Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I Love Ironing!

Oh yes I do.  Honestly.  It's the putting all the clothes away that makes me want to run away to Europe.
And watching movies set in Europe.  That makes me want to run away to Europe too. 
One day I just might, you know.  I'll take my man and our babies with me too.  I like them.

This is me at Youth Camp, 2011.  Best weekend ever!  On this particular morning, we rolled out of bed at 6am to climb a hill and watch the sun rise while we took communion together. 
I have about 5 layers of clothing on in this picture, and I was still defrosting. 
My hair is pretty huge.  I used to have shiny, straight hair.  Not dead straight, but more straight than it is now.  It used to just curl by my temples.  I had to blow-dry it upside down to get volume into it.  Envy for my beautiful cousin, Nikki, and her mass of black curls, was eating me up (ok not really, but I always loved her hair).  She can tie it in a knot or stick a pencil through it, and it stays put.
After my first baby, I got a crinkly patch on one side... by the fourth baby... let's just say I blow-dried my hair once and our boarder yelled in fright. I looked like a lion.
These days, I go to bed with my hair wet and full of straightening serum, and wake up with a full head of curls.  I can tie it in a knot and it stays put, where it used to slide apart the minute I let go.  I'm pretty sure I could stick a pencil in it, after a few days without washing it.  I'm just too busy trying to calm it all down to remember the pencil trick.  And at 6am... let's just say I didn't care about my hair.
What's all that got to do with ironing?  Absolutely nothing.  I'm sorry.  But if you want me to do your ironing, you'll have to pay the price.  Hugs and cups of tea.  That's what I'm all about.
And the sign I'm holding up?  That's me... my identity statement.  It sure doesn't say everything about me, but it does sum up something of what motivates me and keeps me going.  Somewhere out there is a kid who needs a hug from me today, a smile, encouragement.  They need me to remember their name, and if they have an exam this week, or they're sitting their driver's license.  They need me to notice when things aren't going too well at home, and they need me to listen to their troubles.  Most of all, I have discovered that they need me to say the "boring" thing, the thing their Mum would say if they would listen to her.  They need to hear what the Word of God says about their situation, and they need to be told when they are off track. 
My 'babies' are the four I birthed and parent every moment of the day.  My 'kids' are the ones I adopt from all over, they are the kids I minister to at Youth Camp and Summer Impact.  Whenever I see them, I want them to know that God loves them and He has a plan for their life.  And that I love them, and I believe in them.  They can do great things, if they partner with God. 
I adore my kids, they are the best! 

Monday, 21 March 2011

When Everything Goes out the Window

Confession time - I forgot my mother's birthday last week. 
This is bad.  Very bad.  And she still hasn't had her Christmas present.  To be fair, I did send her a Christmas present, but it was a recipe book she'd already bought herself, so she sent it back so I could have it.  She's like that, my Mum - extremely generous.  She's also very cute, and in a band.  Yes, a band.  Here's a photo of her...

When she's singing in her band, she wears a platinum wig and knee-high boots.  I suppose that's what you're supposed to do when you're in a 60's covers band.
Tomorrow, I'll post some pictures so you can see what I was doing instead of calling my lovely Mum for her birthday... not making excuses, but I wasn't sitting around doing nothing, I promise!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Taking One for the Team

What to do when the bedroom door is locked?  First, choose your skinniest child.  It helps if they are over 5 and fairly agile.  Next, have your husband insert child through the bathroom window.  Feet first is best.

Do you like my red socks?  They're from Country Road, they were given to me for the kids, but they fit my child-size feet.  Happy day.  They almost reach my knees and I love seeing them peeking out the top of my boots.  Check out that little pink butt.  There's not much to her, but she's crazy strong.  Monkey bars are her thing.  I can't support my own body weight long enough to get from one to the other!
This is why they need to be over 5 to complete such a critical mission.  Littlies tend to play with your jewellery box instead of getting on with the business of unlocking the door!

See that fuzzy spot at the lower left of the photo?  It was driving me mad, seeing that all the time.  Then my friend Carien mentioned it looked like something was wrong with my lens.  So I had a little look at my lens.  Duh.  There was a fingerprint.  A huge fingerprint.  Clear enough for any CSI to identify the perpetrator of such a heinous grime crime.  Problem solved.  Thanks Carien!

What's for dinner?

It's a really good question, isn't it... what's for dinner?  We went to the supermarket today.  Me and my boy.  I love my days at home with him, he's cute and funny, and we just potter about together. 
At the supermarket, he hopped into one of the boxes behind the checkout and began "driving" it.  When we got home, he did the same...

One day I will post a picture which will reveal the true source of his blonde hair... meanwhile, I'm happy to keep you hanging!
We are going away this weekend, and the kids are staying with friends.  Which meant our Pak n Save visit was just to top up on a few things and get something to cook for dinner.  We found cannellini beans (my favourite) 4 cans for $3.  A bargain!  We also found tomatoes 5 cans for $4.  So happy...
I really enjoy making dinner out of whatever I can find in the fridge.  I added to this some chicken and the 3 remaining veges in our fridge (there's nothing worse than coming home to rotting produce) and this was the result...

Onions, garlic, a tiny bit of minced chilli, paprika, chicken, carrot (1), zucchini (2).
2 cans of cannellini beans, 3 cans of tomatoes.

A huge dollop of tomato paste.  Let it meld into glory.
I didn't photograph the bit where I threw the cooked pasta into a baking dish and stirred this sassy little mixture through it.  But you get the idea.  Top with grated cheese, now, that's the best part!
Ok, I have to confess something - even better than eating that cheesy crust is the knowledge that this meal cost $12 (including chicken).  I got enough out of it to feed us tonight and another night (it's in the freezer) and dinner for our friends and the kiddos tomorrow night.  It's so easy to eat all your money.  I like being able to do other things with it. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Run? What run? I'm sorry miss, a spider ate my homework!

Ok, so I didn't go running this morning. 
I ended up at the A&E last night until 1am, getting my finger looked at.  On Saturday, I noticed a small round cut on my finger.  On Sunday it had a bright red blood-blister-ish looking thing around it.  By the time I banged it on a shelf at 10 last night, it was twice the size. 
So off I trotted to the doctor, who took one look and asked, "so, did you see the spider when it bit you?". 
Spider?  Here I was, terrified of necrotising fasciitis (did I spell that right?) and it was just a silly spider bite.
Anyway, it looks extremely gross, so I'm not taking a photo.  You'll just have to use your imagination.  It's over a centimetre in diameter. 
I think the spider bit me when I was gardening without gloves (and yes, I thought at the time that I would regret it).  What on earth would induce me to garden?  Jesus.  Only Jesus.  Here's the link for the reason why I was weeding on a sunny Saturday...http://vimeo.com/20717506
All that to say... I didn't run.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Weekend Baking

Oh dear.  Internet giving me grief.  Already typed this entire post, only to lose it when uploading the photo.  Cyber-death. 
Anyway, I made this yesterday.  I made the grave error of telling my husband the name of the cake, which sent him into hysterics.  I mean, let's face it people.  "Grandma Iny's Prune Cake" absolutely screams "retirement home".  DO NOT LET THE NAME PUT YOU OFF.  It's a great cake.  And it has toffee icing.  Which I over-boiled slightly, but hey.  It was worth it. 
And on that note, I am going running tomorrow morning.  Yes I am.  Now I've told y'all, I can't wimp out, can I?

She ate all her brocolli... and all her little brother's brocolli.  So she gets some prune cake.  Now that's not something I'll want to admit to at her 21st!!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Robot Wallet Tutorial

Hey friends!  Thought I'd surprise y'all with a little tutorial. 
Disclaimer: I am not a very professional sewer, more a "whipper upper".  Perfect is not my middle name.  Neither is Tallulah.  Just so ya know.

This is the front pocket of my son's school shorts - they were getting a bit thin in the backside, so I cut all the pockets off - thought they might come in handy!  I decided to make him a wallet, just in case he suddenly springs into a fit of chore-completion.  I'm prepared.  Any time, son...

I found some nice pale blue corduroy for the backing.  Here's the tutorial bit:
Cut backing to size.  Cause ya couldn't figure that out on your own!  Don't worry, it gets better.
At this stage, it's very important not to spill your Earl Grey tea. 

If you did spill your tea, or like me, just plain finished it, go make another.  While the jug's boiling, whip out your handy-dandy bar of soap, and mark your preferred width of wallet - most pockets are too wide.  So you just cut that bit off.

 Decorate the front of your wallet.  Boys can be tricky, but we like robots.  I thought about arms & legs, and realised that it could be the very last thing I make if I attempted them.  So - this robot has button wheels.  Beware - most children will ask "where are his arms?".  Prepare answer while completing robot.

Then fold your wallet up so you can make sure Mr Robot's in the correct place.  This is a very important step - don't skip it!!  Press your fabric before fixing Mr Robot in place. 


I drew his face on with permanent marker.  I was going to glue him down, in fact, I did glue him down.  Then I remembered the monsters and teapots incident, and stitched him on too.  It really didn't take that long, and alleviates future frustration. 

Now with right sides together, sew around your wallet.  Leave a generous gap for turning your wallet right-side-out, especially if you're using denim - it's really thick. 

Take a break while you make a very nice ice-cream sandwich, for a child who ate two dinners and was still hungry.  Ballet and tennis today - makes a girl peckish!  She has a wiggly tooth, can you tell?

While you're making dessert, turn right-side out, trim seam allowance and snip corners.  Then stitch closed.

Stitch on some snaps.

Make another ice-cream sandwich - this little shooga boog got the ballet trophy today.  The boys were too busy to eat dinner tonight.  And I was too busy to make any more ice-cream sandwiches.

And voila!  Here is our cute robot wallet!  He may not have arms, but he doesn't need them.  He has LASERS. 

Monday, 7 March 2011

At Last!

Here we go... the big reveal - from "coffin" to Coffee...

Yep, the drawer inserts are cut-up coffee sacks.  Cool aye?
I LOVE this look - it's so fresh yet rustic and loved-looking at the same time.  Not bad for a cheap coffee table - really, the only reason we bought it was for the handy drawers.  Storage.  I love storage.  And now, I have classy storage - so happy. 
My camera is being very blurry right now - I'm working on it.  There's a 98 3/4% chance it's operator error.

People vs Stuff

My favourite thing today was that I gave some stuff away - for the second time in two days.  I gave it to people who really needed it.  And it didn't cost me anything, in fact, I found it rather freeing!

I spent the end of last week, and a good portion of the weekend, clearing out my kid's toys.  I only got through the boy's toys.  It was a very educational experience - would you like to know what I learned?
1. We have too much stuff.
2. We don't need so much stuff.
3. Most of that stuff is pointless.

My aim was to get rid of 50% of the boy's toys.  I've kept the lego, the train set, and Mr Potato Head.  Because I love him.  That's why. 

We have a birthday party coming up in a few weeks - Miss 5 will become Miss 6 - uh huh.  This year, our kid's parties are all about keeping it simple, about valuing people more than things, and celebrating the birth of a person who is so precious to our family.
That's it.  We'll be asking our guests not to bring gifts.  Our children have everything they need.

It's a u-turn for us, I have to admit.  I've always been a fan of big, all-inclusive parties.  I like my kids to enjoy their birthdays.  And to be very truthful, the gifts made me feel appreciated for all my hard work.  Not that the gifts were for me.  But that was what I felt.

Over the summer, my perspective has gradually changed.  I now look at all our stuff, and I realise just how obscene it is.  That we have a beautiful home, overflowing, bursting at the seams.  It's always a mess, because our stuff requires so much management.  I don't have time to be the "Chief of Stuff".  I have more important things to do. 

Girls room after 24 hours of me not tidying it!
 Not only that, but every time I feel the need to get out of the house, I hit the mall.  It's not that I buy expensive things, but all those little "specials" add up very quickly.  Our money escapes through my hands like water.  It's unintentional, and wasteful.
I want to be rich towards God.  I want to never come before Him empty-handed.  Yet so often, we are empty-handed because we handed over our money at the mall, the cafe, the takeaways.  We have so much, while in other nations, many have so little. 

I end this post with a not-great photo - because I left it about 4 hours late for the light... but check out these bad boys.  I really like them.  Any time I wear them, people compliment me.  I bought them on sale. 

With the grocery money. 

When I brought them home, Mr Leota asked if we could eat them.
They are the perfect example of superflous stuff.  Since I bought them a year ago, I've only worn them 5 times.

See you tomorrow xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Here we are!

 Us and our cheesey grins at a lovely barbecue for our lovely friends, who up and moved to Australia this week (sniff).
Mr Leota is holding our 3 year old, we only stopped calling him "The Baby" over Christmastime.  I am holding our 5 year old - I'm the one with my sunglasses still on my head.  In the dark.  I've been known to leave them up there until 11 at night. Sad but true!  Mr 9 year-old is showing off his humungous teeth - they look too big for him, he's so cute... and Miss 7 is doing a nice little model pose but unfortunately in this shot, not looking at the camera.  But she's pretty cute too!
I permit myself some bias, I am, after all, their mother...

Coffee Table

Hi friends!

Here are some photos of our coffee table... this is what it looked like (minus the dings and scratches) when we bought it 6 years ago.  Mr Leota never liked it.  He called it the coffin table and told me I must never put flowers on it.  I complied. 
Ok, in all truth, this is what it looked like after I'd been sanding for 3 hours... please excuse my messy living room.  You'll observe the sander case in front of the sofa.  After endless hours of sanding by hand, my lovely friend Cherie came to my rescue with an electric sander.  Then Mike the builder came to my rescue by sanding the top for me.  He can hold the sander with one hand - I cannot.
This is it once the sanding was done...

Once I'd spent the best part of 2 days sanding it, I almost wanted to hiff it out the picture window.  But self-control prevailed!  The next step was much more fun...

A coat of very watered-down acrylic house paint... only used one test pot for the whole table.  It soaked in really nicely, so the woodgrain still showed through.  Mr Leota wanted me to leave it like that, but I couldn't help myself, I HAD to dry-brush it white.  You can see, in the above photo, I had already started.  I have no photos of it just grey.  Impatience - that's all I can put it down to.

Painting finished... I used a water-based enamel for the white paint. 
a) because I had it
b) our coffee table takes some hard knocks

Then I finished off with a light sand...

You'll have to wait for the big reveal... I haven't taken the finished pictures yet.  And yes, I finished it in January!  Bet you can't wait to see what I did to those drawer fronts...

Today was just a day...

... like any other.  Mr Leota woke me up with "Babe, you've gotta get up".  My response was "nah, you get up".  And so the day began. 
(you should note here, I did get up!)
So why, suddenly, did I click that little orange button and start my own blog?  I have no idea why suddenly today was the day.  I've been meaning to do it for so long.  I really wanted to wait until I had some actual content to post.  But here I am, driveling on into cyberspace.
I am officially a blogger.  Now to work out how to post my photos...