minutes to reheat them. About 160 to 180 degrees will do.

it doesn't take long to eat them

Now these ideas were just off the top of my head. What’s your go to recipe when you are taking a meal to someone? Love to hear. Pinterest was full of ideas too….I loved this one and pinned a few to my I love quick dinners board here and if you’re vegetarian you’ll love my vegetarian board here.

Crochet for a Cause – volunteers needed

I received a lovely email this week asking me to spread the word to my friends who crochet. Is that you? Or maybe you want to learn how to crochet? Keep reading…….

Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia) are currently looking for talented and enthusiastic volunteer crochet teachers to help us with our Crochet for a Cause workshops in locations across Australia. As a volunteer you will teach classes of 10 people the art of the granny square. Classes are run on Sundays from 11-4.

Each class funds a standard obstetric fistula operation to restore the health and dignity of a woman with horrific birth injuries, at the Addis Ababa hospital in Ethiopia. For more information about the work of Dr. Catherine Hamlin in Ethiopia visit our website: www.hamlin.org.au (as well as their Facebook page here) and to learn more about Crochet for a Cause just visit www.hamlin.org.au/crochet-for-a-cause/ . You can also get in touch on 02 9440 7001 or by email at crochet@hamlin.org.au

If you want to learn how to crochet then book yourself into a crochet class here  with classes in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Waragul (Victoria).