Friday, September 29, 2006

Leaps and bounds

Sophie is right at that age where she amazes you with the things she learns. Paul was away for three days, and in that short time, she learned the following things:
- to open the cupboard, get out the oven mitts, put them on, and walk around saying 'hot, hot'
- the words 'cheese', 'book', 'baby' and, most disconcertingly, 'I do' (as in 'I want to carry this bag that is twice my weight and I will crack a big fruity if you try and help me')
- to come and get you saying 'ee' if she did a wee with no nappy (and I swear, she told me today that she did a wee when she had a nappy on)
- to say 'quack' and do the sign for 'duck'
- remembering where she put something (as in 'Sophie, where are daddy's keys?' and she can lead you into Hannah's room and show you them under the quilt)
- to do the mountain yoga pose on command (hands and feet on the ground, bum in the air)
- to wear a cap backwards and cross her arms, hands pointing down when you say 'yo'

The term ends with a bang

Today was the last day of term 3. The kids were full of news. According to Ryan who spoke with great authority, there were three men at the school with knives, and one had a grenade. Bethany said a man bashed in the window. The real story is somewhere in between. In the early afternoon, the assistant principal went out the front of the school to talk to a person who had been loitering outside for quite some time. He was a youngish teenager, no older than 15. He pulled a big knife and told her to get inside. She did, of course, and set in train the lock-down procedure. It was just on lunch and all the kids were heading outside. Fortunately, just the week before, the school had done a lock-down drill so everyone knew exactly what to do. Ryan's class has to hide in the classroom under the window (so someone looking in can't see them). Bethany's class hides in the hallway between the classes. The crazy (high?) teenager wandered around the school for a while, with the principal trailing him to see what he was doing (and also looking for any stray children). He caught sight of her as she ducked into the junior primary building and wasn't very happy she had been following him. He tried to kick in the door of the art room (right near where Bethany's class were sheltering). Fortunately the glass was reinforced, so it shattered but didn't fall out. He sort of gave up and wandered around until the police got there (10 minutes it took from the first incident). As you can imagine, stories were flying thick and fast (hence the three guys with the grenade), but it was handled very well by the teachers. The school had their assembly as planned at 1.3o which also acted as a debrief. The principal spoke to all the parents who attended after the children had returned to their classrooms. It all turned out extremely well really, although the assistant principal and principal were understandably quite shaken. Very lucky that they had had a practice just the week before, and also probably a good thing that it was the last day of term (because even in that short hour, the story got bigger than Ben Hur, it's good to have a couple of weeks for it to die down). Our kids of course thought it was a big adventure, even Bethany who could hear the guy kicking the glass and other kids upset. After school they wanted to check out the broken glass, which we did, and Bethany even re-enacted the scene ('He stood right here, and went like this' (kick kick)). Took it all in her stride.
I was glad though, that the 'teenager' (apparently our family's new synonym for 'bad guy') chose the school rather than the childcare across the road to attack. I don't think they have a lock-down procedure, and the kids are a lot less compliant (and there are a lot more windows).
Still, all's well that ends well, as they say.

Mission accomplished!

I am so pleased with myself today. After procrastinating and mulling over for a few weeks, today I pulled it all together and iced and assembled the wedding cake for next week's wedding. I know I'm biased, but I think it looks great. The mudcakes themselves turned out well, moist and tasty, the icing worked out well (just royal icing), the stand looks good (I bought a pink plate with lace around the edges but it wasn't flat like the others so it didn't fit in), and I think that all together it is simple yet classy. So then I pulled it all apart and froze it all, ready for next week.
Oh, but I learned something. Even if you think you will need it in just a minute, NEVER leave the lid off the food colouring when there are children around.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Indonesia at home

Tonight we recreated the Indonesian cooking sessions from school. There had been some satay sauce left over at school that I brought home to use. The kids wanted to show Paul what they had made, so tonight when he got home from Clare we had an Indonesian feast. Sate (satay/chicken shaslicks) and gado-gado (vegetable salad) covered in the very spicy sos (or sauce) was a big hit. Afterwards too, we had the pancakes (dadar gulung). But, as the Feuerherdts do, instead of making them a subtle green colour, we chose different colours. And made them very bright. Here is a photo of the kids mixing their batter. As you can see, traditional indonesian pancake colouring. Hannah's pancakes were so black you couldn't see them in the frying pan! But we all had fun making (and eating) them, and that's the important thing of course. Ryan was even the keenest to make them, getting all ingredients out and measuring and mixing (with Hannah's guidance of course, as she knew where everything was).

Enjoying the finished product.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Milkshakes before school

Today I had some breakfast catering to deliver, nothing major, croissants and fruit, but it had to be delivered at 8am. I primed the kids the night before and they were so good about getting ready early, that after the delivery we went to Java Hut to have milkshakes (I hadn't bribed them beforehand or anything, just treated them afterwards). We had a lovely time, they all sat very nicely and chatted to the staff. Hannah chose a choc-mint shake, Bethany strawberry, and Ryan couldn't decide between a hot chocolate or an iced coffee (he went with the iced coffee - heaven forbid he just followed the others). Sophie finished off all the dregs from the others; what a different diet she has compared to the others at this age!
Today also, Bethany's class had Indonesian cooking. Nicole had the littlies so I could help out. It was lots of fun. I got to help the kids make pancakes (hooray!). For some reason we added food dye so they were a lovely shade of green. They were rolled with a coconut filling, very very nice. The other food was chicken satays and gado gado. Tomorrow is Ryan's turn.
Then tonight was ED and Council catering night. Paul is away for three days at one of these bonding conference things at Clare (I think tomorrow is rock-climbing, which he's really looking forward to), so the kids went to Nicole's for dinner while I did the delivering. Ryan and Raff went to tae kwon do (which they are both enjoying a lot, although Ryan is still hanging out for his uniform, I might get him one during the holidays). The girls just happily played for a couple of hours in their pyjamas.
The food went well, I get a buzz from getting it all cooked and organised all by myself. There was a beautiful orange sunset on the drive home from Nuri too.
I like mum's idea about the cleaner, I think I will organise someone to come to do the floors and bathroom. But there's no need for mum to feel guilty about not being here to help, I'm enjoying it. Should feel guilty about not taking us all to Central America though.

Photo: Someone told me about turtles getting soft-shell and dying so we are paranoid about taking Huck out for a walk around once a week or so.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


As I go about day to day, I am full of thoughts of things that I make a mental note to blog, but never get around to, or else I think 'Oh, must tell mum that', but of course, in three months time, these things will not seem important (and I'm sure that even now, they will not seem important compared to the amazing things seen in Central America).

- We have been going well on Monday mornings getting up early and going to childcare. I think the fact it is only once a week helps, but the kids do really well. Work itself is great - it seems silly to say after such a long time at the same place, but I really enjoy this job. My day there is like a little island; I drive in peace for an hour, float along doing peaceful enjoyable work, get to wander down to the shops at lunch time without dragging any children around. Just a shame mornings and nights are such chaos, otherwise I'd work every day!

- Catering is going great. I'm getting a real buzz out of being organised and prepared for all these things. Of course, it's only week two, ask me again in another nine weeks or so! The biggest buzz so far was putting on afternoon tea for 50 people on Sunday - Paul kept the kids amused at home, Jackie and family happened to be out for the day, so it worked out really well, I got to prep in peace at mums. The food was very well-received as always; it's nice to know that I am capable of putting on something like that by myself. Of course, it's still using things that are in the freezer courtesy of mum, but I'm making sure I keep them replenished as well. Everything's on track for my big wedding in a couple of weeks time. Paul is currently Regional Manager for a month or so (basically until he loses his license, unless he can get an adjournment to move his court appearance from Oct 12 to later this year or hopefully next year) so he won't be working Saturdays so he'll keep kids occupied, feed them and put them to bed (he actually put Sophie down for her nap the other day, will wonders never cease?!). Talked to Lyn at the bakery so I have a plan for the cakes. It's all good. Although I won't mention the lunch we did on Monday that Nicole delivered, where I forgot to do up a plate of sweets. And then got the guy's name wrong when I apologised. Oops. :) I'm also not sure what state my house is going to be in in 10 weeks time, since I currently use the excuse that I've got cooking to do to avoid doing any housework other than the necessities (so the kitchen is clean but the rest of the house a total mess).

Photo: Hannah in her new just-right apron we bought today. Note the sunhat and the slippers. That's Hannah.

- some yucky news here, a 4 year old girl was sexually assaulted in the tunnel under the big slide at St Kilda on Sunday. Plenty of people around, out of parents' sight for only a few minutes. How horrible.

- Ryan's getting excited about his birthday in a few weeks time, although he's in a bit of a dilemma because he's only allowed one friend, to go do a fun activity of his choice and then out to dinner. He really wants his two best friends, so I said he could have two friends, but then only do either an activity or dinner, not both. How mean am I?

- Sophie woke up the other night all covered in blood from a blood nose. I hadn't noticed it when I moved her into my bed at 4.30am and there was blood in the cot, in my bed, all over her and all over me. Ick. It was still bleeding when we got up at 6 (or I started it off again when I cleaned her up). It was still trickly but mucusy when I dropped her off at childcare at 7.30 (yes it was a workday of course). It settled down after that and she wasn't bothered at all, her nose didn't seem at all sore. All I can figure is she must have rolled over and bumped her nose in the night, although Bethany's teacher suggested maybe it was as simple as overheating, as it has been warm here at night.

- Got my hair cut and coloured yesterday. I like it. I went to Vicki's salon, figuring she could look after the kids for me. As it turned out, it was Paul's day off so he had Hannah, and I took Sophie up with me (he offered to take her too, but I knew Vicki would be very sad if neither of the girls came with me). She was like a doting grandma, taking Soph around all the shops to show her off.

I think that's all that's come to mind this week. Everything is going along nicely, although of course there are my standard niggles and issues, but I'm working on them. :)

A new toy

Today Hannah and I bought a new Kenwood bench top mixer - model KM002 on this link. I think Hannah was more excited than me! We got a great deal at Harvey Norman. The RRP is $799, and they had a bonus offer of a food processor attachment. Then it turned out the display model was the last one they had in stock so she knocked it down to $700. This is the model that scored highest in the Choice test. It's fabulous. And huge. Mum will have to design her kitchen to fit around it! (It's not really that big, don't worry!). We haven't used it yet, but Hannah is looking forward to licking the beater, which is really big and in the shape of a K. There are some really cool attachments available, including a potato peeler (basically I think an abrasive type bowl that spins the potatoes around and scrapes the skins off). There is of course the food processer that we got (with thick and thin slicing and grating blades as well as a chipping blade), a mincer, pasta maker, juicer, blender, spice mill, and a grater attachment (where the grated things come out a chute so you're not restricted by the size of the food processor bowl). It also came with a lovely glossy cookbook (because we don't have enough of them already) and a little video. The video was real food p@rn at its best. Non-lingual, and six minutes long, it had one of those non-descript music soundtracks, lots of shots of well-manicured hands switching knobs and feeding food into apertures, close-up before and after shots of processed food, and laughing people eating the prepared meals.

The machine is stainless steel (matt, so no fingerprints) with a stainless steel bowl with handle. Just way cool (as Hannah kept saying 'How cool is this!').

Friday, September 15, 2006


How exciting, we had an early morning call from Mexico! Kids were very happy to hear from Nana and Papa, except Bethany, who wanted them to be Adam and Eva instead. The kids wanted them to 'talk in Mexico' which I think means 'say something in Spanish'. Nana and papa were happy to oblige. After the phone call finished, I explained that it was nearly bed time for nana and papa. Hannah was surprised and enlightened: Oh, they have beds there!?

Photo: Look what was on sale at Coles!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Broken record

That was me today praising Hannah. Is it possible to compliment a child too much? I know I'm a mum and not allowed to have favourites, and of course all my children are special and precious and have their own (big) place in my heart, but, gee, that Hannah...

Today we made little spinach and ricotta triangles. A fiddly, time-consuming job. Hannah was helpful and interested the whole time (Sophie was kind enough to sleep for most of it). She brushed the filo with oil each time, brushed each triangle as it was finished and placed them into the container, chatting happily away the whole time. Towards the end she wanted to have a try at folding her own triangles - we had those ones for lunch. :) She made 10, 4 for me, 4 for her and 2 for Sophie (she decided herself how many we needed). Sophie's she made a special shape (squished roundish, as opposed to ours which were squished longish). When she counted them and there were seven, she knew straight away she had to make three more. So helpful, happy and a genius. :)
Later, we hung clothes and nappies out on the line. Hannah hangs things on a metal clothes horse that she can reach. Later, without prompting, she went out and checked the nappies she'd hung. They were dry, so she brought them inside and folded them and left them on the table. What a child!

Picture: Hannah with her triangles.

So I don't know how many times today I told her how wonderful and fantastic she is, what a great helper, how much I enjoyed my day with her, all those lovely positive messages.

Then tonight as I write this, she keeps waking up and crying in her sleep for no known reason. Bad child!

Picture: Sophie has discovered
the cereal shelf in the pantry.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another one bites the dust

Not quite in Irwin's league, but the Bunyip reports that Gordon Andrews died this week.

Here is Sophie in triumphant boxing mode.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Of course, it had to be said. Our Steve is gone. Everyone here is taking it stoically, brave on the outside while shattered on the inside. In all seriousness, it's terribly sad to see the death of a man full of such vitality and enthusiasm for life and living things. And of course leaving behind some young children.

Yesterday at school was 'wear-what-you-want day', oops, I mean 'casual day', they renamed it because you can't really wear what you want; amongst other things, it has to be sun-safe (read: collared shirt) and apparently according to Ryan, not scary (so just about every single one of his t-shirts was out, due to skulls and scorpions galore).
Bethany chose a tribute shirt, here is a lovely pic of her in her Steve Irwin t-shirt.

Hannah's moment (there's always one). Today we headed to mum's to do some catering for the first time since they left. As we approached, Hannah asked if nana would be there for a while before going to work. Before I could remind her, we came around the corner and she saw the station wagon in the driveway. 'Nana is home!' she cried. 'Ah, no...' I started. 'Papa, then!', even more excited. When I reminded her they were actually on the other side of the world, she took it well. 'Silly me, I forgot. But I get to teach Jarra how to feed the chooks!'.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What she said...

Photo: Kids and grandparents at the airport
Yes mum and dad left today. Check out Nicole's blog for the story. My kids were not too sad, Bethany didn't even cry 'because she knew it was not for a very long time'. We of course will all miss them, at times it will seem to be forever until we see them again, other times we will look in amazement at how fast the time has gone. At all times we will be envious of the experiences they are having! Love you guys.

Photo: Sophie at Ikea all tuckered out from saying goodbye

Techno-child moment: Later at home Ryan looked like he was up to some mischief, I asked what was happening. 'Nothing' was the answer, then, 'on second thoughts, check out to see what I'm doing'. Ha ha.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Show weekend

I had my first A&E lapse over the weekend when we were planning going to the Gawler Show - in my mental planning I thought mum needed to invite them to join us. Only a little glitch, but still one of those 'oh' moments. But even without them we still managed to have fun. All the usual show things, rides, clowns (and those disappointing prizes), dodgems (Ryan: That was so worth the $4!), donuts and a few new things - a big pile of foambubbles pumped out onto the ground for the kids to play in, and the Gawler Gymnastics tent set up for trampolining and balancing.

Hannah remembers too

Driving with Hannah the other day past Parafield Airport, we spotted a light plane. 'I think that's the plane Adam and Eva are on!' Hannah exclaimed. I reminded her they had got off the plane and were in a different country. 'Oh yeah, how could I forget that they are in Ukraine now? Yeah, Ukraine...' and she descended into Hannah-revery. A little later in our drive we passed a construction site. She pointed at the crane on the site and asked 'Is that a Ukraine?'