Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

This year, I decided to make my nanna's Christmas pudding. A recipe that she used to make all of the time and that she gave me before she passed away. It's one of those ones that you make in calico and was always my very favourite as a young child! She used to put coins in it, so we all lined up for a piece in the hopes to find a tooth crunching silver treasure that she'd swap for new coins (we had to give back the old style ones so that she could reuse them the following year).

Unfortunately, I had no coins, but as you can see, the final results were still brilliant!
And eating it, along with her special brandy sauce (not pictured cause I forgot!) was a treat!
And we also had a visitor on Christmas Day...someone who was making sure that he wasn't on the dinner plate!!!!
Hope that your Christmas was excellent!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Retro Fabbo

Being on holidays means that I get the enviable (ha, ha!) opportunity of cleaning through hoarded boxes that have been shifted from our previous storage space/new study nook!

Although this is not a particularly fun job, there were some exciting moments when I opened boxes that held little treasures. Note the retro anodised canister set that was salvaged from my mother-in-law's house before she went into a nursing home (and consequently passed the memory is a tad bittersweet!). We saved these canisters along with the cup sets, from the second hand dealer who came to take away most of her stuff. I have now washed them and have them on display, but as you can see from the picture, the black lids have a discolouration to them. Hopefully, someone can tell me how to fix this!

I also rediscovered these anodised cup sets...retro from probably the 50s or 60s. Once again, there is some staining that haven't come out with a simple soapy wash but it's probably more obvious in the photo than in the real!
And then there was this funky leopard belt that, back in the late 80s/early 90s, I thought was the absolute ultimate in fab!
And then I came across this little treasure! No idea how old it is and no idea if it is still good to drink, but it was a treasure anyway!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

U2???? Me, too!!!!

Jay Z warms the crowd!
U2 appeared on stage!
Bono gets into it!
Singing up a storm in front of 50 000 people!
One lucky viewer got pulled out of the crowd!
The stage effects were amazing!
The crowd was packed in!
We bought cheap seats (at over $170!) but when we got there, they told us that our section had been closed and we were being reseated.....into corporate!!!! We took a millisecond to think about it before doing a happy dance!
Lights out and mobile phones on made a magnificent effect!
After a couple of hours of energy, entertainment and enthusiasm........
......they waved us goodbye!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Love

I love my new Freedom Aiken cushions. But I think that I need a black one behind it instead of the beige. What do you think??

Btw, this lounge is looking way more yellowy than it is in real life. Weird photo colour thing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Renovation Revamp!

When your children suddenly become so large that they can touch the ceiling with barely a stretch, you know that it's time to look for more room!

For a long time, we have ho-hummed over the best way to gain more room in our little house...not an easy task when you are on a budget of a pittance!

At the back end of our garage we had a space. On the house plan, it was marked as just a part of the garage and probably a work area but for years, we've used it as a storage spot. The corner had no window, one bare brick skin wall and one plastered wall, one power point and a whole lot of open shelves. The shelves were a total embarrassment and a certain someone (who shall remain nameless!) got into the habit of dumping any old thing on the floor in front of the shelves. You could see this mini dumping ground from the kitchen area and it always disturbed me!

So, after going mad with a measuring tape one day, we decided that that area would actually make a great little study nook. We knocked down the shelves (goodbye storage!) bought a window and employed a fantastic builder to come and install it, along with a wall along half of the garage opening (can't put a door in cause of a cupboard in the way, but meh, I can live with that.) He also lined the brick skin wall and organised for a plasterer to complete the job!

I have taken a pic of the semi-renovation. Stupidly, I did not actually get a 'before' shot. Don't know what I was thinking! You can see that the window now looks out to my clothesline so I might have to consider that one but it does let in an amazing amount of light. The room is now taking shape. The plasterer came last week but I haven't had a chance to photograph that yet. Now, all that is left is a light (electrician organised and waiting on fittings!), paint (us!) and floor coverings (not sure yet!).

I'll keep you posted on progress!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Joys of Having A Teenager!

Are you a parent reading this and listening to the sounds of your sweet child in the background? Be years to come, these gorgeous, sweet, loving children metamorphasise into creatures far scarier than anything that your wildest dreams could ever imagine.....that's right, I'm talking about TEENAGERS!!!

Even the name 'teenager' stirs a sense of panic within that makes you want to run for the hills! And believe me, it is justified. Let me explain.....

1) Teenagers can be selfish! Everything is about them. They work on teenager time when doing the chores but expect you to stand to attention when they want something.

2) Teenagers sleep! No longer are early rises customary. They live like vampires....sounds emit from their now-closed doors late into the night but come sunrise they are fast asleep!

3) Teenagers eat! We have taken to hiding our favourite foods away from teenage eyes. For example...that huge jar of olives that we bought a few days ago....well, I found the remnants of it in the Superteen's room yesterday....seeds and all! Which leads me to my next point....

4) Teenagers can be lazy! They are prepared to sit and watch you run around like a slave but ask them to hang their towels back on the rack or put their clothes in the clothes basket and you'd think that you were asking them to gouge out an eye! Ouch!

5) Teenagers can be looks-obsessed! That kid that would wear anything you bought suddenly becomes a style expert...naturally in a style that is a polar opposite to yours! Clothes, shoes, hair and even accessories are all scrutinised on their 'cool' factor!

6) Teenagers become music experts (eat your heart out Molly Meldrum)! That quiet little spot that was your child's room now has a never ending 'doof-doof' sound emitting from it when they are home! I believe they call it music although it's not something that I recognise! But take heart, now they have ipods so if you ask them to get rid of said music, they shove little white plugs into their ears - ensuring deafness for future years - so that you cannot even have a conversation with your teenager without screaming at them to get the things out of their ears!

7) Teenagers can be friend crazy! No longer are you the centre of their universe and, to be honest, it hurts! Suddenly, their friends are THE most important people in their lives and their social life is all important. Believe me, you can tell them that that new shirt that you bought for them looks great but it will sit in the cupboard untouched. Have one of their friends come over and admire same shirt and you won't get it off their back! And don't get me started on the texting, skyping, msn-ing etc that goes on between 'the friends'! That is an issue left for a whole other post!

8) Teenagers can be computer maestros! If you think that you are pretty computer savvy cause you read blogs and use facebook a bit, think again! That teen will outwit, outsmart and outsneak you on almost every level...unless of course, you are Bill Gates reading this and if so, then ignore point 8!!!

9) Teenagers don't drive! Remember those bumper stickers that were huge in the 80s that had 'mum's taxi' on them? As a teenager then, I'd roll my eyes when I saw I want one for my car! Don't expect to have much free time when you have a teenager cause your life becomes about dropping off and picking up without so much as a please or thank you (until you remind them, of course!)

10) Teenagers don't like rules! This is the age when rules are challenged....and challenged....and challenged again! Firm consequences are fine but when you enforce them expect a psycho tantrum despite all of your previous warnings and reminders. It's just par for the course though...roll with the tanty and you do survive!

11) Teenagers can have girlfriends...or boyfriends! This is the age where, for most kids, the opposite sex is suddenly very, very appealing. The whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing sends a shudder down my spine but I'm living through it! Unfortunately, they are past the age where having a 'girlfriend' means that you sit next to her at lunch time. These days, it's serious business! It's the age and stage where you can only pray that all of your life lessons on responsibility and trust pay off and that having a 'friend' means no more than a few snogs and holding hands down the street! And of course, that your nagging voice of 'be responsible' keeps echoing in their head as they jump out of the car on their next social adventure!

12) Teenagers are emotional roller coasters. One moment they will bite your head off, the next moment they will give you a great big hug! Go figure! It's these latter moments that mums like me live for and realise that there is just a glimmer of hope that we'll all get through these years in one piece.....maybe!

PS...If you have a teenager and are reading this going....'That's not my child' then you are so lucky and I envy that fact that you don't have to go through the fun and games that I'm experiencing right now.

PPS....I do love my teenager though....I really, really do!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family History Updates!

It's been a while since I posted about my on-going family history research so thought I should update!

Good news #1: Remember how I posted about my grandmother's family history here? Unfortunately, I have not had any further information on this family but have managed to track down my grandmother's step sister. I now know that she was still alive right up until the early 2000s and does have descendants living in Queensland somewhere. I've been searching for this woman for years and thanks to a little further information through a contact was able to piece it together.

Good news #2: You might remember me posting about the Gilbert family here! Once again, thanks to a collaboration, we have discovered when and where James Gilbert died. Although not a lot of further information was listed on his death certificate, it appears he was English - if the death informant was correct!

Good news #3: I have invested. After years of lying in an unmarked grave, my great grandfather now has a small but still significant headstone on his resting place. It is weird deciding how to memorialise someone who you have never actually met but without whom, you would not exist! I am yet to visit his grave as it is in a large Queensland country town, but perhaps will get a chance to travel there soon. I hope that somewhere, wherever he is, that he is feeling a little chuffed that he wasn't forgotten!

I love that I have been studying family history for more than 20 years now and am still finding things that surprise me! It's one of the joys of this interesting hobby!

Ps...Tonsils are healing ok. The pain is still significant but is getting better each day. Pain meds are still being given though and I have this week off work to care for her!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh Those Tonsils!

For many years now, Miss Eleven (did I mention that she is now eleven??) has had throat issues. They started when she was little and had to get grommets put in and adenoids out. After that, her tonsils decided to take on Hulk proportions and gradually have become the massive tombolas that you see in the picture. Every time she has had so much as a sniffle, the tonsils got larger, the sore throat got worse and the space in the back of her throat restricted more and more.

At the beginning of the year, after many years of sore throats, Miss Eleven cried that she had had enough. She was sick of the sore throat thing and sick of having tonsil issues. It was at that point that we decided to take her to a specialist who, not surprisingly, declare that they should come out.

So yesterday, after much anxiety and sleepless worry, the tonsils in question were removed!

Miss Eleven came through the whole thing perfectly, apart from a sore throat of course, and is loving the fact that she gets to choose the dinner menu for the week!

Thankfully, we had a wonderful doctor (whose only flaw was that he decided to start his hospital rounds at 6am this morning....yes that does say AM!) and all is well!

The only real issue was that I had to stay at the hospital overnight with her and had one very uncomfortable night's sleep on a makeshift bed. Luckily, I have been able to sleep in my own bed this afternoon to make up for it!

So, the next couple of weeks are recuperation ones! And hopefully, we will never have to deal with tonsillitis again!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


......I have caught up on work!
......I have washed clothes!
......I have cleaned the bathroom, including the ceiling!
......I have wiped down the outdoor table (that's later!)
......I have cleaned the dust off the shade above the dining table (and now the whole room seems brighter....go figure!)
......I have shopped!
......I have had coffee with a friend!
.......I have talked on the telephone!
.......I have cooked dinner!
........And.......I have added new Brisbane (and a couple of non-Brisbane) bloggers to my blog role.....check it out at the side!!!!!

Enjoy your week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Media Room Makeover

We have always had a media room....even before media rooms were the trend! Unfortunately, it has been neglected as it has suffered all of the side effects of having small children. In simple terms, it was 'child trashed'!

Now that our kids are growing older, however, I decided to give it a 'joojsh' albeit a reasonably inexpensive one!

Firstly, I rearranged the furniture and gave the whole room a good clean. By moving the two single lounge chairs side-by-side, adjacent to the sofa, it made a huge difference in the feel of the room. Thankfully, the tv and cabinet were only a few years old, so they stayed!

Being the avid shopper that I am, I obviously had to force myself to go bargain hunting to add to the decorations. We bought a cabinet and cane basket inserts from Ikea some weeks earlier (great idea but don't get me started on how I asked DH to pick up one colour and he came home with another!). Then I picked up a mega bargain mirror and black rug.

One of the best hints that I can give is to reuse furniture to save money. Remember the make-over that I did in Miss Ten's room? I took her old bedside drawers and put them under the mirror. They make the perfect place to store remote controls. Then I placed the cheap and rather old Big W (or was it Target???) lamp on the top. It makes a wonderful feature in the room. I also dug out an old print that was in storage and got it reframed for $50. It goes perfectly in the room but I only picked it up today so didn't get a photo...sorry!

Finally, I decided that the whole look needed black cushions (hello Target!) and a black throw rug. Voile! Room complete!

The whole look cost less than $500. Ok, one day I will need a new lounge suite (I am thinking red!) but in the meantime, this room which started out as one I avoided has now become a place where I want to spend time!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's a Dog's Life!

I so wish that I could do this all day!!! And no, she is not supposed to be there! I found this picture on my camera when I was downloading others that I'd taken. I wonder who took it??? Hmmmmmmm!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Faves and Fun Stuff at the Moment!

It's been ages since I've done a run-down on my favourite things at the moment, so here goes......

Favourite Book

This is hard cause I haven't been doing as much reading as I should be lately! I have completed the final book in the Riley Jensen series though and loved the ending! I am also currently reading a book called 'Haunted Brisbane' by Jack Sim. It's a great little read about supposed haunted parts of the city. The family historian in me loves how the author has been able to maintain anecdotal history which would otherwise run the risk of being lost through generations. And it's a great read for the locals amongst you readers who are interested in that type of thing!

Favourite Television Show

I have many of these at the moment. Still love Packed to the Rafters and am soooooo loving Nathan at the moment. The actor who plays this character is improving before our eyes!

My other all time favourite at the moment is Offspring, the Channel Ten series about a doctor and her neurotic ways in dealing with her life. I love Asher Keddy and have been a huge fan for ages so it seems natural, I suppose that I would love this show. And I must say that the romance between Nena and Dr Chris on this show is hot, hot, hot!!!

For those of you with cable tv, I can also recommend Spirited starring Claudia Karvan. Although the final episode of series one aired last night, they are having repeats this weekend on Channel W, I think. I love this show and I love the character of Henry Mallett. My only complaint is that the final episode left me itching for season 2 to begin. What a pity, it won't start again until next year!

Favourite Movie

I don't know if I have a favourite at the moment but I did see Eat, Pray, Love yesterday. I had read the book and heard all sorts of negatives about the movie, so I went in with little expectation. The reality is that I really, really liked it! I thought that Julie Roberts was excellent as Elizabeth Gilbert and the scenes in Italy made me want to go back there! Definitely worth the effort to see it, however, don't expect big whopping emotional roller coasters during the film. Like the book, it just really bubbles along the pathway of the author's life.

Favourite Music

I started off revisiting my youth and all the songs that reflected it, after some conversations with my teenage son. What has followed is a love of the new music of Mark Seymour (aka, ex-Hunters and Collectors lead singer). He really is fabulous at singing those melodic, soulful tunes. I cannot believe that there isn't a greater commercial market for the amazing music that he is making today. I am now a huge fan!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Feel Like Noah!

.....Noah of the flood variety, that is! All that is missing is my ark! Lol!

Yesterday, we in Brisbane experience a massive dumping of rain! They say that in one night we had our monthly average of rain. Although it rained non stop all night, at around 7am, it decided to come down in bucketloads!

At that time, I was getting ready for work and sleepily headed out to the kitchen to start breakfast. A quick look out the kitchen window and I discovered that my back pergola had turned into a lake. As I ventured out, lifting pyjama legs as I went so that they didn't hit the water, I turned the corner of my house where my clothesline is and discovered more lake....only this time getting dangerously close to entering the house!

Now, I am not a photographer and don't profess to be one, but you can get an idea from my photos exactly how much water there was and how dark and heavy the clouds were! At this point, DH decided to take the day off work and spent his morning standing out in the pouring rain, digging a channel to open up a gravel-covered drain and help water escape. I left him to it, of course and went to work but thankfully, the rain did ease off enough to prevent any further disaster!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ikea Loving!

About a month ago, I spotted a gorgeous butterfly lamp in a Pillow Talk advertisement. It was lime green and looked so nice that I decided to buy it for Miss Ten's room. What followed was a month long decorating frenzy that saw, not only her room revamped, but a few extra odds and ends bought for other places in the house as well.

Miss Ten has always had the small room! A lot of the decor was mish-mash and left over from other places in the house. Her old bedside table was a hand-me-down and her 'desk' was an old table that I used as a baby's change table at one stage! Her drawers were bought for $10 at a garage sale and were falling apart and her curtains were cheap Big W ones that were bought before she was born. My BIL, at one stage, gave us a set of wall shelves for her Beanie Kid collection (which is brilliant), but apart from that, the whole room had a 'thrown together' feel!

So, on the day that I went to Pillow Talk to buy the new lamp, I came out curtains, a new doona cover and a new bobble bed cushion.....all in lime green! I then went to the local shopping centre and bought a bobble lime green mat, a hanging thing for more soft toys (I really really dislike the oversupply of soft toys, btw!) and lime green bucket-style containers!

.....And then I discovered Ikea!

Ikea is a long drive from my house and involves going over the Gateway bridge toll road! Regardless, we made the venture in search of a new desk that would fit Miss Ten's little room! We found the perfect one, of course with an additional hutch! Two trips back to Ikea later and we also have a new bedside chest, a new chest of drawers for her cupboard, a lime green wall mirror and a great lime green throw rug! I think I love Ikea now!

So I have included photos of bits and pieces of the new room! What do you think?

Butterfly lamp above from Pillow Talk. I love this colour!

Green throw rug only $5 from Ikea. Doona cover and curtains from Pillow Talk.

Aneboda bedside cabinet from Ikea.

Aneboda chest of drawers fit perfectly inside the wardrobe!

Micke desk and hutch and Snille chair all from Ikea.
Miss Ten loves the Micke hutch as the backboard is a magnetic white board...perfect for holding old Littlest Pet Shop toys (don't know why that $5 was there though!).

Green hangy thing from Target...although I noticed that Ikea has them, too! I also bought a green mat from Target but didn't take a pic for some reason!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Delight Of Holidays and Other Such Stuff!

Ten things I'm thinking about right now:

1. These days, I have to fight a couple of children to get on my own computer! Go figure! The joys of motherhood and kids getting older and more computer savvy!

2. We are on holidays now and are loving the sleep-ins! While the kids usually complain about being bored on holidays, it hasn't been so bad this time....perhaps because the last holidays were so full on!

3. I love, love, love the new Australian drama, Offspring! I have always loved Asher Keddie. She plays the slightly neurotic, nervy type so well......maybe I relate!

4. I spent a mini fortune at Ikea over the last week. It is a good 45 minute drive to the nearest Ikea for me but it has been worth it. Miss Ten now has a brand new desk and hutch! Hooray! Her room is looking neater and I have overhauled it with lime green trimmings! Pictures would be on the way, except that a certain Superteen decided to 'borrow' the batteries from my camera without asking! :(

5. Speaking of 'Superteen', he has just celebrated another birthday making me feel decidedly older but still proud of him, despite his total teenage attitude! (Ok, the teenage attitude is driving me round the twist but they tell me that I only have a few more years for him to grow out of it! Greeeeeattttt!)

6. The dogs are doing fine! I am currently looking for a good kennel to board them in over the Christmas/new year period so if anyone knows a good one in the greater Brisbane area, please let me know!

7. I really should not have eaten those last two chocolate koala biscuits!

8. Speaking of food....we are having visitors for tea tomorrow night. What to cook? Bbq sounds like a good idea and perhaps chocolate coated strawberries (chocolate done in slow cooker, of course!)

9. I am currently listening to fabulous music by Mark Seymour. I think he sounds better than his Hunters & Collectors days! Check him out here!

10. I have just clocked over 20 000 visitors to my blog! Hooray! Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Farewell To The Finger!

Most Australians have heard of Powderfinger! And if you have lasted with me over the coarse of my blogging years, you will know that I love them! You will also know that my dear son was in their video clip some years ago and you will know that they recently called it a day and are currently on the very final Australian tour....ever!!!

So last Saturday night, we treated ourselves and our son to a ticket to one of their final Brisbane concerts. Us and thousands and thousands of other people braved the gray skies to stand on a hill next to the Brisbane River to hear our favourite band play one last time!

On arrival, we were treated to the poppy sounds of Operator Please - a young Australian band who are currently most famous for a song about ping pong than anything else. I liked them! I predict more hits for them if they stay together!

After that, we were witness to the amazing spectacle that is Brisbane Riverfire! Twenty full minutes of massive fireworks filled the night sky, along with the awesome sight of three F1-11 fly overs (the final ever, too as the government is retiring this particular aircraft), dumping fuel as they went to form a massive fire-ball tail on their aircraft! Amazing!

Following the fireworks, The Vines took to the stage. Now, I am not a young, hip teenager but am not completely mega-conservative in my music tastes, I don't think. The Vines, however, made me feel about a hundred years old as apparently, screaming into the microphone is far better than actually hearing lyrics! Ok, there were some songs that were alright but I think I'll leave their music for the young 'uns in future!

Finally, Powderfinger began. They offered, as usual, a full night of entertainment....performing songs that we all knew, had grown up with and could sing along to! To see these guys in full stage flight is really a treat! Their heavy guitar-based sound brought back memories of smoke-filled concert venues of years gone by! At one stage, they left the stage, only to arrive on a second stage at the top of the hill a few minutes later (much to the delight of the crowd at the back, I'm sure!). We were thrilled, actually, when they ran right past us to return to the main stage. No super-special pathways for these normal blokes....just a quick dash with a couple of security back to where they began the concert! And to top it all off, Bernard Fanning played one of my all-time favourite songs when he arrived back on-stage....a little number called 'Whatever Makes You Happy'!

The Superteen, at his first ever concert was impressed. Although he did not want to rage in the mosh pit, he enjoyed the music and came away more of a Powderfinger fan than he was previously. He was disappointed, however, that they didn't play 'I Don't Remember', the song that he played a younger version of one of the band members in the video clip!

At the end of the night, and after two encores, they sang their swan song....These of my all-time favourite PF songs! I admit that it was here when I started to get a little emotional. They say that all good things must come to an end, but this song signalled, not just the end of the concert but the end of seeing Powderfinger in concert again! (They do have a return trip in November but we don't have tickets!).

So, from this little Aussie fan, I'd like to say thanks Powderfinger....for the songs, the experiences and the memories! I will miss you!

(Apologies for poor photo quality. I forgot to bring my camera so ended up trying to take a few snaps on my mobile phone. Seriously waiting for my phone plan to end so I can get an iphone!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Easy Peasy Banana Pikelets with a Twist

Are you one of those people who avoids cooking pikelets because you just cannot get the cooking part right? Are you sick of pikelets that burn on one side and yet are soggy in the middle? Or do you have pikelets that become a concertina fan as soon as you try to remove them from the pan?

If you answered yes to any of the above then you are not alone. In fact, that was me until I discovered a fantastic and idiot-proof way of cooking pikelets. Here is my favourite banana pikelet recipe made on my sandwich press:

You need:

2 1/2 cups self raising flour (I combine wholemeal and white)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
3-4 very ripe bananas mashed

What you do:

1. Beat eggs, sugar, milk and water in a bowl.
2. In another bowl mash banana (I use a fork) and add the bicarb so that the banana mix expands slightly.
3. Add the banana mix to the milk/water/egg/sugar mix. Stir.
4. Add the flour to the bowl and combine. (you can add a little more water or milk to make the mix slightly on the runnier side).
5. Drop tablespoons on the preheated sandwich press. I do not use cooking spray but rely solely on the non-stick surface of the press.

6. Lower the lid so that it sits just above the pikelets. After about 30-60 seconds, drop lid onto the pikelets.
7. Your pikelets will spread so start with smaller sized spoonfuls until you get the mix correct.

8. After about a minute, lift the lid. You may need to lift them off the surface with a plastic spatula.
9. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chocolate Decadence In the Slow Cooker

It's been a while since I posted a slow cooker recipe. It's not that I haven't been using my slow cooker, just that I have been slack at posting! Lol!

This one is fantastic for the kids and grown ups alike and makes a quick and easy dessert which is not only delicious but not as bad for you (ok, minus the chocolate and cream) as some! It's also great for us Queenslanders who are currently in the middle of strawberry season!

You need:

1 packet chocolate buds or buttons. I used a large packet of dark chocolate
1 container thickened cream
Fruit pieces including strawberries, bananas etc. You could also use marshmallows or assorted lollies.

Turn slow cooker on high and fill with some water.

In a heat proof bowl put chocolate buds and cream. The ratio is about 4 : 2 tablespoons (ie for every 4 tablespoons of chocolate, put in 2 tablespoons of cream). Mix together.

Sit heat proof bowl in the water that is in the slow cooker (so make sure that your bowl fits before starting this recipe).

Place lid on slow cooker and heat for about half an hour, stirring occasionally.

When melted through, serve in a bowl so that fruit can be dipped into chocolate. We used skewers to handle the fruit pieces.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Wonder If His Nose Twitches, Too!

Our family was lying on the bed, doing what families usually do (talking and laughing) when Miss Ten suddenly changes conversation topic......

"Mum, who are you going to vote for?"

For those of you who don't know, our federal elections are coming up in less than a fortnight and at the moment, our televisions are saturated with coverage of the two main campaigners - current prime minister Julia Gillard and leader of the opposition Tony Abbott - vying for political kudos!

"Gee", was my rather shocked reply, "I don't know" (ie, me the fence-sitting, swinging voter!). Then Miss Ten looks at me in the most innocent, wide-eyed way and says:

"Are you gonna vote for Tony Rabbit?"

Naturally, I burst out laughing and then went on to explain that his name is actually 'Abbott' and not 'Rabbit'.

"Oh, I know that!" she calmly replied. "I just call him 'Tony Rabbit' because he has big ears!"

Leave it to kids to say the very obvious!

Photo courtesey of:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rocking In Rome!

The final leg of our holiday was Rome. It sounded like such a wonderful place, however even before our arrival we had an idea of things to come when people starting talking about a 'heatwave'.

And heatwave it was! After leaving our train from Florence and walking into a wall of heat, we arrived at our apartment only to find that there had been a mix-up in times with the owner and we had a two hour wait with luggage and children! Thankfully, things picked up after this and the apartment owner was fantastic following her error and offered us a bottle of wine and a little economic saving on the rental agreement!

Our apartment's position was amazing. It was literally a five minute walk to both the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and overlooked Barberini Piazza. And to make it even more was air conditioned!!!!!!

We once again took the option of an open bus tour of Rome to help us find our way. We also managed to take in the obvious sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican and because of the heat, we booked ourselves on a bus tour to Pompeii and Naples for a day. Pompeii was incredibly hot once we got off the air conditioned bus and this did somewhat spoil our visit to this incredible place.

Finally, after a week, we waved goodbye to Rome and began our long voyage home to Australia. It definitely was an amazing holiday!

BEST SIGHT SEEING EXPERIENCE......the Vatican. Without a doubt St Peter's Basilica was the most beautiful church I have seen. It literally took my breath away. We joined a tour outside the Vatican which did help us avoid some of the waiting crowds. The Vatican museums were very interesting but because of the volume of people, we felt like cattle being herded through it. St Peter's Basilica, however was the rushing, temperatures cool and architecture that was completely stunning.

OTHER THINGS WE DID.....the Colosseum (btw, only EU children get a child's entry price here....totally unfair if you ask me!), the Pantheon (lovely), Pompeii (hot), Naples (did not appeal to me), and my 'Roman Holiday' experiences....the Spanish Steps (loved these), the Trevi fountain (beautiful) and La Bocca Della Verita...the mouth of truth (which was closed by the time we got there but we still managed to snap a photo!).

CULINARY DELIGHTS......gelati! We had one every day! We did try some of the pasta dishes which were ok but we all loved the local prosciutto which was far, far better than any we've found at home!

THE KIDS RECOMMEND.....Villa Borghese is a huge park that has a zoo, which we went to and where you can hire bikes, which we did! In fact, we hired a four-person bike for an hour and laughed our heads off for most of that time!

BEST TIP......You can fill up your water bottles at many of the fountains in Rome. At first we were worried about what the quality of this would be like but after we started seeing locals doing it, we figured it must be ok. The water was cold and tasty and my family preferred it to most other water.

NEXT TIME....We would not travel in the middle of summer!!!!