Monday, March 26, 2012

Crossing another off the list

I have this mad ambitious plan: to make, do, experience and try out 212 things this year - some as a family, some on my own, most with the kids, and a few random and slightly adventurous ones thrown in for good measure.

You know how much I love lists; but I have to admit, it wasn’t my idea at all. Our young cousin started it all when he began an ambitious bucket list; then Kim decided to make a list of things she wanted to do this year; and what else could I do? As if I’d ever pass up an opportunity to jump on the make-a-list bandwagon!
I’ve loved creating and crossing things off slowly as the weeks tumble on by; and it’s given us an opportunity to be very organised, sometimes quite spontaneous, and definitely more motivated to get more out of the time we spend together.
They’re not all complicated or expensive experiences – some are actually things that we should or would like to do, like give blood, or cull our un-played-with toys, or to bake delicious things for our neighbours.


#24: Read the Magic Pudding to Judah every night before bed
#29: Send postcards, drawings, and letters to the people we love
#58: Make a loaf of bread and eat it straight from the oven
#79: Host a dinner party
#91: Brew our own beer
#97: Make a time capsule and bury it in the garden
#107: Make a collection of things every day for a week, and display them somewhere in the house

Today, we crossed another one off the list – #41 - taking the kids to Yum Cha for lunch. We stuffed ourselves with delicious pork buns, dumplings, moreish rice, and warm custard-y tarts, and drove home lazy and full-bellied, smiling at how good it is to (sometimes) be so indulgent.

I do love this list; and I love that it’s making us slightly more adventurous as a family.

What new things have you tried so far this year?


Monday, March 19, 2012

When I grow up...

Delicious image from here.

While driving yesterday, my mama and I talked to Judah about growing up, and all the fun things he could do once he was big, like Daddy. Judah sat quietly, staring out the window at the passing traffic - I actually wasn’t even sure he was listening; but mum and I carried on anyway, talking about visiting strange lands, climbing mountains, riding bikes, driving cars, making lots of new friends, and maybe even learning how to fly.  

After a while, he piped up and said, ‘All I want to do when I grow up is make morning tea for everyone in the world.’
(He is three-and-a-half, mind you – I guess morning tea may be the most exciting meal of the day. And yes, Mum and I laughed at the sweetness of his chosen occupation)

That’s a big job, I told him, when we talked about it again later.
Yes, he said, but I can do it. I’m very clever.

Kids have a lovely self-assurance, don’t they?  
I love the way that my two look at a situation, and there’s no doubt in the world that they can’t tackle and overcome it. They tell me that they’re clever and smart often; they’re convinced that they’re beautiful and handsome, extremely funny, sweet, very good, and always helpful. I love their optimism; and at the right time, it’s contagious.

I wonder if I had the same confidence at their age. Did you?


Friday, March 16, 2012

My brand new obsession with River Cottage...

For the last week or so, I’ve been sewing into the night; but for a change, I’ve been having a wander online, instead of resorting to the rubbish that we generally watch on the tele. Most nights see me settling in with a big pile of hand sewing, a steaming mug of tea and some kind of sweet treat, and exploring ABC’s iview - and Oh my goodness me! – I’ve discovered the gorgeous, wholesome, homemade world of River Cottage.

Have you watched it before? If not, go for a look here – it was this breakfast episode that had me sewing too slowly for my own good, and salivating at how seriously good and nourishing something as simple as oats can be (and sure, I’ll admit it: I marched off to the shops the next day, stocked up, and I’ll be giving that muesli with orange juice and fresh sliced apple a go this week).

Are you a fan of River Cottage too?


Thursday, March 8, 2012


Four quite random, nature-inspired things:

  1. I found a small, injured rainbow lorikeet hiding under a bush in the garden. Its foot was mangled, and it was being chased by bearded dragons (and maybe our chickens). I tried to catch it to take it inside, but good gracious! They’re so feisty! And by the time I went inside to find an old cloth nappy to wrap it up in (and to stop it from biting me as I caught it), the little bird had crawled off into the bush. I’ve worried about it all week.
  2. Our gorgeous fresh-laid eggs are being stolen by crows. They sit like vultures, high in the trees above the coop, and wait for our little hens to leave their new egg unattended; then swoop in, (and believe it or not) to pick the eggs up and fly over the fence to relative safety. I’ve watched them peck a hole in the top of the egg to suck all the egg-y goodness from within; and once they’re done, the dragons amble in to take care of the shell. This week has seen me hover every time one of our hens is laying, which sometimes puts them off. I’ve also been practicing my scare!-protect!-save! mode, by running outside, arms a-flailing, shouting at the rush of black wings as they laugh into the sky.
  3. I’m feeling the need for a large dose of motivation to inspire me back into the garden. I had the grandest plan to don large straw hats and gardening gloves, and spend late afternoons pottering and planting and pulling and preparing. The plan also included the creation of the most amazing kitchen garden – a natural delight that nourished us and made us feel all at one with the earth. So far, I’ve made a whole heap of origami seed pots, planted tiny lettuce, tomato and cucumber seeds, watered a few times, and then promptly abandoned about our fledgling crop. And now, as the days fly by, I watch as the weeds strangle the established plants that are digging their heels in and refusing to die. So, in a show of defiance to my sad case of laziness, I bought new gloves. And with pen in hand this afternoon, I’m sketching out a new plan for our kitchen garden and starting again.
  4. We have the strangest, most prehistoric plant in our garden (I have no idea what it is), that has been growing the tallest ‘shoot’ (for want of a better word) from its centre. Judah has taken to calling the plant his ‘beanstalk’ because when you stand beneath it, the shoot appears to reach all the way to the clouds – it really is quite remarkable. This week, it began to bloom: delicate, orchid-like flowers in pale lemon yellow; and as they seem to flower only for a day before dropping, our pathway is just filled with them. It’s such a stark contrast to the severity of the plant – the sharp lines and striking leaves - and it has seen me stop a few times this week to gaze up and admire its natural contrast.

Do you have four things to share too?


Thursday, March 1, 2012


So, I had a moment during the week with Lyra that made me stop and think about the things we remember from childhood, the comfort of safe, sweet memories, and how they replicate from generation to generation.

I was dressing to go out when little Lyra-Lou, fresh from a bath, wet hair in ringlets and in a bright purple singlet, came marching into the bedroom to see what I was doing. She watched for a while in silence and then began asking questions, wanting to join in too. I put cream on her small chubby cheeks, lip gloss on her pouted lips, and brushed her hair; she looked at herself and at me with a lovely sense of wonder, before declaring that we were both very pretty, and skipping out of the room to show her Daddy.

I remember doing the same thing as a girl – watching my mother dress, carefully applying her makeup. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world; I expect most little girls feel the same way. And she would include me in her beauty routines in the same way – cream on my cheeks, brushing my long hair, maybe just the smallest touch of lipstick. And I can see the memory playing before me, and feel that same delight, thinking that she had magically transferred some of her loveliness to me.

Have you ever had a moment like that with your child – where a memory from your youth is played over?


Ps. I think this is my most favourite photo of Lou, in her beloved Wimcee headdress. When I took it, she was telling me about where things come from – juice comes from bees, yoghurt comes from bees, milk comes from a moo, and apples are from the fridge. Bless.