Sunday, June 30, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013"

Sophie: We went on a family drive today to Toodyay and the Chittering Valley... this is Sophie cheekily foraging through Grandma's bag, sneekily unwrapping a chocolate while trying not to be caught out.

Grace: She has been wanting to use our phones all weekend to take snap shots... this is her using Grandma's with ease... I think she is more tech-savvy than her Mummy when it comes to smart phones!

Joining in with Jodi

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Love-Filled Projects

In the final weeks of my pregnancy with Sophie, my nesting took on a specific focus… project nesting. Rather than cleaning out cupboards, organising my pantry contents alphabetically or scrubbing bathrooms as some mamas-to-be instinctively do, I instead whipped up floral pillowcases, made pretty bunting and other decorations for my Pink Ribbon Day fundraiser (which I crazily hosted at 36 weeks) and every afternoon in those final months, I sat at my sewing machine while Grace napped and sewed.

169 squares were lovingly cut out and stitched together to create a patchwork quilt. I was desperate to complete it…wanting so much to create a piece especially for my big girl before the new addition to our family arrived. With the hum of the sewing machine, energetic kicks would thump from inside my belly. Snuggled up in one of Paul's jumpers (one of the only warm pieces of clothing big enough to cover my bump) with endless cups of herbal tea by my side, I would sew and spend time deep in thought about the imminent changes which were about to happen to our growing family. There was lots of unpicking, lots of swearing and lots of technical challenges for me (my sewing skills are very basic) and when that quilt was finally finished, I almost wept tears of joy, vowing it would be a LONG time before I ever did anything patchwork-related again.

Fast forward two years later and I’m all set to begin work on my second quilt. Just as my memories of all things ‘pregnancy’ and ‘newborn’ have softened over time, so too have my feelings of frustration over what for me was a not-so-straightforward project.

Sophie’s quilt will be a similar style to Grace’s, with simple squares cut from a mixture of floral prints and pretty patterned fabrics. Colours will be predominately mint / aqua greens and soft pinks (perhaps with a touch of lemon).  I’ve been spending many nights recently browsing sellers on Etsy and making little purchases, eagerly skipping to the letter box every few days to see which new material has arrived.

While this time around, there will not be a round basketball belly in front of me as I sew, this quilt, like my first, will be just as carefully planned, just as thoughtfully made and just as love-filled as I work on it for our little one...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Four days of solo-parenting with Paul away on a work trip meant slow and simple days for us girls over the weekend.  We had a few morning outings to parks and duck ponds, ate meals consisting mostly of left-overs and allowed ourselves the luxury of a few much needed sleep ins.

As for today, Tuesday is normally Grace's kindy day and my grocery/errands day.  However, having caught her sister's cold overnight, my big girl has spent most of the morning resting on the lounge with Sophie running around creating mess and chaos next to her.  I've ignored the house that looks like a bomb has exploded in it and focused on the lovely parts of my day instead.  Here's a few snapshots...

I've been taking some photos of Sophie's nursery for an upcoming post and am debating which colour to paint the wooden 'S' in the photo above.  I'd like to pick out one of the colours in the sweet mini-bunting hanging below it... but which one?  Any suggestions?

These two have played relatively well together considering we've been cooped up indoors due to it being a dreary day with on and off showers (not that I'm complaining as my vegetable patch will be very thankful).  There's been play dough sessions, a Happyland village created, puzzles and dress-ups.

I have been pouring over my recently purchased patterns, looking over out pieces and trying to decipher the list of materials needed.  I'm hoping to pick up some fabric tomorrow from Spotlight so I can get stuck into sewing very soon.  However, I'll have to master the skill of inserting a zip... or perhaps find a simpler pattern...

And now, with Sophie napping (hopefully) and Grace having a lie-down, I'm off to take tonight's tea out of the oven (shepherd's pie), make myself a cuppa and catch up on what's been happening in everyone else's worlds...

Sunday, June 23, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013"

Grace:  A pupil free day on Friday came at just the right time for our tired girl (there are still two weeks until school holidays).  As a treat, us three girls had lunch in Fremantle, followed by a play on the esplanade.

Sophie:  Yet another cold for our little chicken... the cycle of winter sickness seems never-ending in our household at the moment.  Fortunately, swings and sunshine brought back that sweet smile...

Joining in with Jodi

Last week I smiled at this sweet bub having a summer splash, Sammy's museum visit and Melinda's darling little pirate girl...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Making The Decision To Change Schools

As the girls and I return home after being out and about during our days, there’s a little routine of landmarks we recite on the last leg of any journey…

“Past the shops… Past Grace’s school… And here’s our street!”

As of recently, I’ve stopped saying the words ‘past Grace’s school’ because as of a few days ago, we have decided that Grace will be changing schools when she enters into pre-primary in 2014 (five days full time here in WA).  Major changes within her current school which we do not support have been the driving force behind us doing so.

Last week was filled with indecision, the weighing up of options, much deliberation over what was best for our gentle girl, lots of research and plenty of discussion (with a sprinkling of worry on my part). Grace will still be attending a government primary school, one which is fortunately within our same suburb.  However, it will no longer be the school conveniently located at the end of our street, the one where we take Asha for a run on the oval and which we drive past day after day.

With our decision now made, I am hoping that this change is going to be for the best, that perhaps Grace’s new school is where we should have been all along and where she will hopefully receive the type of education we wanted for her from the start.  Less pressure. A place where childhood is valued and not rushed.  Respect for our Australian culture.  A caring school community filled with like-minded families.   
For now, she’s happy in her little kindergarten class and so any talk of a new school won’t happen until the year is over...

For now I have to have faith in our decision and in Grace’s ability to smoothly transition to a new environment come February...  

For now, I have to accept what is and trust what will be…

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Super Moist Lemon Cake

When we first moved into our house, one of the first things we planted in our garden was a lemon tree, a small plant, barely a metre high.  Fast forward eight years and one of the 'stand outs' in our backyard is an impressive tree, over nine feet high, currently covered in fruit.  While I am constantly squeezing half of one into a mug of warm water to start off my day, using them in every day cooking and giving away bag after bag, I’m always happy to find a citrus recipe that takes advantage of our abundance of fruit.

Yesterday afternoon, I made an old favourite - a delicious super-moist cake, a Karen Martini recipe, scribbled down one night while watching Better Homes And Gardens.  I’ve written out the recipe for you all below to enjoy…

Lemon Cake

4 eggs
340g caster sugar
pinch salt
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
180g plain flour (sifted)
100g almond meal
½ tbs baking powder
160ml cream
100g melted butter

Beat eggs, caster sugar, salt and lemon zest in mixer until pale and creamy (about 3 minutes).  Add flour, almond meal, baking powder and cream and whisk until smooth (about 1 minute).  Pour in melted butter (warm not hot) and lemon juice and mix.  Pour into a springform pan and bake 165°C (fan-forced oven) for about 50 minutes.  Cool for 30 minutes.

Ice with cream cheese frosting.  The cake itself is already fairly sweet so a dusting of icing sugar would probably finish it off nicely too, especially if it were going to be eaten soon after the cooling time which I definitely recommend...

The sweet Royal Doulton side plate above was a beautiful find at an antique shop on our most recent holiday to Denmark.  
I just love it and am so happy Paul insisted I go for browse in that shop while he took the girls for a walk.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013"

Sophie: Oh so mischievous... filthy here after traipsing through black garden soil to pull not-yet-ripe lemons off our tree... a scratched cheek the result of her efforts.

Grace: Our little sensitive soul has made it five days straight without crying at kindy drop-off in the past fortnight... we're hoping the cycle of anxiety has been broken.  There have been more tears than usual at home however... the result of a tired little girl for whom school holidays can't come around quick enough...

Joining in with Jodi

Last week I loved Brandy's oh so beautiful photos, sweet Sage on her morning walk and two little twin gumnut babies...

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Fifth Member Of Our Family

Prompted by a comment from a long-time reader a few weeks back, today I decided to focus my post on our fifth family member, our much loved Asha.  Having shared a photo of Grace and her 'best friend' to accompany my thoughts on 'capturing the now', I felt bad that someone so familiar with my blog wasn't aware we had a dog...

For years before we had children, Asha was our baby.  We brought her home as a sweet little puppy... a typical Blue Heeler who nipped at our heels, dug holes in the garden we were working so hard to beautify and who tore my brand new dress off the washing line and ripped it to shreds.  Sunday walks at the Leighton dog beach or along the river were planned with Asha's needs in mind.  She joined us on several holidays to Esperance, had her own impressive 'collection' of stuffed toys and was regularly bought bones and other special treats.

When I fell pregnant with Grace, it was as though Asha could sense something.  She would no longer jump up excitedly when I was around and became my little shadow.  One morning early in my pregnancy, I experienced a frightening amount of bleeding. Terrified I was losing our baby, I sat on the couch alone and sobbed. Asha padded over to me and affectionately rested her head on my lap as a show of comfort, as though she shared my pain and worry.  I'll never forget that sweet gesture.

Nap time for Sophie and Asha

Slowly, our life began to change.  Grace came along and no longer was Asha our number one.  Folders of 'Asha' photos gave way to newborn snapshots.  I became more bothered by dog hair.  Visits to Leighton were few and far between.  However, over time, what she lacked in attention from us, was more than made up for with the companionship of Grace.  With the addition of Sophie, Asha's playmates doubled. The less frequent long walks, regular brushing and buying of treats is nowadays well and truly made up for by being chased around the yard and cuddled non-stop by our two girls who both jostle for the honour of being allowed to feed their beloved doggy.

Last night, as Paul was opening the back door to go put out the bins, Grace chased after him with a picture. He assumed it was one of her artworks she was insisting he put in his car and bring to work.

"Daddy, can you peg this up on the tree next to Asha's kennel?  I've drawn a picture for her," she explained.

It seems that concern is shown not only for her comfort, but also for the attractiveness of her sleeping space.  While she may not be the main subject of my photography these days, nor as spoilt as she once was, Asha is is loved now more than ever and such an important member of our family.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Dryer Debate

While the task of doing laundry is definitely a repetitive one, a line of washing flapping away in the breeze, spinning around on our hills hoist in the sunshine does in fact make my heart sing. Come the cooler weather however, the task of actually drying anything becomes near on impossible and our living room soon resembles a laundromat. Chairs are lined up in front of our heater and anything laundry related becomes a stress.

Several times recently, I've hung out a load and popped out to run an errand, only to return home and discover an almost-dry line of laundry, now saturated after a downpour.  With the air much chillier here lately and with showers of rain occurring on and off, the line strung up under our patio just hasn’t been cutting it as a 'wet weather option'. Not only do I struggle to hang up more than ten items of washing with the space available, everything seems to stay damp.

We've toyed with the idea of getting a dryer. Part of me loves the idea, dreaming already of being able to efficiently dry load after load and managing to keep up with the weekly washing with ease. However a bigger part of me wonders whether such a purchase is justifiable when it will only be used for a few months of the year and when we don’t really have the room for such a large appliance. I also hate the idea of buying such an energy guzzling appliance which seems so ‘unnatural’ in comparison to the alternative of drying washing in the sunshine which I really don't think can be beaten.

I’d love to know your thoughts…

Are you able to dry your washing easily in the climate where you live?  What are your tips for surviving the wet, wintery months when it comes to your laundry chores?

Sunday, June 9, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013"

Grace: Working on the Peppa Pig sticker book she bought with her birthday money, dressed in her new winter pyjamas with a fairy costume over the top.

Sophie:  We have pig tails!!  As much as I mourn the end of her baby days, I love seeing the little girl that she is becoming.

Joining in with Jodi

Last week, I adored Greer's gorgeous girls with their stunning eyelashes... and these two little ones picking strawberries

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Three Things To Share

Coughs and colds have finally cleared up here so we've had a happier few days this week. However, aside from two much healthier girls, a few other things have added some sunshine to my days...

With the temperature dropping dramatically from the late afternoon onwards around these parts, leaving the warmth of our living room heater for the colder end of the house has been less than appealing come bedtime... until I bought a new set of sheets. After one set of duds that remained like cardboard after numerous washes and softening remedies, I've learnt that quality when it comes to bed linen is a must. Our new taupe coloured sheets are a cotton bamboo blend with a thread count of 600. They are SO luxuriously soft and cosy and in my opinion, guaranteed to contribute to a decent night's sleep...

A cancelled play date yesterday gave Sophie and I the chance to run a few errands, one of which was to pick up another one of the Ikou candles I bought back at the start of the year.  I've since decided these are the only candles for me.  They are high quality, burning right to the edge of the candle wall, 100% natural and their scent is strong enough to leave our whole living area smelling heavenly.

Equally lovely is my pretty vintage saucer on which my candle sits... a gift from a dear friend, I was devastated when the teacup broke.  However, the saucer has now become my 'candle plate' where I can still admire its sweet pattern and enjoy it day in and day out from our kitchen bench top where it has a permanent position.

And finally, I couldn't not include a photo of our 'currently in full bloom camellia' in this post... the definite show piece of our backyard come winter.  With our frangipanis due to lose their leaves very soon leaving our garden looking rather bare, this beauty adds a much needed burst of colour between all the greenery.

Wishing you all a wonderful end to the week...

Sunday, June 2, 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week every week in 2013"

Sophie: Grinning cheekily after stealing the bottle of bubble mixture Grace had left momentarily on the table... yet another 'borrowed' beaded bracelet on her wrist.

Grace: The moment I opened Grace's car door and was greeted by this sight in the shopping centre carpark, I knew this would be my photo of her for the week. I proceeded to tell her that she looked daggy and couldn't wear her socks in such a fashion. She protested that she was cold and that her socks kept her warm tucked over her jeans. Tugging her into bed tonight, she had used the same technique with her flannelette pyjamas.

Joining in with Jodi

Last week's photo of sweet little Everley was a favourite of mine as was the cute shot of Penny sitting on her swing