Friday, June 29, 2007


Written by the 7 year old:

Dear Uncle F,

Thank you for winning us some tickets to see Finding Nemo on Ice.

It was really great and fun. We saw Nemo, Dory, Gil, jellyfishes and the lady that spun around on the strings on one jellyfish.

My favourite parts were the lady on the strings on one jellyfish and when the turtle said, 'Dude' to Nemo's dad.

My mum's favourite part was the VIP parking! It was so close to the stadium.

We bought popcorn and cups filled with rainbow snow cones. Our cups were turtles. We got a straw with it that had Dory on it. We also got a program and it came with a Nemo hat.

Thank you very much. We had a great time.

Love B!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


It's so cold here! So much so that I've been snuggled up in my bed watching cheap dvds and wearing pjs, socks, beanie etc. In fact, I just can't get warm. So much for 'sunny Queensland'! Bring back humid summer, I say!

Now, in the good ol' days when we actually had water, there was nothing like a steaming hot shower to warm the ice-block toes in this weather! But now that level 5 water restrictions have deemed that as not an option, there is only one thing left to keep the insides warm.....good old fashioned soup!

One of my favourites is this pumpkin soup recipe. Now, I am soooo not a pumpkin lover, which I'm sure comes from a childhood of trying to find as many different ways to 'hide' the pumpkin on your plate and getting smacked if it wasn't gone...or it's hiding spot was found! But this soup recipe was given to me by a work collegue some 16 years ago and it has always been fantastic. The good thing about it is that it is just basic! You can use your imagination to add bits and pieces to it, depending on what takes your fancy. The basic recipe works well (even for non-foodies like me!) and the one in the picture was actually done in the slow cooker, although I've also done it on a big pot on the stove top. At different times in the past, I've added nutmeg, ginger, curry powder, light sour cream etc - all with slightly different tastes but all successful.

Pumpkin Soup

Approx 1/2 kg potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 kg pumpkin, peeled and diced
2 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 cups water (or enough to cover veges)
4 chicken stock cubes

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer until soft. (For slow cooker, I just put all ingredients on low for 6-8 hours). Blend in blender or food processor. Return to stove or slow cooker. Add 1 cup lite cream and heat through. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Trendy Terrier!

Ruby looks so cute in her warm pink 'Princess' jacket and her brand new bling, bling collar! Thought you'd like to see....the mutt dog is looking swish!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Echidnas!

We were sitting in a nearby shopping centre eatery yesterday - where I weakened and did a 'holiday treat' for my kids and took them to lunch - and was watching Master 11 eating his chips. He's a big boy now, you know, and so was chuffed at the opportunity to be able to actually go off and line up and order and pay for them himself (under my nearby watchful eye, of course). He came back to the table and boasted how his chips were full of chicken salt.

"Hmmmmm", my motherly instincts came to the fore once again, "That's not very good for you heart....or your kidneys....if you eat too much salt" I lectured.

"Yeah!" echoed Miss 7, "It's not very good for your echidnas at all!"

Needless to say, a quick lesson in what your kidneys were quickly followed!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Babe or a Cupcake??

I'm excited! It's that time again....the time where life becomes more about hampsters, 'skips' and pineapple upside down cakes! Where romance is rife and chasing a bond-breaker is essential! Where visits to morgue showings are commonplace and where the world can be categorised into two types....cupcakes or babes!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about then you have obviously never read a Stephanie Plum novel. I became addicted to these light-hearted little treats of chick-lit last Easter and ended up reading 12 books and 2 novellas in two weeks....I just couldn't put them down. The author, Janet Evanovich, has created a whole world through Stephanie that fulfils the slumbering Nancy Drew-loving child within. She is really a light-hearted Nancy for big girls, I guess only Nancy's Ned has long been replaced with a smorgasboard of Ranger or Morelli and Stephanie's bestie side-kick is an ex-ho named Lula who loves donuts more than she loves catching bad guys. And one cannot forget mentionig the delightful Grandma Mazur......Stephanie's fiesty, fun-loving granny who adds more entertainment to these frolicking tales!

So my point through all of this is that book 13 entitled, Lean Mean Thirteen, is now in stores! I bought my copy today and so will be blanket covered and book happy for the next day or two, catching up with my favourite character's latest exploits!

Now, if only someone could convince author Janet Evanovich to get Ranger and Stephanie together again, I'd be a happy reader. And for all of you who say that Steph is better off with Morelli...think about it! It's Ranger who always helps her out. It's Ranger who is the one to catch her fall, it's Ranger who isn't wanting her change herself to fit into his world, and it's Ranger who is hot, hot, hot! ;) I rest my Stephanie-loving case!!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Anniversary Dinner at Bretts Wharf!

I have wanted to try Bretts Wharf for ages and our anniversary dinner was the perfect excuse. If you are a Ready, Steady, Cook fan and know Alastair McLeod, you'll know that he is the executive chef there (and after watching him religiously in my free afternoon tv viewing and drooling over the food he cooks, it's one of the reasons that I wanted to go there!). Although we didn't spot the aforementioned chef, we did sample the delicious food that this restaurant has to offer.

Now let me set the scene....big open-space type room of varying levels, decor of modern design with low light and lots of timber and wrought iron, set overlooking the Brisbane River with fantastic city views across the water and the conversation-piece of how many city cat ferries we could view throughout the night an ongoing theme of the evening!

The service was top should be....I counted about a dozen drinks and table service staff! But the food was fantastic. We both started the evening with the grilled octopus, lemon aioli, piquillo pepper salsa rossa and ruby grapefruit salad. What a treat! The varying flavours mixed much so that we both wished that it was a main item.....we could have kept eating it.

For mains, I had the roasted ocean trout which was cooked to perfection and Dear Husband had the eye fillet which, according to him was great although could have been bigger to fill his 'steakhouse' mentality and stomach!

But dessert was my favourite meal of the night! We both ordered warm mocha fondant, crushed raspberries and toasted brioche icecream. Yummo! It took a little while to arrive because they obviously made it on order, but it didn't disappoint when it did (although not doubt my hips may disappoint me later when it goes straight to them! Lol!)

Now, I didn't want this post to sound like a restaurant critique - which it is starting to - but if ever you are around the Brisbane/Hamilton way and are looking for a nice restaurant to eat at, I can recommend Bretts Wharf because we walked out wondering why we hadn't been there sooner.

Oh, and I did sneak a photo on my phone cam of my lovely main.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Anniversary Present!

There is nothing like the guilt of a man who's forgotten his wedding anniversary to produce some amazing presents! Last night (after admitting that he'd forgotten our wedding anniversary earlier in the day to me) Dear Husband arrived home with one nice little pressie. They are citrine earrings and necklace. Apparently, citrine is the gem you give for 13th wedding anniversaries, along with lace and fabric!

Now Dear Husband has never been one for remembering birthdays/anniversaries/Valentine's etc, so his forgetfulness came as no surprise. Although we had agreed that we were going out for dinner on the weekend so I was rather bemused that he hadn't remembered. What did come as a surprise was his lovely gift! Who would have thought that he had it in him after 13 years! Perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks after all! Lol!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thirteen Years

Thirteen years ago today I was married (and yes, this is a photo of our actual wedding cake btw!). It's amazing how time flies. In some ways it seems like just yesterday that we married and in other ways, it seems to have taken a long time to get here. I'm sure we all think that at times! There have been times over the last 13 years when life has been difficult but it has generally been thirteen years filled with love and respect which makes it all worthwhile. So today, whilst reflecting on what thirteen years of marriage means to me, I found a copy of the church booklet that we made up on our wedding day and at the back, I had this written:

"A loving one in which you can be open and honest with another without fear of being judged. It's being secure in the knowledge that you are each other's best friend and that no matter what happens, you will stand by each other.....sharing and caring; in which the lines of communication are always kept is a choice relationship. It offers comfort in the silent presence of another with whom you share mutual trust, honesty, admiration, devotion...."

I think that sums it all up really! Now if only he hadn't forgotten that today was our anniversary, all would have been perfect!

It's Just Not Sport

I feel like most of my posts lately have to do with football....does that give you any indication of where my life is atm?!

Today I took the 11 year old to footy because Dear Husband was working.

Never, in my life, did I imagine that I would witness one of the worst displays of behaviour from a coach that I've ever seen!

The other team's coach just stunned me. Throughout the game, he yelled, screamed, bagged the umpire (who was only a teenage kid!) and ended up arguing at the top of his voice with a field marshall. At 3/4 time he yelled at his team - who were losing at the time- that they obviously didn't want to play football and that he was walking away to let them sort it out for themselves. At one stage after he argued with the field marshall, the lines umpire who was from their team turned to him and told him to concentrate on the game.

Now, I'm sure that in any other situation, this sort of behaviour would have immediate retribution. Could you imagine sending your child to school to a teacher who spoke like that? No! In fact, any other profession who spoke to children like that would be under threat of suspension or dismissal. So because coaching is a volunteer job....does that make it ok? No way!

To balance this, at the other end of the field was our team's coach. The only time I heard him raise his voice across the grounds was to give directions or a positive ("Good one, X!'...'Grab the ball, Y!').

And any position of authority, that deals with vulnerable pre-teen boys, in my opinion should be modelling good behaviour and self-control. A football coach is one person that these kids often look up to. What message does that send them? That it's ok to yell, argue and be aggressive? To question authority and the rules that are in place for the safety of others?

Yes, it's a sad, sad day for football indeed when that sort of behaviour is displayed on any sporting field!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Counting Money

"Mummy, I have forty-nine dollars and sixty cents" came the cry from Miss 7 the other day, as she was counting out all the money from her money box. Wow, I thought, not only is she learning to save money but her counting skills are just getting so much better. It wasn't that long ago that she couldn't count past ten and now she is counting not only in dollars, but in cents as well! My chest puffed slightly with pride as I did the expected, "Aren't you a good girl for saving all that money. If you keep going, you'll have more soon!"
"Yes", she replied, "I'll have a million dollars"!!!

Oh well, maybe next year she'll realise just how far it takes to count to a million!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Genre Princess At It Again

Miss 7 is becoming a writing queen! Once again she surprised me by whipping out her notepad and asking me about spelling after she'd make a fancy milk concoction (half of which ended up all over the kitchen bench, of course!). I snuck a photo (taken with old camera, btw so not as clear as it should be!) before she realised. Now, if anyone is game to try it.....good luck! ;)

Monday, June 11, 2007

A New Camera at the Football!

I've made no secret of my frustration to understand what the big attraction with football is. But out of a sense of 'supporting the boys' I gamely ventured off to the AFL with them on Saturday night to see the Brisbane Lions play the Western Bulldogs (Lions lost btw!). Sorry to all those footy fans out there, but I still can't see what grabs people about the game, but I did get to take some snazzy shots with my NEW camera! Yaaaayyyyyy! Yes, I finally took the plunge and went and bought myself a new one. Not a dslr cause I am soooo not a photo expert and don't profess to be but rather a camera in the 'super zoom' range. I am obviously still learning how to 'drive' it but these are my first attempts! I was quite impressed with this one of Akermanis because he was actually a long way away from where we were sitting when I took it. Photography experts may like to direct me to a good 'digital photography for dummies' site though! ;)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Family History

I think it's so important to have an understanding of your place in the world - a sense of who you are and where you come from. That is why, over the years, I have invested a lot of time into family history research and why, today, I toddled off with my kids to a family reunion of a branch of our family tree.

Michael James Hinde came to Australia from Buckinghamshire as a free settler in 1864. Eventually, he selected land in the Gilston-Nerang area of Queensland, married Alice Batten and had 8 children. Throughout his life, Michael James worked his land to make a living and, amongst other things, was one of the first people in Queensland to keep bees commercially. As one of the orginal settlers of the area, his life was not flash, with him first living in a bark and sapling hut before eventually building the family home.

Today, five generations (out of seven) of his and Alice's descendents reunited to celebrate their family origins. Over one hundred people celebrated one hundred and thirty-three years of Hinde family descendents in Australia.

Michael James and Alice are my great-great grandparents. It's amazing to think that two people who lived a simple life such a long time ago could leave such a lasting legacy. I can't help but wonder though, what they would have thought if they had been able to see so many people gathered together all because of them!

Friday, June 8, 2007

My Hope Picture

For some reason I love this photo. My old camera is dying. Yes, yes, it's a sad tale but the other day when I wanted to take a picture of the rain, I whipped out my mobile phone in the hopes that it would take a couple of ok pictures for my rain blog post. I love my mobile for a number of reasons (the first being that it took me ages to convince Dear Husband that I needed more than the base model, being the technology queen I am almost becoming!). Anyway, one of the photos I took was this one and it's just so clear for a little phone camera. And it shows hope, too....hope for a backyard photographer that one day she'd get a fancy new camera and hope for a pot plant that's been dying of thirst for months now. Now if only I'd remembered to remove the little saucer from the picture that my darling daughter put there to 'feed the ants' it might have been perfect! *sigh*

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Pie to Remember!

I am not a gourmet cook. In fact, I am the type of cook who prefers to just throw something on and have it ready in a few minutes so that I can then get on with the rest of the pressing matters that consume my day. A few of my friends are the same, so when I gave them this recipe (which by the way, is a skinny recipe!) they were delighted and now make it as regularly as I do.

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Fry 1 chopped onion and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic in a pan. When soft, add 2 cups chicken stock, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons dill. Stir well.

2. Then add 1 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 packet frozen winter vegetables. Heat through until cooked. Fold in shredded chicken meat (minus skin) from 1 whole cooked chicken. When all warm, pour into a flat casserole dish (I have used a big lasagne dish at times).

3. Cut 12 filo sheets in half. Scrunch each half piece and place on top of cooked chicken mix until entire top is covered. Spray all filo with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden.

I have served this when visitors come over with a light salad and crusty bread and I have also made it just as a week night special and usually end up having left-overs for the next day!


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Happy Queensland Day!

Today....6th Queensland Day. What a great day to celebrate this state that I live in! And why today? I pulled this off the Queensland Government website to explain:

Queensland Day itself acknowledges the birth of Queensland as a self-governing colony, the anniversary of the date on which Queen Victoria signed documents granting Queensland the right to its own representative government and appointing Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Bowen.

So what do I love about living in Queensland? I have brainstormed my top ten list. I wonder if any other Queenslanders can add their own ideas:

1) Sunshine!'s not called the Sunshine State for nothing! Ok, so we have had too much lately and are currently running short of water...but hey....there is nothing like a Queensland blue sky in the middle of winter and a hot balmy night in the middle of summer!

2) The beaches! Any are fine. I love Coolum Beach and most of the Sunshine Coast ones, but the Gold Coast is supposed to be the tourism mecca of Australia so they are ok, too! Just watch for stingers and crocodiles if you visit the ones in the northern part of the state.

3) The people! I'm bias but we are friendly and happy most of the time! And our driving is not as scary as our southern counterparts.....I wouldn't even dream of driving in Sydney for fear of my life and my car! Lol!

4) All things maroon! I'm not a footy fan but I've put this in for the males in my house who are!

5) The Glasshouse Mountains and Australia Zoo! I've spoken in another post about my love of these mountains and their proximity to Australia Zoo, but if you haven't been I strongly recommend a visit cause the zoo is amazing and so are the mountains.

6) Powderfinger! Another thing I've posted about before, but any place that produces talent like Powderfinger has to be doing something right! ;)

7) Mangoes! I know that you can get these anywhere in Australia, but thank goodness for Bowen - Qld birthplace of the very best mango around. And perhaps I should be putting bananas in here, too as most of the country's banana crops are in we found out after Cyclone Larry toppled Innisfail and most of us were paying up to $10 a kilogram for a bunch!

8) Brisbane! Any place that can be lovingly nicknamed 'Bris-Vegas' and get away with it can't be too bad! And situated on the Brisbane River with the entire Southbank distract a stone's throw away means that there is plenty to see and do. I stumbled across this I Love Brisbane blog which I just love to check in on, too.

9) The wildlife. Did you know that the koala is the Queensland fauna emblem? No, you don't see koalas in the city, but I live in the suburbs and they are around! In fact, my work is situated in a koala corridor. It is not uncommon to see them in trees around the buildings. Just the other day I had to side-step koala poo while walking down a path. I also have a friend who lives about 3 minute's drive from my place on an acreage block, who sees them in her yard periodically. That said, we also get the most amazing birds here. Lorikeets, galahs, cockatoos, kookaburras are all regular visitors to our area and anyone who says that magpies are ugly just hasn't heard them warble! And lizards have also taken up residence in my yard. I especially love the little blue tongues...once I realise that they have legs and are not snakes!

10) Number 10 is tricky. I can think of so many things. I originally started off by saying 'the overall lifestyle' but then I thought...what about the Moreton Bay bugs to eat?....what about the fact that AB Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in outback Queensland?....what about all the authors from Queensland?.....the famous swimmers?....the actors (Geoffrey Rush!), singers (Keith Urban)?......what about the Great Barrier Reef which is the most amazing place to visit or the rainforests from as south as the Gold Coast hinterland to as north as the Daintree? So pick one and add it to number ten for me, will you!?

Happy Queensland Day to my state!

The Rains Are 'Ere!

You know that you are living in a drought foresaken place when it rains and the following takes place:

*The local radio refers to the downpour as 'a rain event'!

*Young children and baby animals get excited because they've never seen so much water in the one spot in their lives before!

*You don't feel guilty when you forget to redirect the washing machine water onto the lawn!

*There is a sell-out on umbrellas in the local store because no one can remember where they stored their old's been that long!

*The biggest topic of conversation around town is how much water your rain water tank took last night!

*People are standing in gutters and collecting the water run off in buckets (and yes, I actually saw this happening!)

*Everyone parks their cars out in driveway rather than in the garage as it's the first time in ages that it's had a good wash!

*The grass takes on a green tinge!

*And finally, what used to be a time when you walked around feeling gloomy and miserable has suddenly become a cause for celebration. The fact that our water catchment took 50mms of water overnight has everyone hopeful that more rain is on the way. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

We're Going To The Zoo, Zoo, Zoo!

Once your children enter school, you realise that there is one job that, as a stay-at-home mum (whether part time or full), you are expected to undertake!'s the 'parent helper' job. Now, in my books, the job description for this lovely new career should read something like: be expected to regularly sacrifice what precious little child-free time you have to undertake all the jobs that the teacher really doesn't want to do! Be expected to attend all excursions and can expect to have aching limbs and feet - not to mention ears. Panadol carrying a necessity!

So today, as a parent helper, I kindly volunteered my time (well, read into that that daughter would have howled if I didn't) to go to the local zoo. Imagine 100 little uniformed kids tearing around the small and friendly zoo, with anxious and exhausted parents in persuit (while the teachers had a lovely child-free day, I might add!). That pretty much describes it.

And why is it that your child, who normally (so the teacher says) is a model of good behaviour, suddenly brings out a whole other personality once you are around? She became loud, excited, silly, and completely full-on. Ok, yes she was very excited by the whole going on a bus to the zoo thing, but seriously, I spent my whole day trying to reign in her excitement on the one hand whilst carrying maps, drink bottles, camera, mossie spray and you-name-it in the other!

Now let's face it, had it not been for Miss 7's class, there is no way I would have been going to the zoo today. But all-in-all it was a great day. We saw so many animals including, monkeys, bears, kangaroos, koalas and snakes. I think that we walked the length of the zoo at least 6 times to visit all the displays and talks. And as we tiredly waved the school bus goodbye from the car park which was filled with the few poor kids whose mummies and daddies were working, Miss 7 delightedly turned to me and said......great, now we can keep looking cause you are here to take me home!

So after a day of so many exotic and unusual animals, I asked Miss 7 what her favourite one was when we were on the way home. Was it the baboons or the spider monkeys? No! Was it the baby crocodile? No! Was it perhaps the tiny marmoset with the baby on its back? No! So what was it then? Her reply: the baby chickens in the farmyard! Ohhhh, someone pass me a Panadol!

Enjoy the pictures of the kangaroo, marmosets and lace monitor!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Fair's Fair at the Fair!

Today was our school fair. Now, this is not just any fair, but one of the biggest primary school fairs in Brisbane. Every year the school expects approximately 30 000 visitors to the site to partake in all the fun and games.

Now, the lead-up to the fair is something else.....selling raffle tickets, donating bottles for bottle stall, organising costumes for the class dances, cooking, volunteering time, and the necessary creating of a bear for Bear Cottage.

Every year for Bear Cottage, I race around a night or two before the due date, making a masterpiece out of an old teddy bear, a box and whatever else we can find. In the past, we've managed to make a pirate bear, Ned Kelly bear, Lley-Ted Hewitt, an Aussie bear and this year's entrant........Jamie Olive-Bear! Now our little Jamie didn't take home any prizes, but like his real-life counterpart, he was certainly one of the talking points of the bear-filled display room!

And like a good mum, I did volunteer two hours of my time to help take orders and hand out coffees to weary fair shoppers. In fact, I think I'll be dreaming about lattes and skinny cappucinos tonight!

The kids had a ball. They both did dances. Miss 7 shopped at the second hand toy stall, played games like Pick-A-Stick and Pass the Ball, scoured through the second hand books, ate and drank some of the many foods, got her hair painted and our course, lined up in the huge queues to go on the many, many rides. Master 11 did what most of the kids his age were doing.....hung around with each other to go on the many rides and fill their faces with as much junk food as they possibly could! *sigh* Thank goodness fair day is only once a year!

So as is typical of most families at the end of fair day, we have arrived home and immediately spread our treasures across the lounge room floor. Show bags filled with chips and lollies (great!) for the kids, second hand books for me and bottles of wine for Dear Husband who, I'm sure, spent about $25 just on this one stall but managed to pull in a bottle of whiskey and a few bottles of wine for his efforts! Hmmmmmm...think he'll be drinking them on his own for the next year or two as I rarely touch alcohol! Lol!

All in all, it's been a good day! I've included a few pictures of the sideshow alley, the Jamie Olive-Bear creation and the hair painting. Unfortunately, my camera is a little on the sick side and I am in the middle of deciding what my next one should be, so the pictures aren't as good as I had hoped. Regardless, we will all sleep well tonight after a fun fair day!

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Morning of Desperation

What happens when you wake up at 7.20 am - late! - and realise that you have slept through the alarm and the 11 year old has a school band rehearsal at 8 am? Mad panic is what happens!!!! And this morning that is exactly what happened!

Now my children are not the quickest little cherubs in the morning. In fact, I don't think they are fully awake until around 9. So this morning it was a quick dash to do the shower relay, throw uniforms on, toss something that resembled lunch into a couple of lunchboxes etc etc!

But Master 11 is the toughest to get out of bed. I prodded, shook, cajoled and even threatened a glass of ice water as a new addition to his pjs but at 7.40 he was still unmoved!

So, in the face of adversity, I did what any good mother would do....ummmm...right?! In total desperation I offered to buy them both a McDonalds breakfast if we were in the car before 8am! You should have seen them move! Needless to say, he was only a couple of minutes late for band (miracle!) and all of us were fed and happy!

Sometimes a mother's gotta do what a mother's gotta do! Now if only he hadn't left his homework sitting on the kitchen bench, my plan would have been perfect!!! :)