Friday, November 5, 2010

Wait are my ankles fat?

Hello :)

It's been a looong time since I last posted, mostly because I've been devestatingly morning sick and pregnant :) (just read back on the entry I wrote here - basically that's exactly what I'd say all over again if I had time :)) (okay cut the school passages, maybe insert 'looking after Maggie' instead?? I am also slightly less emotionally crazy, probably because I'm looking after one beautifully behaved, always sweet and kind child instead of 28 children who may not always have been 100% as well behaved as Maggie, or at least not all at the same time!) I am in a huge rush and don't really have time to blog, but I really should blog sometime, and I just remembered something funny :)

By the way though, we are over the moon, LOVE Maggie like crazy and couldn't bear to put off doubling the fun so we are so happy and excited and it hasn't taken a year and a half to be pregnant this time!! :) I am due May 9th, so Maggie will already be about 16 months old - I'm just over 13 weeks pregnant at the moment :)

Morning sickness is like.... death.... but I'm starting to have heaps of good days, so I think I'm nearly through the worst!! I wrote more about this on my private blog the other day :)

Anyway, last night I had a dream that I had kankles again!! Already!!! (I wrote extensively about them here). I've been up for a long time, and JUST realised it was a dream!! The relief!!! Last time I was at least 6 months pregnant before I had them I'm pretty sure. I'm barely showing yet this time, so I was (in my dream) a little bit droopy about the whole business, and am greatly relieved to find out that it was, in fact, a dream :)

This time around I have my front line of putting-on-30kg-during-pregnancy defence: a treadmill!! :) Am excited hopefully to have 'less to lose' on the other end this time. Wish me luck!!

- pregnant
- super happy and excited to be pregnant :)
- have been in hell, but am recovering nicely, thankyou
- James and my family have been wonderful (thought I'd put that in the summary since I forgot it in the main body, even though I know there's not really meant to be any new info here, sorry!)
- do not yet have kankles :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

'Copious Confiding'

There's a blog I sometimes drop in on, by a lady in America with 5 children whose parents write books on parenting, and I have one she co-wrote with her Mum and saw her blog address in it. I read a post she wrote today, had to comment, and now feel like sharing. Her post is here.

It's about how she saw a mother and daughter in a waiting room, and the daughter was 'copiously confiding' - telling her Mum EVERYTHING about her life. THe blog author was saying how she wants that kind of relationship with her daughters one day.

Here's the comment I wrote. Sorry about the first paragraph Tammy - but let's face it you've always been kinda perfect :)

"When I was a teenager I drew away from my Mum a little as the hormones kicked in, and she was really close to my big sister who I had a hard time living up to, so I guess I turned to friends. We had a good relationship generally, but not a 'copious confiding' one. When I was about 16 my big sister went overseas to study (at BYU) and my relationship with my wonderful mother bloomed. Now I'm married with a little baby and barely go a day without calling once or even 3 times to catch up, chat, ask housekeeping or 'mum' questions, etc. We are (and my sisters) so close, and she is my best friend besides my husband.

"THE SECRET: Even though we didn't always have this relationship my Mum was ALWAYS there - like Heavenly Father :) Even if I had been rude or mean or pushed her away or whatever, she has always been there, my biggest supporter. I love talking to her and hearing her advice and support, and hopefully being as good a friend to her as she is to me. I hope I can have this relationship with my kids one day, it's one of the most important things in my life.

"I should mention Mum never let me get away with anything and if I was doing anything wrong she would NOT let up! :) It's because of that that I trust her so much. SHe's the best kind of Mum & friend."

Just thought I'd share that becuase I LOVE MY MUM SO MUCH and she is a wonderful friend and mother and person. I am grateful that I have such a wonderful Mum to be Maggie's Gran!

(Wedding photos courtesy of Deep Grey. Maggie photo courtesy of me..;))

Do you have a wonderful Mother?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kaili's Art Giveaway!

Everybody should head on over to Kaili's art blog and try to win one of her paintings! - a perfect one for kids. She's actually just giving it away! :) It's gorgeous, she's such a talented artist, love her work, totally trying to win it myself :) xo

Monday, August 16, 2010

So Good to go Back!!!

On Thursday morning I left Maggie with Mum for her first longer-than-a-quick-duck-out-to-the-shops babysitting adventure, and headed out to the Temple for the first time since before Maggie was born! Last time I went was for a sealing just before she was born, and the time before that I nearly passed out from giant whale of a pregnant person-ness, therefore didn't go back for the last little bit until Maggie came.

I was a bit anxious not being 'on tap' for Maggie for a while, but I trust Mum with her completely so I was sure she'd be fine and have a great time while I was gone.

I rushed up to my session, and barely made it in time, but when I finally got in and sat down, it felt so wonderful being there!! I loved every bit of it. Sometimes it was hard to focus on the session because I kept thinking homemaking stuff, but I think I'm just not used to clearing my head because I haven't done it for a while. It was wonderfully peaceful though. At the end of my visit as I sat, I was thinking about how often I'd been to the Temple over the last almost three years, praying that we'd be able to have a baby, and then that the baby would be okay. I remember sitting in a sealing session once and feeling so close to the women in our family who have gone before us, and the girls yet to come, and knowing that someday I'd be able to have a daughter to carry on this line. I felt very grateful for the wonderful blessing Maggie is, and how grateful I am to be her mum!

When I got home Maggie was peacefully sleeping, after what sounds like a wonderful, fun few hours with her Gran. Thanks Mum for watching her and for being so 'you' that I know she'll always be okay and have a ball with you :) xo

Friday, August 13, 2010

Warning: Cooking Post

I know, I wasn't going to do any more cooking posts for a while because we were all getting a little over them, but I roasted my first chicken the other week (happy sigh). The gravy I made from the 'juices' was AWFUL!!! But after relating the experience to Mother dear we found out why, and I won't make the same mistake twice. On the evening of the meal I made up an instant gravy mix to go with the meal instead, bless Gravox! :)

In other cooking news, I bought oyster blade steak the other day, because it was on sale. Then when I got home I googled 'Oyster blade steak recipes' (because I'd never used or seen oyster blade steak used before - what a random cut of meat!) and found this one, which I made, and it was amazing, and pretty much cooks itself!! I practically did nothing because it just goes in the slow cooker for 6 hours, but it tasted like a real meal my parents would make (the gravy was even slightly reminisce of their roast lamb gravy, silent rapture!). Plus I had I think all but 1 or 2 of the ingredients in the cupboard, so it was quite cost efficient :) Didn't take any pictures because it doesn't look as delicious as it is, haha :) Yummy on a bed of mashed potatoes.

I'm working up the courage to try said parent's roast lamb recipe, went through it with them the other night and got tips, lol :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

I love doing creative 'stuff'!

This was ages ago, but I haven't blogged on this blog for a while, and thought I'd just throw these up. You'd have seen it all on my Maggie blog if you're on there, but for Beth & Robbie's engagement party at the beginning of June I got to do some fun painting :) Mum asked me to paint some beach huts, and then I got to paint a couple of random 'Congratulations' and 'Dance between the flags' signs (beach theme!). I had a lot of fun. I think everyone else did too - the hall looked fantastic, the food was great and I think everyone had a great time :)

I really enjoyed the couple of days of mess all over my house from huge rolls of paper with beach huts and painting sheets, and brushes, and paints and stuff. Creative mess is one of my favourite things :) James was very grateful when it was gone, I think. I'm grateful to have my art desk which I do all my smaller-scale fun creative work on, and I love that it's old thick wood and we got it for $10 at a garage sale and I splatter paint on it by accident whenever I want (happy sigh) :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The New Me

Since I've been a mum, in some ways I'm a completely different person.

In some ways I feel stronger. I've always been a total wuss. Pretty much anyone can attest to that, but if you want an extremely heartfelt testimony of it, just ask James, who is baffled by my constant nightmares and assurances that he needs to check the cupboards and the bathtub in the middle of the night in case anyone's in there. Since Maggie though, if I hear a sound in the night that completely freaks me out, there's no hesitation for me running to see if she's okay, not even sending James first, and I feel like if anything was going wrong I'd be the first to throw myself in front of her and do whatever it takes. I've had some seriously action movie dreams since her birth, and for the first time in my life they don't involve me hiding somewhere while James saves the day. I just feel like 'Don't you dare mess with my daughter'. SO NOT in my pre-Maggie nature!!!

I also care less what a lot of people think about whatever I'm doing with Maggie, because suddenly I seem to know what I'm doing - not with babies in general, just with Maggie. I even feel like I know what to do with her better a lot of the time even than my mother(!), which is a huge shock, cause she's always been super-mum. I still go to her for advice (a lot!), but I feel like 'I got this' a lot too. I didn't know much about babies before her, but it's amazing how you just know all of a sudden!!

It is a lot harder than I had anticipated, to give 'tough love'. Not that I want to be tough with Maggie (at all), but even letting her cry a little when she's going down, or not carrying her 100% of the time if she's just sooking. I do it - I let her cry a little here and there, and I'm okay with it, but sometimes it just breaks your heart! I've sat next to her bassinet in the middle of the night in tears while I let her cry it out - that gorgeous little carefully-designed-to-trigger-the-'RESCUE!'-reflex cry!! (On the upside, she's in her cot, sleeping through now again!)

I am a sooook!! I cry at the drop of a hat. I went to a wedding last weekend and cried in every speech! I see a woman close to giving birth and I cry! Someone says something nice to someone else and I cry! And of course anything parental. Parents send their kid off to college in some B-grade movie, pull out the tissues, please! It's bizzare! I am NOT up for anything actually sad for a while, I don't know what I'd do!! When we ('finally', James would say) moved Maggie into her own cot the other night, I sat on the couch and burst into tears, cause she was 'S-s-s-so-soooo far away!!!!'. Does this go away when I stop breastfeeding??

I love Maggie an insane amount!!! I am trying so hard not to be one of 'those mums', but the fact that I have to try, baffles me. When I was teaching, I looked at all the parents and knew I'd be one of the level headed responsible ones who let their children learn to deal with life, and who was okay to 'let go'. I think I'll still pull it off, but I may have to have James in the background, holding me back. Ah the thought of Maggie starting school, sob!

I'm also a lot fatter, but we're working on that - It's not as easy to zip the last 6 kilos off as I thought, but I'll do it, then get fat and pregnant again, as now is my life :) (happy tear!)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Visiting Teacher

My lovely visiting teacher brought over this huge basket of fruit and chocolates when she came to visit the other night! I just had to take a photo, it was amazing, we are still eating through the fruit, and, if you can believe it there are still a couple of mint slice biscuits left, but not for long :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Yes, the surprise is new couches! We were very blessed to be given couches when we got married. We were actually blessed to be given almost everything we needed when we got married! The couches have been very useful and we were grateful to have them, but now are super ecstatic to be replacing them!!!!

James found the old couches uncomfortable and I didn't like the look of them, so couches have been on the dream list for ages, but I really didn't think we'd be able to get them for at least another year.

Last Wednesday we decided to go 'dream couch shopping' for the future. We walked in and on the left was a set of perfectly good couches on a fabulous sale! James said "If I can talk them down another $100 can we get them?" and even though he only talked them down $99 we got them :)

We both really wanted leather couches (practical - kids), and I really wanted light coloured couches, because I'm so sick of the dark colour in here, and so I have an 'empty palette' onto which I can place cushions, throw rugs, whatever, to colour the room whichever colours I want, yay!!! So they're not flash or anything - I guess they're probably some of the most budget leather couches you can get, but I LOVE them so much!!!! And James likes them too :) (he's the one who really wanted to buy them on the spot :) Otherwise I would've been all careful and possibly regreted it later :)) Anyway, here they are! A 3 seater and a 2 seater. I obviously haven't decided on a colour scheme and got 'accessories' yet, but Maggie's little pink blanket and hippo are in the corner or the 3 seater at the time of photo!

And even though I don't usually put Maggie photos in this blog I couldn't resist her couch model pose - she crossed her legs herself lol. See how comfy she makes them look? :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Made an extremely amazing and landmark purchase today! - Will let you in on it when it arrives and I can take photos. So excited!!! :)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Tonight James got home from work, and dinner was still an hour way (this is approximately how behind schedule I am almost every day, yet it never seems to stop being a surprise, sigh).

Maggie was down, and soon came back up again for a little while before being really down.

Adele dropped off the new Stampin Up stamps I ordered (which I need to give my parents to give to me for my birthday in October, yay!), then we had a nice dinner together (yeah, not even going to tell you what I made, because my blog lately has been a little too boring - too much food and cooking and...vacuuming maybe), and then we almost snuggled to watch a movie :) I say 'almost' because as soon as I put the DVD in, and the little loop on the 'menu' page started playing, and I heard the scary music, I decided I'd spend the night 'around' James, rather than 'with' him, watching the movie. It's been nice.

My family are all up the coast on a getaway weekend and I'm happy knowing that they're there, they're staying where we always do, and it's so nice there! Dad's about to plunge into tax season, Tammy's up to her ears as usual, and Mum's always crazy busy, and the twins .... yeah, so it's nice that they all get this break :)

The J's are up there housesitting also, so a nice relax for them (yay no dentistering, Jug!), and a great cruise for Michelle and Derek!! :)

James finished his last exam this week, which is wonderful! I think he did really well this semester (That's my man!) :) For the next couple of weeks he'll be working full time, and then we get a week's break and then back into next semester!! It's so nice to live as I do now without one assignment or another hovering constantly beyond the horizon! It's nice that James doesn't have that for a little bit.

I really need to do some catchup on my little Maggie blog, but can't decide out of about 200 (narrowed down) pictures of camp, so am procrastinating. Mum, it's quite hard not to open my birthday present early, it would be a fun procrastinating task!

I also have some catch up on this blog, but again, procrastination wins the day.

Anyway, I'll try to break the cycle and get on to Maggie's blog. I hope this movie finishes shortly - I need to play some happy music before I go to bed..

PS: This movie, has got to have every single scary sound every invented in Hollywood in it - I swear, the slow bass beat hasn't stopped since I put the DVD in!! Ugh, chills. I'm so glad I'm not watching - James just emphatically assured me I would hate it. Who knew orchestra's could make some of the world's best AND some of the world's most awful, scary, horrible music?! Okay well me, technically, but who wants to listen to that?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On That Note...

...we also got something last weekend, that I'm really, really, really excited about :) I've wanted one for a long time, and maybe you think it's sad that I'm this excited about a vacuum cleaner, but I do love all things housewifey. I love dressing for and having cool equipment for things. Yes Tammy - I'd love that pink frilly apron sometime to wear around the house and to match the lovely pink cooking utensils you gave me. I love the little pink excercise towel and sweat band James got me with the weights to work out with. I love wearing house cleaning clothes to clean the house, and aprons for cooking, excercise clothes for jogging, etc. But believe it or not, THIS vacuum cleaner is about a whole lot more than my image of a good housewife. It actually works!! When we got married we got a vacuum cleaner from off the side of the road and I sort of hate it, with a passion. In fact, for the last 3 years our floor has only gotten vacuumed when James gets so sick of it not being vacuumed that he vacuums for me, because I really don't like our vacuum cleaner. It's annoying, and annoying, and doesn't actually work, so there wasn't that much of a point vacuuming anyway!

The Good Guys were having a massive stocktake sale. This I know because I heard it on the radio that we have on 24/7 in our house lately, because Maggie goes to sleep to noise, and our CD player broke, and we often don't get around to turning it off inbetween Maggie's naps. Anyway, I grew up with a Dyson and I loved it, and I have been unrighteously coveting my parents' for the last 3 years. They're usually about $600-$900 new though, and that's a lot (okay, if you heard the story about me buying that Kirby for $4000 that was different, and I was tired and they wouldn't leave and I was pregnant and there was a cooling off period, thank goodness). I looked at our finances and we came up with a little budget, even though there wasn't much chance of them having one that cheap there. We went in, and found the Dysons all lined up, ranging from only $500!!!! This was a lot beyond our budget. We had a lovely look at them but I was a little sad. Not totally, because I kinda expected not to be able to afford one. Then, we decided to walk around the other vacuums, and there was a whole little stand on the other side of the vacuum display, of a bunch of Dysons exactly in our price range!!! So we got one!!! Haven't got a name for it yet, but I am going to vacuum soooo often! I love it! Our carpets are soooo clean! If you're over, feel free to lick any spilt food off the carpet. Don't worry - it's clean :) And if you drop some crumbs, no sweat - I'll probably vacuum in a minute anyway.

Finally a Real Woman!

What could be more housewifey than making chicken pie for dinner?!! It's so delightfully housewifey, I feel like I've reached a landmark in the world of womanhood. Like one of those 'becomming a man' ceremonies some cultures have when boys are 12 and can finally hunt on their own or something. That's how I felt when I placed it on the table for dinner - I made it to womanhood!! Yay! :) Friends of our came over for dinner the other night and she brought an apple crumble she'd made from scratch - I don't think I've ever eaten one with homecooked apple and everything - we're all growing up! :) And now that Maggie's on solids I've been blending all sorts of 'from scratch' baby foods and I get all excited when I taste them and they taste like 'the real thing' :) Finally a real woman :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Not a day goes by (since January 24th) that I don't think of that epidural and smile!!! I am so very grateful for it, I can't tell you how warmly I feel towards it. If it were a person, I would follow them around trying to save their life and repay the great debt, kind of gratitude. I know sometimes epidurals don't work properly, or there are random and rare side effects, but when they're good, they're SO GOOD!!!

Here's something for the glad game: I'm glad my labour was so long and messed up, because now, I have something new to smile about, every single day!!!

(Yes, I know I have Maggie to smile about too, but I could have smiled about her if my labour were 10 minutes long and I didn't feel a thing.)

Monday, May 24, 2010


Here's where I got the choko soup recipe - it's the last thing on the page.

James said to me last night "That choko soup wasn't that great. Next time, let's just substitute all of the chokos for potatos" (sigh). Maybe it was partly the joy of not having cooked or even served it myself, maybe it just blended perfectly with my flu, but whatever it was, I liked it a lot, and I used mostly ingredients from my food parcel.

Jillina - Honestly I've tried hardly any of those 4 ingredients recipes, but one that I've done quite a few times is their Chicken and Rice Casserole on page 114. It actually serves 4 - usually if there are more than 2 of us I have to double recipes because James eats at least 2 or 3 people's portions, but this one is great. It's super, super easy, you just chuck everything in and put it in the oven for 2 hours and it's perfect, and it's delicious. I would definitely recommend adding onion (even though it takes it up to 5 ingredients lol), I haven't tried adding celery. Maybe even adding vegies would work - I usually just cook some on the side. THe downside is that it's not the cheapest recipe because it involves 4 chicken breasts, but I usually bulk buy them on sale at Big Gun which helps :)

I am excited to try the recipes you've tried, and am definitely going to cut down on the sugar in the cake, thanks for the tip!! I also find the sound of the Aussie BBQ Steak with Vegemite interesting lol. Hey have you got a good recipe for a pineapple upside-down cake? I have a yummy one Mum got from Domonique Rolls years ago - I just thought cause you said you often toss in pineapple, you guys might like it. It's also easy which makes it perfect for me, and uses all normal pantry ingredients so I always end up making it when I've forgotten to plan dessert :) If you let me know I can email it to you :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

10 Things I Love About Maggie

1 I love that Maggie loves to snuggle :) When she first starts making little sounds at the end of a nap and I pick her up, she nuzzles into me and sometimes falls back asleep. It's so sweet.

2 I love Maggie's beautiful sweet smile. She smiles at many different things. When she smiles just because she looks up and sees me, I feel like I just won the lottery, except way better than that because she's our daughter and she knows us and it feels like she already loves us too. Latey she smiles everytime someone plays 'peek-a-boo!' with her. She's getting to be so much fun!!! Tonight I was playing it with her in the middle of her feed (she was taking her time) and she kept looking at me for a while after I finished, as if she wanted me to keep going, so I did it again, and so did she, until finally I had to stop and encourage her to get back to her feed!

3 I love the way Maggie eats. She is sooooo funny. Sometimes she's really, really intense and attacks her food and ends up choking and spluttering every 2 secons while she tries to continue eating at the same time, going red in the face. Sometimes she very calmly but determinedly sucks, while she stares directly at something else. This is often me, the couch, James if he is nearby (this one's cute - she'll swivel her head to look at him and sort of sucks out the side of her mouth, for ages lol), my feeding cover, or whatever else. Sometimes she takes her time with a meal. She'll have a few sucks, stop to examine a patch of white wall or something, then continue sucking for a bit, take another break, etc. This e-x-t-e-n-d-s her feeds and I half-heartedly try to get her to stop, but I can't help laughing, she is so cute. Sometimes, she's feeding away, then she stops and pulls off, looks at me, then smiles for a bit and goes back to feeding. Again, way to melt Mum's heart, and make me oblivious to the fact that she's taking all day :)

4 I love it when Maggie talks. She just sits there making her little sounds and blowing rasberries. Her little 'talking' sounds are so sweet and happy! This morning I was in bed sick, and I could hear her on her play mat talking away for ages. I love to hear those happy sounds! :)

5 I love how much Maggie loves her nappy changes and baths and little massages. Before we bath her we put everything out, have nice, fluffy towels ready, fill a warm bath, etc., and it's a really pampering little session - cotton wool balls, powder, moisturiser massage, head massage with shampoo and conditioner, the works, and it really feels like Maggie appreciates it all :) She smiles at us and relaxes and lets us take care of her :)

6 I love all of her facial expressions. She is so much fun!!!

7 I love how fast she is learning everything and how much it seems like she loves to learn!

8 I love her stares. If you know her, you know what I'm talking about. I've never met anyone - infant to adult - who stares like she does. She'll sit in the same spot, staring at somebody or something for the longest time, with a very serious face. Sometimes she'll start grinning almost as if she can't help herself, before returning to her serious face. I wonder what she's thinking? It's like she's learning everything and everyone. Try and have a staring contest with her - I guarantee she'll win. She doesn't seem to need to blink like grown up people either. You'll blink first, you can't win! :)

9 I love how easygoing Maggie is. Ever since she was born she's been pretty chilled. She's such a textbook baby. If she's crying, she's either hungry or tired, or in rare cases a little unwell or uncomfortable. There's always something we can do to fix it, she doesn't ever just cry for kicks!! If she's on the floor playing, she'll only start grizzling if she's been there for a while, and I feel like she's totally justified with her 'Hello parents, a little bored now!' cry :) She'll sit wherever, go to anyone, look at anything, sleep whenever (LOVE the whole self-settling thing! Now when we're at home, she pretty much just dozes off as soon as we put her down in her bassinet!). She's always up for a smile or a game or a cuddle. If we keep her up way past her bedtime she doesn't get cranky or anything. She's so easygoing, she's made us think 'Wow, let's have another!' way earlier than we thought, which makes me think that maybe there's another sibling up there waiting, and that's part of the reason she's been so easy for us! I wonder if the next baby will be more demanding and shock us into baby reality lol.

10 I love Maggie - I love the sweet, little, funny spirit we feel from her. I love it when she looks at me and I know she's thinking something interesting or amusing or loving from her little expression. She's so much like her dad it's funny - but she's her very own little person too, and I can't wait till she can talk and tell us all the things that are going on inside that little head of hers!!!

I love Maggie :) xo

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Chokos were Lovely Thankyou Very Much!!

Okay family members who have written derogatory things about chokos recently - seeing as Tammy I'm pretty sure you haven't even tried them, and Dad (even though you haven't written I got your feedback through Tammy), apparently (and from my recent experience this seems to be true) they take on the flavour of whatever you cook them with, how can you hate them??!

I am sick at the moment (please send the flowers to my usual address - chocolates are fine, I'm never THAT sick unless I'm pregnant, and it's the flu, so no worries), and I had set my 'making choko soup' adventure for Tuesday night, when I first began to feel sick. James came smilingly in early from work having not eaten his packed food in anticipation of the dinner I'd assured him I was making, only to find me sitting pretty much where he'd left me. I let out a sick little moan just to complete the scene. His face fell a little, but he soon got around to realising I was obviously MUCH too sick to make dinner and he'd better get onto it if he wanted to eat. He asked what I would like, and I quickly pulled out the choko soup recipe at the same time as I sighed and assured him I could just heat up something canned because I was so unwell and couldn't expect him to spend an hour cooking after a long evening at work. Much to my delighted surprise, he decided to make up choko soup! I managed to drag myself to the kitchen to spread some crushed garlic over some bread and toast it - gross, but I really, really hate being sick, and the least I could do was add the side dish to our dinner.

Even though at the time I was being a little bit cheeky, I am beyond grateful that James made the choko soup that night! It was perfectly delicious, and absolutely perfect for a cold night with a flu coming on!! Yesterday I was very sick (I couldn't even talk. Everything's worse when you can't tell people about it) and was in bed all day, and James stayed home from work to look after me and Maggie (I really didn't want to get her sick too) and I had that soup again, for breakfast lunch and dinner, and it was just what I would have wanted if I could have had anything in the world. Sadly dinner was the last bit of it, and today I've had to suffer through alternative foods, but I think it's what I'll make anytime anyone's sick from now on, it was so good! So the chokos were lovely, thankyou!! If you google 'choko soup recipe', make the Burke's Backyard one. Oh, except we only had 2 chokos and you're meant to use 3, so we used 2 potatoes in lieu of the 3rd. Don't know if this helped our cause.

THankyou James - you have been wonderful!! I promise I will get off the couch and start looking after you again soon. Did I mention that yesterday morning he scrubbed out the kitchen including pulling the fridge out and scrubbing the floors and walls behind, the microwave out, etc., and he cleaned out the study, and vacuumed (yes Ma, I never did get onto it that day lol..). Isn't he wonderful?

What I've Been Making

So a while ago we were visiting with some friends, when E invited me to her 'Stampin' Up' party. She showed me the catalogue and informed me her wishlist was $300 long! Her sister Adele had recently become a demonstrator. I looked through the catalogue and said everything was lovely, and accepted the invitation, but discussed the fact with James on the way home that I was only going to go to be supportive, and was not at all interested in stamps. I've never really liked stamps. I like scrapbooking papers and bits and bobs and I love making cards and small time scrapbooking projects, but stamps aren't my thing.

I went to my friend's party, and fell in love with everything. I didn't buy or order anything that night, or make any commitments, but by the end of the weekend I was asking James if he'd mind if I hosted a party myself. By the end of the day Monday I'd emailed Adele, organised dates with my sisters and planned my very own Stampin Up party. I wanted it ASAP, and managed it a week or so later, in March. At that party, I spent more money than I ever imagined I would have (don't worry - James and I had discussed what I would buy before the night! I had the catalogue glued to my hands for the time between my invitations going out and the night of my party when I wanted to put in my order). I love everything though, and when my package arrived less than a week later, I was super excited. I'm lucky its arrival coincided with Maggie's afternoon nap, so I could spend a couple of hours assembling and trying out my new stamps!!!

I'm not very professional or anything, I just really enjoy being creative in my own little way, and making cards and gifts a little. If we were super rich, I would buy everything in the catalogue, because it's all really nice, and totally more-ish, because everything matches and I want the whole set of everything (similar to a certain line of baby clothes at Myer this season - I want to buy everything or nothing, because all the tops, cardigans, jackets, skirts, dresses, beanies, etc. match adn they're totally cute!! (I went with the 'get nothing' option - more cost effective, and there's always another year when we actually need clothes instead of me just wanting excess because they're cute, but that's for another post (sigh)))!

Anyway, here are a few of the little projects I've done since. I don't spend a whole lot of time doing it, but like I said, I really love it :) I'm always reminded of Elder Uchtdorf's talk on how women need to create... hold on here's a link to the Mormon Message about that. Definitely worth a watch!! :) I love to create anything - not just crafty stuff.

Oh and I should mention that not all of this stuff is 'Stampin' Up' stuff - a lot of it is made up of scrapbooking odds which I've accumulated over the years. Oh, and something else - I LOVE the use of ribbon in Stampin up stuff! Their ribbon is expensive though (well it's not too bad, but you sort of have to buy a lot so I wouldn't have been able to afford more than one colour..) so I found an eBay seller from China who sell grosgrain ribbons really cheap! I bought 60 yards (just under 55m) made up of 14 different colours for $2, plus $5 postage and they came adn they are beautiful and I love them.

Most of these are just simple. If you follow the link to Adele's website you can see how the projects can really be beautiful! :)

I based this card on one James' Nana made when Maggie was born, it was very cute! You pull the tab on the left (except sorry the picture's the wrong way around :() and it sort of unfolds as you might be able to see in the picture below..

Sorry I don't know why these are on their side!! The one at the top (meant to be left) is one Lisa or Adele made, so I used the pattern for the other 3 for our Visiting Teaching sisters.

For my new nephew. A friend of ours sent a present up for Maggie when she was born, and they wrapped it in a baby wrap. Very thoughtful and very useful!! I loved the idea:

This is like a little 'pack' of cards I gave to my sister to go away with - she asked for some 'thankyou' cards to give out:

This is the card Adele & Lisa taught everyone to make at my stampin up party:

A baby card (it doesn't belong to a baby yet - I just wanted to try the cute pram idea James' Aunty Gillies did on a card for us. I think you can sort of see where I've written 'name' in pencil for when I go to use it :))

A few randoms: Oh - the ribbon I did on the very bottom one (again, sorry I can't get things to turn around the right way!:S), I got the idea from Adele again. I ironed it so it would sort of go one way, but I don't think you're necessarily meant to...

This is a 'thankyou' for Dad - he and Mum bought me a packet of cute novelty buttons they saw for my projects :)

Cute little saying:

I love ribbons...

The other day I was reading a book I've borrowed from a friend, and I didn't want to fold her pages so I made a bookmark :)

A '3D project'. Lisa makes a bunch of these on her and Adele's blog (if you follow the link 'Adele' near the top). The sides of the lid were meant to come down longer but I messed up.

And those are some of the projects I've had fun making lately :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making use of the 17 Bananas in our Package

To the banana muffins I added choc chips, to the two long trays on the right I added chopped walnuts, and the two small trays are normal banana cake. It is a good freezer lunch item. James eats a lot though, so it's already almost gone. I wonder if next week's package will involve as many bananas.

I've made 4 massive trays of baked potato pieces (like the ones Dad does with pumpkin too) so far - James eats them as snacks and on sandwiches with BBQ sauce (totally not the way they were intended to be eaten when I made them). I thought of how proud Grandma Taylor would be of me using sea salt in those :)

Tonight I'm making potato bake and choko soup for dinner. I'm learning to be resourceful with the random assortment of foods we've been blessed with. I've been making all our dinners this week with cream-based sauces, due to the million creams lol :) This is kind of fun.

My parents and all my siblings + the niece and nephew have been very ill with a stomach bug this week. I'm giving myself 2 more days before I'm in the clear (I was hanging out with them lots, and it seems highly contageous :S), but I am feeling blessed that none of us here in the little Easthope household have it at least yet, although I feel a possibly vicious cold coming on :S. I hope everyone feels better soon!! xo

Friday, May 14, 2010

$20 Groceries!

Recently Jillina has been inspiring me to be thinking smart about money with her 'You're Nifty if You're Thrifty' posts. Mum's told me that the local PCYC gives out food parcels for $20 with food they're given, to raise money. I finally took her advice and called last week, and found out they've moved. I called and got the details, and yesterday I finally went. Here's what I got:

I am sooo in love with this place!! The size of the picture doesn't do the food justice - click on it and blow it up lol. First I went around and looked at all the food you can buy individually. The massive can of pineapple pieces you can see back right was $2 - for 3kgs!! I got 2 of them. The smaller cans (which are usually the 'big' cans - 850g) are 6 for $4, when they're usually $4-ish each at the shops!!! Great for food storage!! They also had massive beetroot tins, cheap yummy icecream (cookies & cream), frozen lasanges, and a bunch more. Oh and they sell clothes and stuff too - there's an op shop section.

I got some cans and the bottle of juice, then when I was at the counter a lady came and asked me if I'd like to look at the $20 food parcels. I said okay, and she showed me, and aside from most of the cans and 1 of the bottles of juice, that's what I got for $20!!! You can't even see all the fruit and veg in the box but there's HEAPS - this morning I'm making about 5 batches of banana cake to freeze, because we got about a kazillion bananas, and a million potatoes (oh - you can get as many potatoes as you want, for free! - there's a massive bucket out front!) plus lettuce, onions, something green I keep forgetting the name of but Mum said to just steam it, apples, etc. Then there's the cold stuff - the margarines and cream and yoghurt (you can't see them all, but we got a box of 10 yoghurts), plus extras, chips, noodles, lamingtons, biscuits, juice, pantry items like coconut, stock cubes, ricebubbles, oats, salad dressings, simmer sauces, oh, a cheese platter (yum, and usually $10 all on its own in the shops!), garlic bread, even some Betty Baxter meal replacements and moisturiser samples lol. You don't get to choose what you get, but if you're happy to be flexible, it's very worth it! What they have changes every week depending on what they get.

The place is run by a local church, and it's not just for people who are desperate. They are given the food, and are making money off it to give to the church or whatever, so they're happy for anyone to go!

If you're a local and you're interested in the address, ph # and opening hours let me know. I will be going every week :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

3 Years of Dating :)

On Thursday it was James and my 3 year anniversary of 'dating' :) We started dating on a Sunday evening after a cottage evening. He asked if I would go on a date with him. I said 'yes'. Then he said he would like to 'date' me, and I said I would too, so we decided to 'date'. And then we got married 6 months later :)
Thursday morning I was very tired, and after I'd fed Maggie we went back to sleep, and I didn't even realise at the time, but Maggie woke up so James woke up with her, and then they came back and woke me up when she was hungry, and James gave me this:

Cute card that he made, huh? :) And he bought me a Bunnykins book - I love children's books, and I love Peter Rabbit & friends, I was very happy, it's very cute and sweet :)

For dinner we had Fasta Pasta (I love it... and I didn't want to cook... and I didn't want James to cook... and I wanted to eat immediately...). We got it take out, and ate it on the couch with a movie, because I was tired. It was nice :) Especially cause James had been stuck in uni assignemnt-ville, and it was nice to hang out without doing uni work! Maggie hasn't been so well, and was having trouble sleeping so we had her out in her bouncinette with us, and we cuddled her lots too! You can sort of see her in one of the photos :) (Please ignore the washing basket and the ugly couches, sigh)

I am super-glad James asked me out :) xoxoxox

I made Chicken Soup!!!

So chicken thighs were on a great sale the other week and Mum mentioned that they make quite a tasty chicken soup. I LOVE my mum's chicken soup, (actually, if you look to last year's Mother's Day post you'll see that Mum made some for me - it's the best thing in the world for if you're feeling sniffly) and I was super excited to try to cook it! Unfortunately I planned my big adventure the same night we got asked over to a friend's for a movie night. James had to work till 7:30, so I figured I'd cook it and we'd eat quickly and rush over. Sadly it (like all of my cooking!) took much longer than excpected!! The kitchen was a pigsty which I hate (I love having everything look lovely while I blissfully cook away lol), but the soup was great. I added a bit of extra cream because James LOVES cream, and when I tasted Mum's the next week I realised I don't like mine as much, but it was okay. Also, I had a bit of a stock mix up with the dumplings. Oh yes - Mum used to make dumplings with it and the recipe was with the soup in the family cookbook, so I gave them a go too. They would have been better if I hadn't overdosed them with stock lol.

Here is our pigsty of a kitchen when I was done. Ew! And we were super-late to go to our friend's place so I left the mess till after, double ew!!! How I love a clean kitchen!

The soup looks kinda yuck. But it was kinda yum :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I made 'Steak Diane'!!!

Those of you who knew me really well in my early days of marriage will appreciate this more than those of you who didn't, because of how disastrous I was in the kitchen due to a bizzare lack of confidence for something so ... not frightening. Since I have overcome my fear of cooking, I have cooked mostly new recipes. Mum and Dad are both fabulous cooks, so I've 'wisely' avoided cooking things from our family cookbook, because then I didn't know how badly I was messing up :) (I was about to say 'makes sense, right?', then I pictured James' face when I say that about something like this).

The other night I asked James to pick up some meat on the way home from uni 'anything! - I haven't decided what's for dinner yet!', and he got 4 big steaks for $6, which I was very happy with. He even said "And we don't even need to eat them all tonight!" It had never occurred to me that we would.

I used the first steak in a stir fry with veg on rice.

Last night I used the second to make Steak Diane, because I passed the recipe in the book, and realised how EASY it was!!! And I already had all of the ingredients, AND it was QUICK!! Sadly for James I had decided to use only one steak each night, so we shared... but it waaas enormous, and we filled up on bread...and this is terrible but we were out of veggies and I didn't manage to get to the shops, so that's literally what we ate: Steak Diane, and bread. Lucky the Steak Diane was good!! :) You should have seen James' face though, when I put one plate with a lone steak on the table between us. Haha.

Tonight, I think I will make Chop Suey with the third, and I will definitely make sure I stop at the shops and get some veggies :)

Any ideas for steak 4??

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Fabulous Wedding

I love weddings! My little sister Bethany is getting married this year, and has started planning her day. She doesn't want to have the reception at an ordinary function centre, or in a chapel rec hall. I was looking online at wedding venues and ideas, and I started of course to think back on our wedding. It was a pretty fabulous event.

I woke up on a beautiful Friday morning (23rd November, 2007). I went out to the kitchen where members of my family were running around cooking, sewing and getting things ready, and was shooed into the shower. I spoke on the phone to my Grandma Taylor, ate 2 profiteroles for breakfast, then straightened my hair:

The photographers (deep grey)arrived and started taking photos of us getting ready. I got dressed and Mum drove me up to the temple.

We then got married in a Temple Sealing at the Brisbane Australia Temple. This was the most important and precious part of the day, and was witnessed by a few members of our close family and friends. By getting married in the temple we are sealed for Time and all Eternity, not just 'till death we part'. Because we believe that families who are sealed can be together forever, it is hugely important for us to participate in this kind of marriage.

We got some photos at the temple:

We got some photos across the road from the temple, at the city lookout:

We drove in James' uncle's car to the Botanical gardens and had a picnic lunch:

Then we walked around the gardens for a while for photos:

In Brisbane city there's a giant outdoor stage right on the river, in the botanical gardens. Lots of outdoor concerts are played there, and I've actually performed there in an orchestra. It's called 'Riverstage', and Mum (who should be a wedding planner) had the brilliant idea of hiring it for our wedding reception!

Mum organised chairs and tables, plants, screens, beautiful flower table centrepieces, and did all the food. This was in addition to the wedding dress, bridesmaids' dresses, and a million other tasks! She did everything on the tables - the candles, special pens, place setting cards, programs, everything! It all looked beautiful:

The reception started at 5pm, on the roof of Riverstage, with hors de oeuvres and a string quartet:

You could see the temple across the river from the roof:

We then went down to the stage and after Uncle David explained the temple sealing, we exchanged rings. We did this because James' family aren't members of our church so couldn't attend our sealing in the temple.

After that we had dinner and some speeches. There were no photos taken of the gorgeous table where the amazing buffet was set out, but it was beautiful and incredible! In the photo of Jonny speaking you can sort of see one of the flower arrangments...

Then started the surprises for the evening.

Mum thought it would be special to have some things about the wedding that we didn't know were going to happen. The first one James knew about, as it was him, singing me a song! He has a fantastic voice, but I had no idea he planned to sing at our wedding! He sang 'Always and Forever', by Luther Vandross, and his mum and Tammy sang back up. He made me sit on a chair in the middle which was a bit awkward, but it was 'so romantic!' :) You can tell from my face that of course, I loved it!

Then we cut the cake (I knew this was going to happen):

Next was our 'first dance'. We had planned a fun first dance to a Lional Richie song (we love Lionel :), and had it choreographed. What we didn't know, was that Mum had organised to have boxes of rose petals showered over us as we began!! It was such a beautiful surprise!! (You can see the food tables a bit more in these shots...)

Then we danced with my parents, then James' parents...

Followed by everyone dancing...

...until we were all upstaged by the surprise entrance of Elvis!!! James' Koro (grandfather) loves Elvis, and does all of his songs, in his special Elvis suit Nana sewed for him!! Mum organised for him to pull out an 'impromptu' performance in the evening. He was a HUGE hit:

At the end of the night, as we left, the last surprise was that everyone attending the wedding lined up on both sides of the driveway with sparklers, so that we went through a pathway of them. It was beautiful and fun!!

Sadly the photographers had left by then, and I don't have any photos of it, but it was a beautiful finish to a beautiful night.

In summary, Mum did a beautiful job, and thought of everything. Many friends and family helped her to make it special.

Our temple sealing is everything, but we had a wonderful time in the beautiful, elegant and fun reception Mum and others did for us. Thankyou Mama!!! :)

...and now I'm really excited and can't wait to help with whatever we do for Bethany!! :)