Saturday, December 25, 2010

10 ways we're celebrating christmas

Santa came last night. (Phew, just in time too!) And what a picture to be behold. Lots of presents under the Christmas tree. The lights flashing, and the baubles glistening in the light of the candles.

I would like to wish you all the merriest of Christmases this year for you and your family. I pray that your day isn't too busy, isn't too crazy, and a little Christmas magic finds you and your loved ones.

Here's my final list for this month, as we switch off the internet for a few days... tens ways we're celebrating Christmas:

  1. A Christmas DVD.
  2. Pancakes with berries and banana, yoghurt and maple syrup.
  3. Talking to our daughters (London and Northern Territory), my brothers and the kids' cousins (USA), and grandparents (Adelaide & Hobart) on Skype.
  4. Opening presents.
  5. A picnic lunch with family @ Schwartz Cottage.
  6. A Christmas sleep.
  7. Dinner with family.
  8. Opening more presents.
  9. Some Christmas Carols.
  10. More pudding.

See you in the new year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Welcome to the home of awards over here at a day in the life of us. Can you believe I've gotten another award? (And can you tell that I was a little excited to receive it?) It even has my name on it. (Albeit, spelt incorrectly - but hey - you can't have everything...) It's so heavy it could kill someone, bronze and really, really shiny. It even has wings.

It's not quite an Oscar (although it's just as majestic). And it's called a Telly.

Have I lost you? Well, here's a short version catch up...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


 This is me: *Hi!* What on earth would you find interesting...?
  1. I can't sew. When we first starting going out, my husband had never met a woman who didn't own a sewing machine. I still don't. But how I admire those who do/can sew.
  2. I'm from South Australia. Born in Port Lincoln, actually. Then raised by dingoes in the Northern Territory. Okay, that bit isn't true, but I did live in Alice Springs and Darwin for all of my childhood. And I have the best memories there.
  3. I have a problem with Big Australian Icons. You know... The Big Apple, The Big Banana, The Big Lobster, The Big Orange, The Big Pineapple, The Big Merino. You know. Stupid, man made concrete/foam things. They're just scary. And it doesn't make me want to visit them. At all.
  4. I suffer from OCD. Just a tad. My husband is always complaining because I'm putting things away - while he's still using them.
  5. I think I also have Attention Deficit Disorder. I can't sit and just watch a movie or just do one thing at a time. Either that, or I'm the Queen of Multitasking (hmm, perhaps I should have used this as point 4's title, much more fancy). I have to be doing, at the same time: a) folding washing, b) reading a book c) blogging d) sending messages on my phone e) crafts with my kids f) cooking something.
  6. A sense of achievement keeps me going. While this could be closely associated to the last point, my husband is telling me (at this moment!) that my sense of achievement is a good thing. (Yes, I'm asking for help. This is really, really hard!)
  7. I don't like coffee. Yet, I own a coffee machine, say I'm going out for 'coffee', meet friends for 'coffee'. Yet never, ever have coffee. Soy Chai Latte is my thing. Yummy.

Have a great evening, and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 20, 2010

10 ways to find (& keep) the Christmas Spirit until Christmas day

  1. Early Decorations. Put up the Christmas tree early. That way when you're too busy to enjoy it in December, you can remember how nice it was to stare at the tree back in November.
  2. Advent Calendar. Give your kids a chance to count down to Christmas. Or you could be like me and leave it unhung on top of the piano to keep them guessing.
  3. Be healthy. Nothing worse than celebrating Christmas all run down and sick. And by doing less, it means you should have time to eat and rest properly to truly enjoy this wonderful time.
  4. Plan ahead. Start your Christmas shopping early. I'm thinking at the mid-year sales. And if you make your own Christmas cards, you should have started them in September. A big part of enjoying Christmas is knowing you've spent the time to prepare for it and are ready when it comes.
  5. Christmas music. As much as it might seem annoying, Christmas music reminds you that it's not too far away. It's relaxing in some crazy way, and all those Carols and corny kids' songs can make you smile again.
  6. Revisit the tree. When life gets crazy, sit at those hypnotic lights and just be. Try not to think of all the things you haven't done.
  7. Cookie Swap. Not that I benefitted from the one held yesterday (damn you, tonsilitis), but a friend organised eight of her friends to bake four dozen biscuits, and then come to her place for a wonderful cookie swap. Now, everyone has a lovely selection of cookies over the visiting/christmas party/crazy season. Brilliant. Just brilliant.
  8. Plan right. Never, ever plan to hold your largest five day work function three days after Christmas and over the New Year. Trust me, this can ruin anyone's Christmas experience.
  9. Say 'no' and do less. That way you have more time to get excited. Isn't Christmas busy enough? Do as I say, not as I do.
  10. Learn from this year's mistakes. If possible, remember how you feel right now and avoid this feeling at all costs next year. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

10 tips to survive sick kids (when you're sick too)

When kids are sick, it's hard. But when you're sick too, it's so much more difficult. The days are long, and the imagination goes into overdrive to make the day as pleasant as possible. We all know that mums who are sick don't get a day off, and with a husband away and two kids with tonsilitis (and Mummy too), this weekend I went into survival mode:
  1. Change your expectations immediately. When you and the kids are sick, nothing will go according to plan. Minimise housework for the next few days. High priority is now placed on caring for you and your kidlets.
  2. Cancel your plans. If you had plans in the next few days, it's best to cancel them. Those outings can wait. You don't want to share this type of love anyway. Trying to get healthy kids out of the house is hard enough, let alone being sick and miserable (that's you and them).
  3. Assess the bug. If you think a doctor's appointment is necessary, call now. I called my doctor's surgery at 8:30am on Saturday, and couldn't get in until 7:30pm. Good thing I called straight away. I might have completely missed out.
  4. Medicate. Make your child as comfortable as possible. Whatever it takes. Panadol, Honey & Lemon, a herbal mix... and that includes you too.
  5. Prepare some food. If you're sick, the last thing you want to do is more than what is absolutely necessary. But making a lunch box or a fruit platter for the kids (and you) left where all can access is the best idea ever. When the kids are hungry, they can snack on carrot sticks, kiwi fruit and dry biscuits without needing you to prepare anything for them. And if everyone's sick, then healthy and light foods work the best. And you can all graze all day.
  6. Think quiet toys. This is the time to pull out anything you can sit and do with the kids. Think cards, Thomas The Tank Engine set, books, DVDs. Warm blankets on the lounge. The lot.
  7. Rest. This is the time to coordinate everyone's sleep. And sleeping is necessary. For all of you.
  8. Get out of your jammies... eventually. As nice as it is to sloth it in your jammies until 3pm, its nice to have a shower and wash your hair. And it makes you feel better. (Even if you put in a fresh pair of pyjamas on afterwards.)
  9. Keep a routine. It's hard enough to keep a routine when your fit and healthy, let alone sick and tired. But the kids (and you) need it more than ever.
  10. Call in the Calvary. If you can't do it on your own, seek support. You're sick and so are your kids. If family, friends or neighbours can help you, then don't hesitate to ask or accept offers of help.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

10 delicious facts about food club

(Back L-R) Melissa, Julie, Rebecca, Kym
(Front L-R) Kate, Rachael, Yvette, Melanie

Creamy potato skins by Kate
Pastries by Yvette
Parmesan toasts by Rebecca
Avocado & cherry tomato salsa wonton cases by Rachael
little salmon bilinis by Melanie
Middle eastern balls by Melissa
Garlic dip & turkish bread by Julie
Cheese platter by Yvette
Mango & Sesame salad by me
And yet more...
I loved the centrepiece a lot!
And the silver trees...
Mulled wine by Rebecca
Mini lemon meringues with raspbery swirls by Melissa
Lemon cheesecakes by Yvette
Little chocky mousses by Melanie
Non-alcoholic punch by Julie
Lemon honey cream puddings with berries by me
Cookbook Kris Kringle
If you've been popping by a day in the life of us for a while, you may have heard from time to time all about Food Club. Yes, you read right. Not Book Club, Food Club.

A year ago, some friends brought up the subject. They pondered on a club that would present the wonderfulness of something close to all our hearts: good food. And so a group of friends, and friends of friends joined

And Food Club was born. Here are ten delicious facts about food club:
  1. I've met the most amazing and interesting new people since joining food club.
  2. There are people out there who love food more than me.
  3. I've tasted new things I've never tasted before.
  4. I now understand what the fuss is all about with macaroons. Oh. My. Gosh.
  5. No matter how stressed I am, when I arrive at Food Club, there's always a relaxed vibe. And great conversation.
  6. We will never run out of food themes.
  7. Once a month doesn't come around quickly enough.
  8. We are all in Food Club for different reasons: from learning more to just the love of cooking. That aside, we all get along fabulously.
  9. There are usually the most thoughtful gifts (our year's worth of recipes bound in a cute little folder, thanks to Mel, Christmas fudges thanks to Yvette, mini puddings thanks to Kate). And let's not forget our Kris Kringle Recipe Book Gifts...
  10. There will be at least 10 more reasons to love Food Club next year... Cheers!

this saturday i'm grateful for... time, a gift to the community

Saturdays are the days where our household stops. No TV, no hyper stimulation. Time to spend time together and just be. And because it's our day of rest, there's time to reflect on the six past days and remember all the things I'm grateful for...
  1. A gift to the community. This week was full of community events - our community Carols by Candlelight, and this amazing nativity walk-through called Road to Bethlehem. (It's awesome and if you've never been, and you live in Melbourne you need to take your kids and go.) Anyway, I was privileged to be part of both programs, and to see the effort that goes into these sort of productions is amazing. And even though it makes me sick to my stomach presenting to crowds of people, there are great rewards, like seeing the warm fuzzies for the 15,000 plus people that go through every year. No money spent, just time. My gift to the community.
  2. Home. Being out four nights this week as well as during the day has it's knockbacks. Our home has been replaced (once again) by the House of Feral. Even so, it's my comfort to be here with my family at the end of the busy days (and nights).
  3. Food Club. If you know anything about me, you need to know this: I love food. In fact, I love it so much I'm in a food club (a separate post coming up on this next). Yes, you heard right. Not book club, food club. And after a Christmas meal do die for last night, I'm almost happy not to have another one on Christmas Day. It will stay in my memory - tastebuds and hips - for a while yet.
Happy Grateful Day.

This Saturday I'm Grateful For... is inspired by Maxabella Loves... Join in. Maxabella would want me to invite you. It's good for the soul to be grateful.

Friday, December 17, 2010

10 mini meals in one day. that never should have been eaten.

  1. In the morning: muesli with soy milk. In a tupperware container eaten with a plastic spoon. Mushy, warm, and eaten in the car on the way to work.
  2. Mid morning: a Picnic chocolate bar (snack size of course).
  3. Lunch: last night's spaghetti bolognese. Reheated. Without cheese. Extra salt.
  4. Mid afternoon: another Picnic chocolate bar (thank goodness they're snack size).
  5. Late afternoon: two Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Have you had these? OMGosh, so good.
  6. Late afternoon: yet another Picnic chocolate bar (this has to be my limit as I've now eaten more than a normal size bar).
  7. Late afternoon: four glasses of water (because I realised I had a headache and hadn't drunk anything all day. Of course the headache is from no water. And definitely not because I've eaten so much chocolate).
  8. Late afternoon: two date scones loaded with butter and a hot chocolate (because I'm not sure if there will be time for dinner). And well, they are delicious and provided by the ever wonderful executive assistant for the Hard Working (ie. people like me).
  9. Late evening: a cheese and cauliflour pie. Eaten between Road to Bethlehem groups (which meant it took an hour to eat).
  10. Late evening: a watered down milo. Because my throat is sore, I'm tired and cold. (Must be as a result of the balanced diet today.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


  1. Gifts purchased: 3
  2. Gifts left to purchase: 31
  3. Christmas cards received: 17
  4. Christmas cards made/completed/sent: 0
  5. Lines memorised for community program Road to Bethlehem: 57
  6. Number of times 57 lines will be repeated over a two night period: 64
  7. Nights out this week: 5
  8. Days free before Christmas day to finish Christmas shopping: 1
  9. Project deadlines due before Christmas Day: 2
  10. Average hours of sleep this week: 6

Sunday, December 12, 2010

10 reasons why having a haircut is the best

  1. Going to the hairdressers is like a mini holiday.
  2. When I go with no kids, I get to browse through a couple of gossip magazines and I don't have to share my drink and biscuits with anyone.
  3. I always ask for a wash, even if I have clean hair. That's so I can have a head massage. OMG, that head massage...
  4. My hairdresser Fleur and I talk about everything: from weight issues, lingerie, being step mums, her wild birthday parties and our obsessive compulsive disorders.
  5. Every visit, she tells me how much she loves me.
  6. Every visit, I tell her how we must have been kindred spirits in a former life.
  7. Even though I ask regularly, she won't let me colour my hair. Apparently it's a good colour.
  8. She styles my hair much funkier and cooler than I can.
  9. I never make hair requests. Fleur cuts my hair exactly how she wants.
  10. Because I trust her totally. And she never lets me down.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

fancy pants

It's another week and another excuse to get out of my daggy clothes, do my hair and put on make up. It's doesn't happen much, but this week I almost feel like I deserve to get a little fancy pants. After all the painting, renovating and cleaning we've been doing, it's nice to dress up.

So, if you want to join in, I'd love you to. If your camera shy, just snap your kids, your husband or your best friend (or all three). Just become a lovely follower of A Day of The Life of Us and click on the below linky.

See you in your fancy pants!

Grab my button:

a day in the life of us

And my American inspiration is:

Madison wears: SHIRT & VEST, Pumpkin Patch. JEANS, Pumpkin Patch. SHOES, Walnut Melbourne. Noah wears: SHIRT, Seed. CORD PANTS Pumpkin Patch. SHOES, AirWalk. Mummy wears: SINGLET, Giordano. DENIM SHIRT, Cotton On. CUFFED PANTS, Morocco. WEDGES, Witchery. SHELL NECKLACE, Adelaide Flea Market.

Fancy Pants is the way I record my boys and their cute little outfits.
Goodness knows, they'll grow out of these clothes before they're worn out!

this saturday i'm grateful for... the country air

Saturdays are the days where our household comes to a grinding halt. (Except sleeping and eating, perhaps). And because it's our day of rest, there's time to reflect on the six past days and remember all the things I'm grateful for...
  1. The country air. Even if we're camping on mattresses and living out of an esky in an empty cottage, it was so nice to be staying in one of our investment properties for five days. It's away from the hustle and bustle of the city, so quiet at night, and you can even see the stars.
  2. Something different. Okay, so we worked hard for those days. But polishing floors, painting,  arranging an open house, calling references and choosing tenants is certainly a nice change from The Usual. We also enjoyed buying lunch from the local bakery (which is YUM) and eating our goodies out in the gorgeous garden (yes, the above picture is the very garden).
  3. Friends who have returned to Australia. On our return from The Country Air, we've spent some time with old friends who we worked with in Papua New Guinea. While we all returned to Australia four years ago, they stopped for just a short while and then continued onto another adventure - to Mongolia. And after three more years, they're home. We just wished they had a job in Melbourne, and not in Sydney. Because we love their company.
Happy Grateful Day.

This Saturday I'm Grateful For... is inspired by Maxabella Loves... Join in. Maxabella would want me to invite you. It's good for the soul to be grateful.

Friday, December 10, 2010

10 things on my today's to do list

  1. Finish 16 page full colour publication before the printers shut down for Christmas. Must be finished today. (No time to do it on the weekend.) Due Monday.
  2. Send the above photo taken at last night's work Christmas function to my step-dad so we can feature in he and mum's annual Christmas letter. This is the first photo of the four of us all year. (Still don't have one of the six of us at all this year.)
  3. Clean two cars.
  4. Transform neglected house into clean, tidy home. That includes the bathroom. Especially the toilet.
  5. Wash and dry seven loads of washing.
  6. Make double portion of soup, dessert for tomorrow's lunch out.
  7. Learn words to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" for tonight's Christmas Flash mob at our local shopping centre. Starts at 6:30pm.
  8. Teach son words to "Away in a Manger" for tomorrow night's Carols by Candlelight performance. The old version - that starts low, not high.
  9. Shower.
  10. Pray for more hours in the day. And try not to have a nervous breakdown.

10 reasons why i have 17 books by my bed

I can't help it. I have a pile of books by my bed that starts on the floor and goes as high as my mattress. Well, if it was in one pile, it would reach my mattress. But because a pile that high doesn't actually stay balanced, it's three smaller piles.

And here's why I have so many books:
  1. I'm addicted to Amazon online and bookshops.
  2. I've rediscovered my love affair with the public library.
  3. I'm always in the mood to read something different.
  4. I like to have options.
  5. I love to cook: that means lots of cookbooks.
  6. People know I'm a sucker for a good book: so, I'm loaned many.
  7. I'm nosey: I can't help but browse friends bookshelves. And no sooner than I've snooped, I'm asking for that book.
  8. Because I have to read it now.
  9. Or I might forget about that book.
  10. And I don't want to miss out on anything.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


My poor blog. So neglected this past week. All because of renovating. Polishing floorboards. Finding new tenants. And work deadlines. So many deadlines.

And not only is December here. We're almost a third into it.


As I said to a friend today, I wish I could close my eyes and wake up having done all that needs to be done before Christmas. That would be so nice.

Some people's December quietens down, others rev up to something quite cyclonic. I'm the latter. And while I washed off a day in the office in the shower tonight I wondered, Could I BE any busier? (yes, even said like Chandler Bing of Friends fame).

But I know it will only get worse. Why, my kids aren't even at school yet, they do not have after school activities like sport or hobbies, school friends, break up parties. I watch my friends with their lovely big families have up to two events each night during this ridiculously busy month called December.


But I'm sucking it up.

And as a result, I'm blogging like I usually do. I'm not wussing out. A theme every month, just like normal. And this month's theme will be lists. Lists of all types. Because I really love lists. And it works with Christmas just around the corner. Christmas lists, gift lists, menu lists, event lists.

I'm making a list. I'm making it twice...