Monday, February 27, 2012

He's taken over!

At the moment my house is in chaos, there's furniture spread out everywhere waiting to be put back or find a new home. Wet carpet that's dried hard and smelly, wet paper that has dried wrinkly. A rogue mouse that I'm trying to catch, but which has left a lovey smell to tell me where it is. I've reached sensory overload, too many smells, too much stuff everywhere that I can't think straight when I look at it all.

Normally when I reach sensory overload I take some time out cruising my favourite blogs and catching up on my Word With Friends games. It calms me, gives me a chance to refocus before getting started again.

With no laptop I'm relying on the iPad, but unfortunately so is Muddy Hubby! He's addicted. He says he's checking weather, but really, I'm sure he's playing Bejeweled! Who would have thought my Muddy Hubby would end up addicted to my iPad! Each night he seeks out my iPad before I've even stopped all the jobs. He settles in on the lounge and maintains possession of the iPad until lights out.

I'm actually excited that he's come so far since I first met him that he's comfortable with technology. The downside though is that I miss out on my favourite blogs! The days are so busy at the moment I can't catch up. At night I can't reclaim the iPad until Muddy Hubby goes to bed, and my eyes are already drooping. I miss my iPad and I miss my downtime with my favourite bloggers!

Maybe soon things will settle down and my senses will return to normal. For now I'm trying to find new ways to manage my sensory overload, exercise is helping a little. I'm thinking I may have to take up knitting or crocheting, but pretty sure that would just increase my stress, so I'm still searching for ideas, something to distract my over active brain, give me a chance to refocus, recharge and relax!

Has your partner taken over something that's yours? How did you reclaim it?
How do you manage sensory overload?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Freak Storm

Monday afternoon the weather turned wild, it was sunny and steamy one minute and the next a massive storm blew threw, wild winds, torrential rain, lots of thunder and lightning that would probably send an Epileptic into a seizure. Caught up in it all was my office.

The roof couldn't cope with such a massive downpour, so chose to spill the water into my ceiling, directly over my office and land smack bang on my desk. If it had my computer as a target it was spot on!

This is what the Wireless Keyboard resembled, however it wasn't waterproof like this one:


My laptop, and all it's plug in bits, is currently at the Computer Doctor to see what can be saved. My Lovely SLR Camera which I have only just learned to use properly is at the Camera Doctor to see if it can be saved, I had been uploading photos right before the storm.

Me, I feel a little lost. I never realised just how much I rely on the computer! I do all our business accounts, correspondence, everything on the computer. Not only that but I spend LOTS of time cruising blogs and updating myself on the world's happenings.

I am Thankful for my iPad to keep me in touch with the world and my favourite blogs, I'm also excited to have discovered some new Apps to help me with the banking and business stuff! There is always a bright side! I haven't yet worked out how to blog from my iPad, using photos etc (any tips welcome), but at least I don't feel fully cut off from the world.

At the end of the day though I haven't freaked out, I haven't screamed or cried (OK I did when I first saw the rain pouring in, but not after that). The world of blogging has shown me that there are some amazing people out there going through some pretty tough things, and sharing them with the world wide web. So at the end of the day I can repair or replace my computer and camera, they're so minor in the scheme of things. Family and Friendship and Good Health are the most important things. It could have been worse, the whole ceiling could have come down on My Muddy Puzzler who was sleeping in the room next door. We're all safe and sound and together. Thank You to the amazing bloggers out there for widening my world, and helping me not freak out.

Have you been through a Freak Storm? What damage was done at your house? If you had to rescue one thing in your house (other than your family) what would it be?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cookies and Cream Slice

Ok, so I'm now a fabulous cook/baker/chef, but that doesn't stop me from giving it a red hot go and having fun in the process. I will warn you that this is NOT a recipe for being healthy or trying to lose weight, this is one of pure indulgence! My Muddy Sister-in-law sent me this recipe a couple of years ago, I have a feeling it's from a Delicious cook book but I'm not 100% sure, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!

I used my lovely Coles Gift Card I won from the Philly Comp run by Julie at Mama of 2 Boys to buy the Philly Cream Cheese to go in this recipe. Now when I make it I'll always be thinking of Margaret Fulton and how jealous I am that Julie got to meet her, she is my idol!

You will need:
350g Oreo Biscuits with filling
150g Unsalted butter, melted
2tsp Powdered gelatine
400g Cream cheese
300ml Thickened cream
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
200g White Chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
Melted Dark Chocolate to Drizzle

This is how it goes together:
Line a 4cm deep, 18cm x 25cm lamington pan with baking paper.
Process 250g of the biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs(I use a stick blender or rolling pin). Then add the melted butter and process until all combined. Then press it all into the pan and put in the fridge to set for 30 mins.

Sprinkle gelatine over 1/4 cup cold water in a heatproof cup. Put the cup in a saucepan of simmering water and stir until dissolved.

Put the cream cheese, cream, vanilla extract and caster sugar in the mixmaster and beat until it's all smooth. Then you can stir in the gelatine and melted white chocolate.

Chop up the last 100g of Oreo biscuits and stir them through the cream cheese mixture. Once they're mixed through you can pour and spread the mixture over the chilled base and put itin the fridge to set overnight.

When you pull it out in the morning drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the top and return it to the fridge for 15 minutes until set. Then you're ready to slice it in the pan and serve it up!

Just so you know I used milk chocolate because I didn't have any dark chocolate and I have not perfected the art of 'drizzling' chocolate so mine doesn't look anywhere near as good as the picture but still tasted great!

Do you have a favourite recipe that's pure indulgence?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love An Excuse For A Party!

What better excuse for a party is there, than an impending wedding! I got myself all dressed up, waved goodbye to Muddy Hubby and the Muddy Kids and headed off on Saturday to a Kitchen Tea/Hens Party. I had thought it would be a nice reserved affair, it soon got interesting, competitive and lots of fun.

We got to design wedding dresses out of toilet paper, newspaper and garbage bags. Our design had a lovely sweetheart neckline with a long train and pink veil (which we won as a bonus) and of course won us first prize. I learnt some new games and that I'm not very creative when it comes to poetry! We strapped on tennis balls in panty hose and relay raced across the hall, again we were a winner! Can you tell I'm a teeny bit competitive?!?! Then we got offered lovely cake, which I just couldn't bring myself to eat. 

It was a day for female laughter, catching up with friends and even having a champagne or two. I haven't had a day like that in a while, I came home very relaxed (although that could have been the champagne) and reinvigorated. For me a good girly catch up will recharge my batteries. It was a day all about the bride to be (except I got some bonuses out of it), now I can't wait for the wedding to have even more fun!

That's our prize winning design in the middle!

Linking up for the first time with Sonia at Life, Love and Hiccups for Wonderful Weekends.

Did you enjoy a good catch up with the girls this weekend?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five Fun Facts - Tag You're It

The awesome Karla at Irommum Karla and the always Wonderful Julie at Mama of 2 Boys have awarded me the Liebster Award and tagged me to share Five fun facts about myself .

To be honest at first I didn't think I'd be able to come up with five facts to share, but when I started thinking I ended up with more than five and have narrowed it down to these quirky, little known, facts about me:

-  I can't stand Pumpkin and Sweet Potato, don't eat it, can't tolerate the smell, taste or texture of it. Every time I tell people this, they look at me like I have 3 heads because apparently pumpkin is everyone's favourite vegetable!

-  As a teenager I LOVED (and still do love) the original TV series of Beverly Hills 90210, but only up until Shannen Doherty left, after that it all went down hill. I own all the series with Shannen in them on DVD.

-  I am a teeth chatterer, when I'm cold my teeth start chattering and they don't stop until my whole body is warm. It drives Muddy Hubby nuts and he's always trying to put his fingers in to see if I'll chatter through them.

-  My grandfather was an orchid grower, he used to create new types of orchids and I have an orchid named after me, so do both my cousins. To this day I LOVE Orchids, can't get enough of their beautiful blooms.

-  I have absolutely no sense of balance, never have had. To prove the point, all in one day I fell off a motor scooter I was driving and I fell off a horse I was riding, both on Magnetic Island. When I called my Mum to tell her, she responded with 'Well, you never did have very good balance'.

The Liebster Award is designed to help drive traffic to blogs with fewer than 200 followers so, here I go tagging Five blogs I love to read, but please ladies absolutely no pressure to share Five Fun Facts if you don't want to! The choice is yours:

Peggy @ Cake, Crumbs and Beach Sand

Shar @ Mum on The Run

Jo @ Country Life Experiment

Mel @ Coal Valley View

Bee @ Fumbles and Bumbles

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Looking back on Lupins

In 2010 we grew a lovely Lupins Crop, we didn't get to strip it before the floods and storms laid it flat on the ground, but we did get to go out and take lots of photos in it. Fingers Crossed for a good crop this year and even better photos now I'm learning to use my camera properly!

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Big Tick!

So at the start of the year I put on my bucket list that I wanted to do a Digital SLR Photography Course. I had no idea how on earth I was going to accomplish this, as the closest course was 100km away and ran for 6 consecutive weekends. There was no way I could guarantee Muddy Hubby would be around to look after the kids, let alone that I'd have the energy to commute the 200km for six weekends in a row.

One weekend after a day of fencing we stopped in at the local pub (5km down the railway line) for an ice cream with the kids. A special treat for Muddy Preschooler's last day as a 'preschooler'. I noticed a sign on the back of the pub door with a beautiful photo as background. They were running a Digital SLR Photography course at my local pub! A one day course that covered everything I wanted, run by the same person who runs the ones 100km away - SCORE! I signed up Muddy Hubby for Daddy duties with 2 of the tribe and organised a friend to look after the other 2 kids, and signed myself up for the course.

On Saturday morning I was so excited, I'd charged my camera batteries, made sure I had my lenses ready, packed my notepad and pen, just like starting school! As usual it was a morning rush, and I made it to the pub with just seconds before start time.

I wanted to know how to make the photos that I take better, what makes a 'nice' photo into a 'great' photo? How do I give a photos like the one below the 'wow' factor?

I know I expected miracles in a one day course! But that's the kind of person I am, I expect the best and want to know it all at once. I didn't learn absolutely everything there is to know about SLR Cameras or everything there is to know about taking photos. I did however learn what a lot of the buttons and dials on my camera do, as well as what the numbers on the display all mean (a good start really). I learnt a bit about the composition of photos, taking portraits and landscapes, the photos I would take the most of. We are trying to talk the presenter into coming back one night and presenting on night photography, and maybe doing a refresher.

The most important thing I did learn though was the best way to work out which settings work best for your camera and what makes a good shot, is to get out there and take photos, thousands of photos. When you take a photo that has that 'wow' factor, right down the settings you had on your camera so you can remember them and use them again (I actually think my camera saves them with the photo, so I can go back and look), rather than forget what dial you changed or button you pressed like I usually do!

To help with this I'm aiming to take more photos EVERY day and I'm going to put them up on here so you can let me know what you think, what works, what doesn't, what you like about a photo or don't like, what it's missing!

How are you going with your Resolutions or Bucket Lists for 2012?
Have you ticked any off yet?
How do you take photos, do you snap away like me or sit waiting for that perfect sunset for 2 hours like our instructor?

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Working Bee

When I lived in Rental Houses I tried to take good care of things. I think it was the continual fear that if it wasn't in good condition when I moved out I'd lose the bond and be out of pocket a few hundred dollars, which when you first start work is a lot of money! So now I'm on the other side of the coin as a landlord and I'm learning not everyone thinks the same!

Take for instance my last tenants, she decided that she was allergic to grass, so rather than just avoid it, she sprayed out all the grass. I'm talking ALL, including the Nature Strip out the front. I think that they actually forgot that they didn't own the place, there were lots of little additions or removals we're discovering as we start to do some work on the house. Quirky things that make you wonder 'why would you put that there?'

We camped out in the house on the weekend, with all the Muddy Kids, they kept calling it our 'holiday house' (not my idea of a beachy holiday house at all). Muddy Bubby got the best sleep in the port-a-cot, the rest of us were on the floor or thin mattresses, but it was an adventure and we all came home smiling! We planted lots of grass and dug up lots of weeds and herbs that had overgrown the garden being left unloved for so long. We had a picnic rug on the floor and takeaway for dinner (my favourite part), we worked together to help try and restore some order to the garden.

The whole time though I had this feeling of disappointment, disappointment that what was once a lovely garden was not loved at all over the last few years. Muddy Hubby tells me I have to stop having such an emotional attachment to the house, that 'the next tenants will probably do the same, so don't worry about it'. For me though I'm disappointed that people haven't cared for something enough to give it a water or a weed, or worry about their bond. I guess I thought people would take pride in their home (even though they don't own it), to have a place that is nice and welcoming and that they can enjoy and entertain visitors and they can enjoy it too. I know I would have taken care of it as a tenant, so why couldn't they?

3 Cheeky Monkeys Swinging on the rail!

Happy to be outside

Overseeing the hard work

Unloading Grass and Dirt
Am I expecting too much?
Did you care for the garden when you rented?
Do you take pride in your rental place and call it home?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bootcamp Week 2

Oh My Goodness I am sore this week! Princess Pain worked us hard this week, I don't think there was one person in our group who was not red faced, lathered in sweat and feeling like they'd had a great workout! Because really when you have that red faced, sweaty look going on, you actually feel like you've worked hard and are getting somewhere. At least I do anyway!

This week's session was based around boxing with cardio activities thrown in between each set. My sparring partner was away so I got to have a catch up with another Mum, not that you really have time (or breath) for talking, but it was good to mix it up a bit.

My nemesis this week was not the 'Mountain Climber' but the 'Burpee'. After sets of boxing I just didn't have the oomph for full blown 'Burpees', but I did give it my best shot! The thing I'm loving about Bootcamp is that while she's tough she also knows your limitations and doesn't push you past them unless you want to push yourself. It's this that actually makes me want to push myself harder, stretch those limits and actually see what my body can do after all these years of inactivity.

Now to make sure I'm on track with my meal planning to try and marry the two together. The morning rush to the school bus and preschool and day care drop out has thrown me a bit out of whack, so I may just have to start my meal planning for a whole week rather than just the whole day, now that will be a challenge for me!

How's your exercise going? Do you have a Bootcamp Commando?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Muddy Organiser

OK, so I've been holding on to the 'Muddy Preschooler' tag, but really she's not a preschooler any more, she's a big school girl. My Muddy Preschooler is my first born, my first foray into parenthood and really my first experiment! Lots of things were trialed with her, because really with your first born it is trial and error! There are plenty of books, you can choose one book as your parenting bible, or you can take bits and pieces from here and there, but really what it comes back to at the end of the day is you and your first born learning together what it's all about.

My preschooler is a precious little thing, not just because she's the eldest, but personality wise she can be a bit precious! Things have to be done a certain way and that's how she operates, in an organised and thorough way. Meals are done in her particular order, she likes to sit in her same seat at the dinner table, she likes to know where we're going and she'll make sure her bag is packed before I even get a chance. Hence why I'm calling her my Muddy Organiser! She helps to keep me in line!

As the older sister she's gradually had less and less of mine and Muddy Hubby's time, and like all children has developed resilience and learned to adapt to the changing face of our family. With my Muddy Pixie she had a love hate relationship (still does) but for Muddy Puzzler and Muddy Bubby she has all the time in the world. She will sit down with Muddy Puzzler to do a Puzzle or play a game, she makes sure Muddy Bubby has a toy or moves him from room to room if she's moving so he's not on his own.

My Muddy Organiser is incredibly shy and at times very anxious, it is hard to get her to say 'Hello' when we're out or say 'Thank You' if someone gives her something. We have worked very hard at this and slowly she is getting better. She has made friends at school and on the school bus, and is getting better at acknowledging adults when they're talking to her.

My Muddy Organiser has a strong stubborn streak (I attribute this to my Dad, but I think she probably gets it from me) and a fiery temper. Before she started school I was tearing my hair out, we were coming to blows on a regular basis, I just couldn't keep her stimulated enough and the things she wanted to do (and you couldn't change her mind about them) just weren't possible with all the Muddy Tribe around. Now that she's started school there is almost an air of calm about her (except when she's tired) she has structure and order in her day at school, she knows where she's going and what she has to do and she's loving school so she's calmer at home.

My Muddy Organiser is somedays my saving grace and other days my nightmare when she refuses to change her mind on something. But as with all first borns she will always hold an extra special place in my heart for letting me learn on her how to be a parent!

Do you have a red head? Do they have a fiery temper?
What is your first born like?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - The LIfe of a Rainbow Cake

It took a few hours in the kitchen and a 5am start to get this baby together, but my Muddy Preschooler LOVED it. Thanks to Meredith at Count It All Joy for the recipe. The look on Muddy Preschooler's face made it all worth it.

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Down Memory Lane

When I turned 25 I decided that I was now a grown up and as such it was time for me to buy a house. I do these things sometimes, get a big idea in my head and it's really hard to change my mind. I rang my mum and dad and told them of my big idea. They were pretty supportive, given it came out of the blue and I think they were secretly hoping I'd move back to Sydney at some point. But I ploughed ahead and within a few months was the proud owner of my own beautiful little 3 bedroom house. I loved this house, it was very central, I could walk everywhere, including home from the pub, it was mine (and the bank's). I was living on my OWN for the very first time, with visits from Muddy Hubby, and life was great.

Then as life is want to do, things changed, I got married to Muddy Hubby, moved to the farm, had 4 babies in 4 and a half years and my little house continued on without me. Yes it had tenants in it, but none could love it as much as I did.

Due to some much needed bathroom renovations, I got to go back to my beloved house today (with Muddy Hubby and 3 of my Muddy Kids in tow). The second I walked in I remembered just why I love it so much (other than the fact it will always be remembered as where Muddy Hubby proposed). Don't get me wrong I absolutely adore living on the farm and only miss the close proximity to town, but for me that house was my independence. My first BIG thing for just me (and the bank of course).

As the house is currently unloved I took a bag of toys to entertain the Muddy Kids while I met with the builder and the real estate agent. I could tell they loved the house as much as me, they were exploring all the rooms and the yard. Houses in town with fences are a bit of a novelty for my Muddy Kids!

I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time in my beloved house, as we do some work on the bathroom. I'm looking forward to a new bathroom, to be able to make my mark on the house like the owners before me. I know that it's a LONG LONG time before we spend any money on farm houses, so I am secretly looking forward to picking basins and taps and tiles! Is that crazy or what!?!

Muddy Bubby kicking back on the floor

Muddy Pixie practicing writing like her big sister

My Muddy Puzzler running wild!

No cot or bed, hard life having to sleep on the floor!

After a few hours of waiting for the builder the house is strewn with toys!
Do you have a house that you love? One that's special to you?
Do you like renovating? Any tips for me?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bootcamp 101

This week will be my second Bootcamp session. I decided to sign up for Women's Bootcamp being run in town by a local Mum because I need a kickstart. Someone to tell me to get my butt into gear and get active. 'Princess Pain' as she calls her personal training service is definitely the one to do it, but in a nice way!

I didn't want something like this
And I especially didn't want 'glamorous mum' Bootcamp like this, because I am far, far, far from glamorous when exercising.
It was hard work, it got my heart going, pushed my limits and by the end I was busted, but you know what, it felt good! It felt good to actually be doing something, getting more active than just walking with the kids while they ride their bikes, or pottering in the garden. I signed up with my neighbour, and my Muddy sister-in-law has decided to give it a go too, so it's nice to have someone to be doing it with, keep me going and keep me honest! I also paid up front to make sure I go.

It had been a while (try 6.5 years!) since I've been to a gym or done any exercise other than farm work, walking or the cross trainer, but it bought back so many memories! I could remember how to do most of the circuit. The one that scared me the most was called 'Mountain Climber', not because I found it overly taxing, but because when you do it EVERY LITTLE bit of you wobbles, you feel EVERYTHING move and that was not fun!

My next step is to make sure that in between sessions I'm getting more active at home, even if it's just little bits here and there. 'Princess Pain' also has a facebook group for us where she posts hints and tips to keep us going, she's done a course in nutrition so we get some info on that too, so after one week I'm pretty happy, and actually looking forward to week two.

Have you done 'Bootcamp' before?
Was yours hardcore or more sedate?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

First This, Then That......

This week has passed in a kind of surreal haze. I seem to have been on a physical and emotional rollercoaster trying to keep up with it all and I have no doubt that when my head hits the pillow tonight it will be lights out for a solid sleep. I know that when you have 'firsts' it's always a big thing, but somehow this week has been action packed with them. We have ridden this roller coaster of firsts as a family, revelling in the little things and being able to share them together as a family.

This week has made me realize just how lucky we are, tired but lucky! I will post more details, especially on Bootcamp, later, but for now here's some snapshots of our week.

Muddy Pixie started Preschool on Muddy Preschooler's first sports day!

Walking into preschool for the first time!

Muddy Hubby and Muddy Preschooler shared a birthday, half a cake each.

Muddy Preschooler had her first girly sleepover with her best friend!

Muddy Preschooler won pass the parcel at a friend's birthday party

My first Bootcamp! I spent the whole time being cranky at myself for letting myself get this unfit!
Muddy Preschooler celebrated her fifth birthday with her first 'friends' (not my friends) birthday party
I made Rainbow Cake for the first time!