Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spending up Big

I am always in two minds when a big event comes up in town, do we go and come home exhausted, overtired and with considerably less money in my wallet. Or do we stay home and make our own fun?
Friday saw the big School Fete all organised. The Muddy Organiser was so very excited, she could barely contain herself. So I loaded up the rest of the Muddy Kids and headed straight to the school fete after school (it went from 3-7pm). I walked in and I was overwhelmed, there were so many stalls and activities and people! I had no idea where to start.
My problem too, was that I hadn't set a limit to spending or activities in my head. Having never been before I wasn't sure what to expect. It worked on a ticket system, you bought a heap of tickets and these were exchanged at most of the stalls. I quickly decided on a yes to face painting and fingernail painting, and yes to the jumping castle. The rest I was happy to avoid, but they suckered me in with the showbags and each of the Muddy Girls went home with one.
I have learned my lesson though, buy a set amount of tickets early and they can choose what to spend their tickets on, and once they're gone, they're gone and there's no more! For some reason I found it heaps easier to spend tickets than cash! Very Dangerous! We did all have a lovely time though (even me) and they have started talking about what they would like to do at next year's fete!
I am curious though - how do you manage kids and spending at big events?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Spot of Yabbying

In between Header stops and starts, when the Barley has been too green or all our storage is full up Muddy Hubby threw some Yabby Nets in one of our Dams. Lo and Behold we caught some yabbies! It's been a few years since I've been yabbying. The Muddy Kids and I helped our British worker (Hello Laura) pull them up and we managed to catch 23 big ones! We put the babies and the teenagers back in the Dam and bought the rest back to the house.

We found a Mummy Yabby who had hundreds of Eggs she was holding in her tail, so we put her back in the Dam to ensure we'll get some yabbies in the coming years! We have always cooked yabbies by just boiling them in water. This time though we tried something different, Thanks to my lovely neighbour.

We put them in a pot in the freezer to sedate them (there will be some escapees in the freezer, but they're easy to collect once sedated), we then pulled them out and chopped off their heads before we pulled off their their tails and claws. We rinsed the claws and tails, then popped them in a garlic, butter and parsley marinade before cooking them on the BBQ. YUMMO! They are just like crabs, so when they turn orange they're cooked. It was a heap of fun and something different for someone from the UK to experience.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And so it begins

The Canola has been windrowed, it is lying in rows in the paddocks, just waiting to be picked up with the Header and the Canola seed thrashed out and carted to the Grain Silos. Canola is windrowed 1-2 weeks before it is ripe and this allows the seed to finish ripening. Although opinion is starting to be divided as to whether it's just as worthwhile to harvest it straight from the plant or windrow it and then harvest it.

For us this year we went with windrowing. The Canola plants lay ready and waiting, the weather conditions need to be just right and then along comes the Header and collects them.

The Barley is getting riper by the second, it will be the next crop to harvest. I love a windy day when the heads all blow in unison in the wind, all in their neat rows, and the golden light of sunset on the golden heads of wheat and barley, never ceases to make me stop and admire it.

Yes, Harvest is only just beginning, and it's such a great time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Part and Parcel

Thursday night was the end of my working week and I was feeling exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I decided to take matters into my own hands and sent a call out to my close friends for them to join me the next afternoon for Friday afternoon drinks after the school bus pick up. It gave me an excuse to get in and clean my house, to catch up and recharge with my friends and have a few nice glasses of wine.

What I was not expecting was the 3 unwelcome visitors, that chose that inopportune time to come visiting. 3 brown snakes in varying size and shades of brown, but equally scary and all had me shaking in my boots, let alone worried for the safety of the 12 kids, 2 babies and 5 adults who'd responded to my drinks call! The Muddy Organiser had eagle eyes and spotted the first one, this one we dispatched out of the house yard with Oranges (they were the closest weapon), it took off for a pile of sticks, and even had a gnaw on one of the Oranges on the way.

Out next visitor was a little bit bigger, and came sliding across the veggie patch, under the swings and headed for the outdoor setting, we herded the kids inside and we sent this one on it's way with an empty wine bottle, some bricks and a vehicle attempt to scare it. Just as we thought the scare was over, the final visitor popped into the house yard, he must have been the Daddy one because he was the biggest, he got the message and headed off to find a hole to camp up in.

I am by no means a snake wrangler, in fact I am as far from it as you can possibly get. They strike fear into my heart and almost make me wet my pants. I am continually reminded though that they are part and parcel of living where we live.

I have accepted them as part and parcel, I can generally cope with one snake visiting the house yard at a time, but 3 in a very short space of time scares the crap out of me and makes me on edge. You need eagle eyes and the Muddy Kids aren't let out of my sight at the moment. Muddy Hubby has always said 'They're the most active in October' as they're coming out of hibernation and looking for some loving. I sure hope they're satisfied soon and don't feel the need to use my house yard as their meeting place for much longer!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clever Friends

I am constantly amazed when I discover the hidden talents of my friends. Me, I'm not a sewer (as much as I try), I'm not a painter (as much as I wanted to be as a kid). I dabble in the kitchen, but am not anything special and I potter in the garden and when things flower it's more through good luck than good management. I tap away on the computer and fiddle with photo edits but am by no means an expert or do I really have any idea about design. So I get so excited when I find out my friends are very clever at doing any of these tasks, as I hope to garner skills from them.
I am even more excited when they start up their own business with their skills. My best friend Laura has started up a fantastic site for Office Administration Professionals it's called Smarter Admins and you can find it here. I am constantly in awe of Laura, no matter what, each time I ring with a question she has the answer, or will find it out for me, she designs gorgeous websites and is pretty handy with photos and design (see my Header, that's her work).
Then there's my friend J, who has amazed me again by starting up her own business called Button Tots, you can find it here. J creates gorgeous shirts, singlets and onesies for kids and for the life of me I don't know where she finds the time with two busy boys! But find it she does and I think she is very clever and so had to share. I attempted to take a lovely family photo of the Muddy Kids in their Button Tots shirts, but that proved near impossible, so we ended up with individual shots!
Do your friends amaze you as much as mine do with their hidden, and never ending talents???

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grateful for my Home Town

Last weekend we headed back to my home town of Sydney to see my wonderful Mum and catch up with some wonderful friends. Each time I return 'home' I am reminded of how much I love my home town, how wonderful it was to grow up in such a diverse and culture rich city of Sydney. To grow up around the harbour and on the water with boats. To grow up going to shows in Sydney and watching musicals with amazement. To me I will always love Sydney and will never get tired of spending time there for visits.

I know that the farm is my home and I couldn't be happier but feel very lucky that I can visit my home town of Sydney, stay with my family and that my Muddy Kids get to experience Sydney in all it's glory. We take them to the park and on ferry rides, out on the harbour on the boat, we watch the fireworks or try new foods. My Dad (Hi Dad) will on rare occasions even make fresh sushi for us.

Often I think the most exciting part for the Muddy Kids is watching the garbage truck collect the garbage or counting how many buses go past. Or at the moment, going up and down stairs, with a two-storey house it's a novelty to 'play upstairs' then bring everything down and 'play downstairs'.

So this week after a visit back to my Home Town I am reminded how grateful I am to have grown up there and have the opportunity to share some of the same experiences with my Muddy Hubby and the Muddy Kids.


Linking up with Maxabella, over at Village Voices for 52 Weeks of Grateful. It really is a great place to stop by and check out some lovely blogs and read some beautiful gratefuls, make sure you take the time!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Family and Good Friends

On the weekend we packed up the family and headed to the Big Smoke to surprise my Mum (Hi Mum!) who was getting back from her trip overseas. I won't talk about the fact that the trip down took us an extra 400km because the Blue Mountains were closed due to snow, or the fact I broke Mum's washing Machine right when she needs it most to wash holiday clothes, or the fact I broke the bathroom door and we couldn't get in until Muddy Hubby fixed it.
I will however show you how much fun the Muddy Kids had which makes it all worth it. They were so excited to see their Nana and we had a very special catch up with a beautiful old friend and her gorgeous boys.
My friend J and I started Kindergarten together and now her little boy will start school exactly one year after my Muddy Organiser. I am always in awe of how blessed I am to share my parenting journey with good friends at the same time. Somehow it makes it go that much easier knowing your friends are riding the ups and downs at the same time.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Did I really sign up for this?

I will warn you in advance, this post is about Poo, read on if you like or walk away like I wished I could have at the time....

Most Days I love being a parent, no matter how hard the day is, I still feel so blessed to have 4 beautiful healthy children. The whinging the whining, the tantrums it's all part of parenting. The messy house, the crumbs everywhere, the toilet training, it's all good. Some days though there are things that make me stop and go 'Did I really sign up for this?'.

I had one of those moments this week. In the midst of 'Happy Hour' me trying to cook dinner the Muddy Girls packing up all their hair elastics, ribbons and clips that they had spread all over the bathroom, and Muddy Bubby very proudly tottering around the house on his feet, up and walking, I heard a sentence I don't want to hear again

Muddy Pixie: 'Mum, He's got Poo on his Cup',
Me: 'Sorry, say that again'

Out comes the Pixie with Muddy Bubby's drink cup in hand 'I said he got Poo on his cup'
I looked and yes sure enough it was half covered in Poo. As I was gagging I asked how it happened, 'He put it in the toilet' she said, 'but why has it got Poo' on it I asked. 'Because I didn't flush my poo'. There quite simply, she forgot to flush, something I thought I would have taught her as a parent and reinforced over and over again, but no, it is a parenting fail, one that won't be happening again, I have repeated the phrase over and over to them since it happened 'Remember to flush'.

We disinfected everyone and the toilet, we disinfected the cup, and ran it under hot, hot, water for ages, I then washed it, and then because I can never look at it in the same way again, I threw it out. Yes I felt wasteful, but at least I don't have to look at it and gag every time I see it.

And still I think 'Did I really sign up for this?' Do you have those moments too? Please tell me I'm not alone in wondering if this was part of the deal of parenting?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That's the way the Mulberry Crumbles

It's that time of year again in our house where the fingers are almost constantly stained purple, there are big purple grins on everyone's faces and if the kids disappear in the house yard there is one place to find them - at the Mulberry Tree. The Muddy Kids each have their own bucket and collect as many as they can, along with as many as they can squeeze in their mouth.
They got a good first haul on the weekend and after chopping off all the stems I made them into a Mulberry Crumble. It is quick, easy and yummy, all winning things in our house. Sadly we were out of ice cream so served it with a dollop of cream, it was still tasty but not quite the same.
To make the crumble it's easy:
I spread the Mulberries in the cake tin, you can sprinkle with Castor Sugar if you like.
For the Crumble Topping I used 1/2 Cup Plain Flour, 1/2 Cup Self-Raising Flour, 1 Cup Brown Sugar and between 150-200g Butter. I whizzed it altogether and then spread it on top.
 Normally I would crumble it altogether with my fingers, but I was in a hurry so the food processor on my stick blender was quicker.
Pop it in the oven for about 25-30 mins and serve hot with vanilla ice cream (or cream)