Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas.....Part One

It was our first Christmas as the Summerfield-Lawton family - which is kinda awesome in itself - it has been almost a year....I cannot believe it! And honestly its been awesome, amazing...etc

So....Yay for us! 

The highlight gift - a trampoline for the children, though perhaps more so for dear Husband. Although the size may have been a little extravagant. 16 ft!! Its takes up our entire backyard!!

Christmas Eve was with my immediate family - parents and three brothers and the fiance of one of my brothers. Roast turkey cooked in the Webber, prawns and cold ham and salads. I was super desperate, as I always am, to get opinions on my rose marie sauce. I thought it was brilliant! Chris made the Pavlova - I guiltily was a little judgmental of his recipe - he dared to deviate from Mum's tried and true recipe....sorry!! - it was yum and you did great!!

We tried out Uncle Matt's 3D TV and Michael and the kids watched 'Despicable Me'

And check out that chair....I mean seriously.....what??!!

and met the new addition to their family....

Meet Jax (the bulldog)- and Grandad....

Being the super organised person that I am, after returning home and putting the kids to bed, I still had presents to wrap and a pavlova to make (Take 2 - the first attempt got binned early in the day). Michael also had to finish the putting the trampoline up. It rained. So now Michael gets to tell the story of staying up until 2am, in the rain, on Christmas Eve putting together a present for the children. He loves it! What a champion!



I then decided I would set the table and make the lounge room all pretty for when the children wake up....



It lasted until after church when they were allowed to open their gifts from under the tree. (they got their stockings as soon as they woke).....

I don't know how they can trash a room so fast...

I am still cleaning up the mess!!.....






Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do You Wobble?.....

I love a good line dance.

I have a secret desire to go back to Texas, (because I just don't think country line dancing really cuts it in Australia), don my funky 'honeymoon' alligator cowboy boots and my pink cowboy hat and get down to some serious boot scootin'!! The country music is brilliant over there!....


Anyway....so line dancing is awesome....not the 'Nutbush' mind you, that is so so terrible! In my opinion line dancing is a group of repetitive simple steps and you BYO groove, and I.....am all about the groove baby!  And there is absolutely no groove in the 'Nutbush'!


Recently have found my ultimate line dance....The Wobble. Michael thinks it is lame because there is nothing to it.....Handsome Man, that is the idea of it! My perfect kind of beat to get down to some serious booty shakin'! 


Enough build up....here are the basics....and here is gettin' wild wit it from the Raw Connection West Coast Swing Dance Party in July....I am somewhere in there on the left.


If you don't know it already....you're seriously missing out. 


I'm just sayin'.....




"I can dance Homie.....I don't two step"















Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sitting In A Box Anxiety....

When I was a baby - probably between 6-9 mnths - Mum used to sit me in a box on the kitchen bench and cook or clean or whatever around me....I would just sit and play with toys (I am assuming she gave me toys!) and not try and get out.

How unlike my own children.

Yet totally like my personality. I am extremely inquisitive and I will ask thousands of questions yet I seem to be afraid of action. Especially action of the unknown variety. As a result I miss countless opportunities (ie. I didn't have my first real kiss, until I was 18! - and there were plenty of opportunities. Well, at least two I can recall, one involving two sets of braces ....Though I am sure there would have been a snowball effect!) - or when I do take an opportunity, its a great leap of faith!

I am having anxiety at the moment....doing things anxiety. More specifically, giving a gift to my Visiting Teaching sisters, now that my companion has moved away (what can this uncreative, sugar fearful lady offer?!!) AND expressing my gratefulness to my neighbour(s) for being cool with my youngest jumping over the fence often to play with their two children (3, 2)...he works nights, and doesn't sleep a whole lot and she works days....as I type, all three of mine are over the fence in the neighbours pool. Oh the anxiety/guilt!

I have just returned from a neighbourly sojourn....I sucked it up and went over to help supervise the children and be more friendly, instead of hiding in my house while the kids get to know the neighbourhood.

The children all played well together and I stepped out of my box for a little while - it was great I thought! We have been invited over for a Christmas Street Party on Friday night....how is that for a rewarding experience!?

Now just to figure what to do for my Visiting Teaching sisters....

PS Yesterdays car leak apparently was the air conditioner - it happens, and it stopped. Thank goodness! The damage appears to be minimal and only cosmetic. Though I did ask my husband if he pines for his bachelor life - I feel constant guilt about our whirlwind family of noise and destruction - he vehemently assured me that his life is far better with us in it.....despite the damage. Yay!


Monday, December 19, 2011

From Good To....

Well....Not sure yet....

Today started awesomely, woke up from a lonely nights sleep (husband was away overnight for work) and felt super motivated, so I cleaned both bathrooms and toilets and headed out to successfully acquire some tickets to tonight's Christmas Lights bus tour. I was feelings pretty productive and just a little housewife sassy, in my awesome 'I have a funky mother who gives me clothes' orange skirt.....



When.....

I ran over a sheet of metal on the freeway on the way to my last errand stop (I keep replaying that moment in my mind with all the things I should have done to prevent the 'accident'....but I guess what's done is done)....It buckled under my car and I dragged it briefly, as I slowed down to pull over. I managed to unwedge it from under the car...meanwhile in the breezy breeze on the side of the highway, on my hands knees, my awesome orange skirt was not feeling so awesome....

The car started and we headed to our next destination - on closer inspection the metal had scratched up the front under carriage of the car and it was leaking....freak out! So we bolted into the shops, and instead of searching for lego men that the kids could spend their money on in place of toxic sugary goodness (the money that the drunk man at the RSL gave them last night....I know, it was the Sabbath...all for the purpose of getting on this lights tour - which better be fabulous btw!), I relented and permitted candy.

The car made it home alive, and I placed some cardboard under it to catch the leak in case it stained the driveway....turns out it is water....is this a good sign??

Now I am depressed - though slightly better since breaking the news to Michael and finding out that he isn't mad at me (not that he ever is - but I still worry...old habits die hard...) I really hope everything is ok, car expenses at this point are the last thing we need! ....I have done nothing else except feed the kids lunch - which they didn't eat - eat snacks and read CJane.....

Now to drag myself off my amazing bed (have I mentioned how much I love my bed??...Thank you Kevin Rudd!)....and think about dinner and Christmas lights and maybe some warm egg nog when the husband gets home from dancing....(this weather is so bizarre!)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spring Clean Anxiety....

I think I may taken on too much?!


Its 3.14pm. I cleaned for a couple of hours this morning, crashed out after lunch with the kids watching a Christmas movie ("Nativity" - its an English movie - twas good, what I saw of it)....now I am trying to motivate myself to keep going.

I know people do this all the time, but I do not and have not....Where I do like to keep the house reasonable clean and tidy (I am great for cleaning toilets!), and I grew up with a super cleaning mother and her yearly Christmas clean - I have, a number of times, found my self finishing the final clean before moving out of a house and thinking..."Wow, this place really looks great" and wanting to stay a little longer.

I don't know why I have never Spring/Summer/Christmas cleaned, I guess its just always seemed like too big an effort....and me being me, not knowing how to tackle it - just didn't. Plus it was easy to blame my 'unsupportive husband' (Not this one, he is brilliant), a demotivating drug problem and....babies (those last two sound terrible together, but alas, that was the reality of it) - I don't think those excuses cut it anymore...

But now I am doing it - that is, I have done lists! and laminated them (oh, how I love my new $18 laminator :)..... My son has done his room, and my daughter is half way through hers, though she has kind of given up a bit. I know I will have to step in and help with the culling process. (After my lamenting post previously on the kids and the holidays - yesterday was great, the children were awesome and motivated of my cleaning endeavour and we had a great day!) My kitchen is also...nearly half done?, maybe not quite but the success is all hidden. I think that is what is so discouraging. One wall of cupboards looks brilliant inside, but unless my husband notices the awesome cleanliness of the 'joins' between the floor and the cupboards (he won't) then you can't see anything!

Anyway I am trying to keep plodding along, reminding myself that if I work on something every day, then its bound to get down eventually!

Are you a 'cleaning aficionado'?? Got some tips for me?? Some super quick, barely any washing up, dinner recipes so I can keep up my mid-afternoon flow....I am thinking paper plates and plastic cutlery...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Only Slightly Bonkers....

Its only the morning of the second official day of the summer holidays and the children are driving me nuts!!

I tried to tell my son yesterday that its not that I hate spending time with them - they are super awesome little people and I am completely enamoured by their brilliant personalities - its just that these wonderful personalities are ofttimes sometimes hidden by bickering, whining,  selfish stomping demands etc....and they are the traits that I don't want to hang out with! However, the more I think about this, the more I think of all the negative traits of mine that they endure day in and day out - and the difference.....

They still want me around all the time!!

And on top of that, think that I am a most excellent mother!

*sigh* 

I honestly have so much to learn from them.....






Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Am Not Worthy.....

As I type Michael is clearing out the spare room and setting it up for me to have a study/sewing room. (I asked him if he could do me a set up in the garage while he was on holidays) 

Pretty kind of him, huh?

But this is after a whole lot of nice things he has done to benefit me this weekend - and, unfortunately, I can't really think of a whole lot I have done for him. When I think back, all I can remember is me growling at my sugar-high children and dropping a whole lot of swear words an hour ago because my cake was leaking in the oven and I didn't know what to do.

Also he was going to go dancing tonight (which he very rarely does) because I had spent a whole lot of the morning in Spotlight with my mum getting set up with some sewing equipment, while he was at my dad's work Christmas party keeping an eye on the kids in the pool (Mum and I were supposed to be there but we ended up two hours late - talking and shopping)....

Soooo he is setting a room up for me instead of doing something for himself (oh yeah, and I made him vegemite and cheese toast because I couldn't be bothered making dinner tonight *sigh*) and I am feeling terribly guilty and like a bit of a failure as I wife. In my defense I can be pretty kind and thoughtful, just clearly not as much as he can be.

The only thing he has requested of me, is to make him some dance pants.....I better learn to sew then!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Most Excellent Gift.....

Its my birthday in just over a week and, at my request, my amazing husband (seriously, he is awesome, I could go on ;) bought me a sewing machine. :)

Considering I can't patch a hole, fix a hem, darn a sock, and can barely sew on a button (Oh, the shame!  You can imagine how scruffy my children look sometimes :/) Add the double shame of having a dress-making Babushka....

love her to pieces!! xx

 I thought it was about time I learnt some skills myself. I did learn sewing in Year 9 - I loved it, but never had the chance motivation or the patience (or a patient enough mother....kidding...mostly ;) to continue with it.

I was spoiled growing up - having almost all of my clothes made for me up until the age of 17. When I was younger it felt kinda daggy and uncool, but when I became a teenager I realised that all I had to do was describe the style of the item I wanted and Babushka would sketch it and make it for me (I wish now that I had slightly more style back then!). She stopped sewing as much because mass produced clothing, of not so bad quality, became so much cheaper than the cost of making clothes. Which was a far point, and I was left to buy clothes off the rack....ugh :) Clothes shopping was depressing because I had so much trouble finding clothes to fit, being tall they were too short and packin' a sizable booty for my frame they were often too tight.

Over the last couple of years I have become sick to death of the struggle of trying to find clothes that look half decent that aren't ridiculously expensive. Even when you know the styles that look good on you the transient fashions makes them hard to find all the time...but I do have to say, I am super grateful for stretch fabric!!

So Anyway - I wanted to learn to sew in order to patch clothes and make costumes for my children, sew dolls clothes for Amelie, and 'alter' clothes for me. More specifically, due to my recent love for recycled clothing, I want to buy OP shop clothes and alter, remake, or add to them. Super exciting!!....Oh yeah, and whatever Michael wants me to do for him! :)


But, I guess I better learn to sew first, huh?

My new toy!

Lesson one - winding bobbins - successful!!

Close up! - not over excited at all!

Bought some remnants from Spotlight to get my practice on!




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Picket Fence Goodbye....

Almost, (I am going to say 'almost' cause although I can't remember, I am sure there is a time that I haven't...) every morning I walk my husband out to the car, give him a big kiss and wave him off for the day....and every time I do, I find it rather amusing! I wonder how many other wives on my block are giving this kind of send off to their husbands?....And how incredibly "Stepford Wife-sh" it would be if it happened on the entire street at the same time every day!

I have always loved the ideal of the 1950's and the traditional husband and wife roles in the home - Can I please cook and clean in a sexy dress and heels, with my hair perfectly set? The reality is, however, that it was an extremely oppressive time for women, 

you're kidding....right?


and I guarantee there were a lot going completely mental!


or on drugs....


 I definitely wouldn't change my time for any other. I am blessed to be able to go to university, pursue my interests/passions and enjoy the technological conveniences that allow me to do this and be a relatively successful 'housewife'.....if I so choose. 

Nonetheless, there is a certain aspect of 'traditional' that I like in my life. I love LOVE that I married a man that is, by nature, a provider and nothing makes him happier than making others (namely ME!) happy and being appreciated for it. I like making him breakfast and lunch in the morning, and ironing his shirt for work (some days I get kinda slack and distracted, but I do it most of the time!) - it's the least I can do....and in return he does all the things I don't like to do - ie folding washing when the pile gets too big.

Sometimes I think maybe I am just playing house because my previous marriage experience was nothing like this - and maybe the novelty will wear off....and I think I am kinda scared it will. Scared that the bubble will burst, because maybe I am not supposed to be deliriously happy most of the time.....I even had a nightmare about it this morning...Issues much?...

Anyway - I am just grateful for my life right at this moment and the opportunities and freedom that I have, and desperately hope the picket fence goodbyes never stop....cause I love them! 



Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Conversation About Conversations.....

Fun fact bout me, I love my local ABC radio station....more specifically I am seriously into the  "Conversations" with Richard Fidler program....

"On any given day Conversations with Richard Fidler might take you from a remote Chinese village, to inside the cockpit of a space shuttle, to a family home in the middle of a warzone, to a hospital on the side of an African volcano, to the mysteries of the human brain, or to the pitch of the MCG. Conversations with Richard Fidler is funny, provocative and often deeply moving."

Incredibly fascinating, you must check it out! I download the podcasts, and excellently I am currently listening to 'conversations from early 2010 - which means, I have 100's more get through....awwwwesome! :)

I quite often listen to them while I am doing the domestic goddess thing - cleaning, cooking, hanging out washing etc, but also while I run.....it feels amazing being intellectually stimulated/inspired at the same time as physically challenging my body (listening to General Conference talks is also most excellent on long runs)

Anyway I have found one of late particularly inspiring - a conversation with Elif Batuman, author of the books "The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books And The People Who Read Them". This was particularly  interesting for me because, being part Russian (through my mum's side, her parents immigrated to Australia at the end of World War II), I have never read a Russian novel! Whaaat?! Even more shameful is that fact that I was named after a character in "War and Peace" and I have no idea what it is about or who wrote it. I did own a Dostoyevsky novel a few years, a nice hard cover version, but I again didn't read it and no longer have it! *sigh* 

SO....with three weeks to go until an epically long university holiday, I have set two goals for myself - One I will read no less than 5 Russian novels - starting with, of course, 'War and Peace'. Secondly, I want to start learning Russian again - I did one semester when I attended university the first time when I was 17...it was awesome, and hard and I hardly remember anything!....and as I sit here totally overwhelmed and inspired by all things Russian - I want to host a Russian Christmas (January 7th) at my house this year - yes!!! That means lots of Russian cooking and craft as well for the holidays - no, no - I am not obsessive at all!! Hahaha.....its going to be wonderful! :) 

Now I would like to slightly veer of topic for a moment, in Elif's conversation she also made reference to the fact that most Russians are not very smiley. (I was also inspired on the topic of genetic characteristics by this conversation with Joe Bageant) It got me wondering what parts of my character are genetically inherited from my Russian background.....hmmm anyway, its all rather interesting, genetic culture -I may delve into this more at another time.


Matryoshka Dolls.....
I want some for my birthday!!! :) I used to own a cute set, but my children loved them so  much when they were babies they destroyed them!


Cue my Russian obsession! :) 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meatless Monday - Cob Loaf Love....

I got the whole idea of Meatless Mondays from this page....I think its an awesome idea. Although we don't go meatless every Monday, I do try and have a couple of meat free dinners every week.

Lately we have had an over abundance of bread in the freezer because our church gets leftovers from the local bakery once a week - so I had to track down a yummy recipe to use it up! This one is perfect for a cob loaf or even a regular uncut loaf.


Layered Vegetable Cob Loaf
( Adapted from an Exclusively Food recipe here)

You will need about half a medium butternut pumpkin, two large zucchini and a large capsicum for this recipe.

270g red capsicum
550g peeled butternut pumpkin
2 tablespoons oil
350g zucchini, ends removed
250g mushrooms
1 round cob loaf, unsliced (about 20cm in diameter)
50g baby spinach leaves
150g feta cheese, crumbled or sliced
44g (1/2 cup) parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
2-3 tablespoons pesto (we used sundried tomato pesto)
Salt and pepper

(My Variations: I used green capsicum, sweet potato egg plant, zucchini and baby spinach leaves - with tasty and mozzerlla cheeses. I also used pizza sauce instead of pesto. To prepare eggplant, slice up, salt each side and rest for awhile on a clean tea towel. I just fried them in a bit of oil, make sure the oil is hot enough - or else the eggplant will absorb too much oil.)

Cut capsicum into quarters and remove seeds and membrane. Place under a very hot grill, skin side up, until
most of the skin has blackened. Remove from grill, place in a small bowl, cover and allow to cool. (I had never done this before, its super easy and the capsicum is so tasty!)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut pumpkin into 1/2cm slices. Place on a baking tray, toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, season with salt and
pepper and bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Turn the pumpkin once during the cooking time. Set
pumpkin aside to cool.
Slice zucchini lengthwise into pieces 1/2cm thick. Cut mushrooms into 1/2cm thick slices. Toss zucchini and
mushroom with salt, pepper and remaining tablespoon of oil. Grill or pan fry until vegetables are golden and
cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Remove charred skin from capsicum. Cut capsicum into strips.
Cut a ‘lid’ from the top of cob loaf and set aside. Remove most of the bread from inside the loaf, leaving a 2cm shell.



Spread the inside of the loaf and lid with pesto.
Use about half of the pumpkin slices to line the base of the cob, pressing down firmly. Create layers with half of each of the remaining vegetables. Top with half the feta and parmesan.
Repeat the layers, pressing firmly, until all the ingredients have been used, or the cob is full. Replace the lid and tightly wrap the loaf in aluminium foil.



Place cob on a large plate and top with an unturned plate. Place something heavy on the top plate to weigh the loaf down. Refrigerate for at least a few hours to allow the loaf to consolidate.
If serving the cob hot, heat the foil-wrapped loaf in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius) for 30 to 40
minutes.

If serving cold, remove the foil and place cob on an oven tray. Bake in a very hot oven (220 degrees Celsius) for 5 minutes to crisp the crust. Cut into wedges to serve. (this is what I did to reheat it the next day for lunch.....mmmmmm :)


I adore this meal - however, I would also like to note that my kids hated it and only wanted to eat the crusty bread without the fillings....whatever ;) it made for some yummy lunches for me for the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Worth The Wait!.....

I have been wanting a herb garden forever....so a little while ago I got really definite about it and my awesome supportive husband went and bought me some coloured tubs, potting mix and seeds to get me started.

Admittedly the soil filled tubs sat outside for a few weeks before I actually did anything!

However, in my defense, I was doing research!....I wanted to get it right - and plus, I was super freaked out that they were not going to grow....that I would over water them, or not water them enough, or that I would plant the seeds too close together....bla bla bla.....slightly over dramatic, I know, but this was my first time growing anything and I would have been totally devastated.

So anyway....I decided to stop sitting around and just plant them already - the worse thing that could happen was that I would have to try again....right? The seeds were planted, I marked my calendar, and watered them nearly every day and night. (My awesome son took over watering duty this past week, he loves the responsibility!) By day 7 I was a little concerned - nothing was happening.....I reminded myself to be patient and I kept on....

AND around day 12....

They started growing!!

The first sight of green was soooo exciting!! :) I showed my kids, I showed my husband - I was super stoked!! Within a week every plant had started growing....it was working!!! I was/AM growing a herb garden!! Yay!!






I am feeling very awesome right about now! Thinking about planing some flowers next....:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All About Me.....

Spending a lot of time in this room, in this chair lately....
my study space!
I have been hyper-aware of myself lately....I think its a combination of temple preparation classes, study deadlines, general conference and visiting teaching (I am a newbie!). More that ever I am aware of the fine balancing act that is required to keep on top of things and to stay spiritually focused.

I am slowly beginning to understand the necessity and the immense blessings available when adhering to the principles of the gospel with exactness. (ps. super loving the Visiting Teaching messages these last couple of months!! - I swear they were just for me! :) I just have to keep striving to live them....daily! This is where the balancing act comes in.....cause its rather hard, and requires constant vigilance (love your recent post This Girl Loves To Talk! exactly what I have been thinking about lately) .

Which leads to something else that I am learning - I will never be perfect. Not that that is new a revelation...but knowing that I will almost constantly require correction to varying degrees to keep myself on track....AND more importantly, realising that this is not failure! Tomorrow will always be a new day and it will be whatever I decide to make it.

So bring on going to the temple soon, the last four weeks of uni, crazy study, brilliant marks and just awesome life in general!!! :)




Friday, September 16, 2011

I Am Still Here!!!....

Its been ages, I know.

I think the semester holidays relaxed me so much that it was extremely hard getting back into the uni study/family combination. But, I am here, if only for a moment (studying for my final mid-semester exam tomorrow), and I wanted to give an update.

My life has been consumed with the usual family/study/dancing/cooking/cleaning - and although my head has been filled with 'blog thoughts' none actually made it on here. Sorry :) Michael and I had our 6 month anniversary a few weeks ago, we didn't do anything to celebrate (that I can remember!) but it was just nice to take a pause and bask the awesomeness of our life together.....I am so happy with him, it is all quite brilliant! I could go on, but I won't ;)

I have also been doing a little more dancing thanks to Raw Connection's 2 for 1 weekly class deal. Loved it! Although it really makes a different adding one extra night of dancing to my life - I was a little wrecked and not getting enough done - especially on the study front. So now I have had to take a couple of weeks break to study for these exams. I am definitely looking forward to dancing again next week though! :) Raw Con have also started up a half hour open DJ session before class - so for a week I was stuck in the late 90s, going through my CD collection and putting an old school R&B/rap playlist together. Super fun! This week I will be putting together some funky/smooth soul tracks for the gold coast class. I think some of this will go down nicely. :)

My Butt Lift challenge is still going - and its been great! I have increased my leg weights and my resistance band. (Is my butt higher? Looker nicer?? I think so, or at least Husband thinks it is! :) This past month has been off, however, due to busy life-ness....I am hoping my weight work at the gym will keep the strength up until I get back into it. It does feel great to set yourself goals and actually see results! Yay!

Speaking of goals, my goal for attending the temple this year is going well - even better than well, I didn't expect it to come about so fast. I admit, that freaked me out a little! (ok alot, it freaked me out alot!) I expected when I told Bishop I was feeling ready to get serious about my preparation it would be at least 3-4 months away. But no, he put me in the temple preparation class that was to start in a few weeks. I had my first lesson earlier this week. It was intense and brilliant! I have had a couple of challenges already just getting that started - the exciting thing is that challenges proceed blessings....I definitely have to keep reminding myself!

So yeah, that is some of me these past 6 weeks....gotta get back into more regular blogging after exams.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Be A Hater.....

I washed my car today (last week). Its been awhile....like I really can't remember the last time I did it.

It's hard to care when your car is as undesirable as mine is. It rattles, its loud, it has peeling tinted windows, the body is dented and marked, the glove box fell off a few months ago - sometimes I look at it and want to cry *sigh*

But when I think that about my car I feel really bad. I got it almost 3 years ago for $500-ish off my brother. He was going to trade it in - I paid more than he would have got for it, but I totally scored and it was a huge blessing. I didn't have much funds and I was in desperate need of a car.

I can't hate on it.

It may look and sound like a piece of junk, but I haven't put that much money into it and it still runs reliably.

My husband's daughter had to get a new car this past week, and I looked wistfully and all the cars I would like to replace my car - Nothing fancy, 2nd hand under $8.000, manual, etc (I know my fantasy specs....:) It would be awesome for the first time in my life to actually choose my car.

BUT

I really don't want one right now. I am happy/satisfied with my little car - it gets me around and I don't cringe too much when the kids do what they do.

However, when it finally stops running, I won't be too sad to see it go. ;)

 My car, when I first got it - I am not going to post a photo of it "now" :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lesson Learned.....???

Things have not gone my way this week/end and I am not dealing well at all. I put my neck out earlier in the week....I was good to myself, I rested, I heat packed, I got acupuncture, my whole little family was praying for my recovery....I had faith that it would all work out in time.

It didn't.

Well, actually Thursday night was great, I was healing wonderfully and everything was still going as planned. I tried to get up at 5.30am Friday morning - something went, and I was in agony....I could barely move and it was excruciating just to sit up.In that moment, it was over - No Ball, no routine....and I cried. Both for the pain I was in, and in disappointment. Disappointment that all my plans were over and that I was letting my dance partner down....especially that - I hated having to make the call. I cried on and off all day. Yay.

It wasn't just going to a Stake Ball either - there will be plenty more this year all over Brisbane.....It was just a chance for me to be in a social environment with people that I had been going to church with over the past six months - they really don't know anything about me....and they would have got to see me dance with Michael. That sounds really selfish - but its not that I think I am awesome, I just wanted to share something I am totally passionate about.

So anyway - as I said, I am not dealing well  - I hate not being able to do things that need doing, I can't just neglect that house, I still have to feed the kids and be a mum.....In saying that, Michael has been wonderful. He took that day off to drive me to all my appointments and to run the errands I needed to do and as I type this he has made pancakes for the kids and is folding my massive mound of washing - he would probably do a lot more if I let him. :)

One thing I have learned, is that I have a tendency to be a whinging b*tch with things aren't going as I have planned. I am terrible, I get angry and irritable at everything. Its not a very pretty personal revelation. *sigh*

As a sit here, packing heat, trying to ignore the filthy floors and to hold my tongue (after already apologising for my snapping at people....again).....I am wondering why? What can I learn from this?.....What does this show me about myself? (aside from the obvious ;) - and its this moment, I am grateful - for the trial, for the pain, for the opportunity my husband has to serve me, and for being forced to stop and acknowledge that as much as I think I can, I can't control everything....and thats ok - its here that I have to learn to roll with the punches, take a break and jump right in again when I am ready.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Addicted To Psych.....

 If you know me, you would know I can be a little intense when it comes to things I like. I devour books within days, I play favourite songs over and over and OVER,  I can eat a whole jumbo popcorn (seriously ;)....and TV shows are no different. I have been super bummed out that one of my favourite shows, "Psych", was hardly getting any airplay and for ages I could only get one season on DVD....




So these holidays I just decided to download it.

A greedy couple of weeks and five seasons later - I am overloaded, but still I could go more - alas I have one episode left to watch and I am waiting for Michael to get home to watch it with him.

Luckily the kids love it almost as much as I do, so when Michael was away for the week we had marathon Psych afternoons - it was the best part of the holidays.



If you haven't seen it, you are missing out on some seriously hilarious wise cracking, fist bumping, movie referencing goodness....Whaat?!

Best.Show.EVER

Friday, June 10, 2011

On The List.....

We have a thing going in our family....I am not sure when it started; maybe Tassie, maybe when we were at Mum and Dads, or maybe a variation from when we were kids....But regardless, it definitely stemmed from fussy eating children and me, despite the many dishes I cooked, struggling to find something they all liked.

Whenever I make something that the majority (and on the rare occasion everyone) likes, one of us will call out "On...The....List!!!"  - approving the said dish as a permanent menu item.

The other night at dinner we discussed and wrote down, all the dishes, that we could remember,were on the 'list', as we had never previously kept any kind of record.

We only came up with 11 dishes....:( Now I am sure in all my years (9) of cooking dinners (granted, not all of them have been quality) surely I have successfully produced more than 11 dishes worthy of a permanent place on the menu!....hmmmm

I wonder if I could bring the total up to 25 by the end of the year??

What's on your list? 

The latest addition to 'the list' - Tortilla Pie, made with kangaroo mince and topped with thick natural yoghurt - which I use as a replacement for sour cream in all my recipes. This dinner was all the more awesome cause I used leftover taco mince from the freezer! It was super easy and super tasty!.....And yes, my food photography needs a lot of work, as well as my plating up skills! - its called rustic...aiiiight! ;)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today Is The Day.....

I have decided I cannot function properly at the moment without having at least one full day at home. To do all the things I just don't seem to find time to do.

Today I cleaned out the fridge, the pantry and started the kids blog....

 yeah...I kinda need to go shopping ;)


It feels great!! 

PS. As much as we try and deny it - us mothers spend a whole lot of our time cooking, cleaning, decorating, and just plain trying to make our houses awesome for our family! Here's a blog I read for all those super sassy domestic duties....

 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bring.....It....OOOOON!!!!!.....

In our household my behind is affectionately called "jelly butt", and I regularly enjoy exclamations of "Its SOOOO squishy!" as my kids bust in on me in various stages of dressing or undressing....The youngest even goes as far as to have a favourite game where he comes up behind me and puts his head under my butt....and bounces!!! *sigh*.....

 If I didn't find it so amusing I would cry! :)

Although, as I have gotten older I have come to accept my body shape more and now view my ample derriere as some sort of personal trademark, instead of hating it.

Thank goodness!!

You may have noticed, from my blog posts or my frequent facebook updates ;),....that I love to workout, and I enjoy a good challenge. I am an active member of a couple of fitness FB groups and I have seen quite a bit of positive talk about the various BeachBody workout DVDs...and one in particular has taken my fancy.

Brazil Butt Lift.....(for obvious reasons of course!)

 I know...right? 
(ps. my aim is not to look like the photo)

I also have a tendency to get slightly obsessed with things - ie I will play an album/song/artist to death, or go on mad researching binges on particular topics. Therefore - I could not rest until I had this workout DVD. I couldn't find it in the stores and the US sites wouldn't ship it to Australia (without some serious shipping $$). I almost gave up, until Michael found it on a local 'ebay' type site being sold for $10 unopened!!....Score! 
  
I received it in the mail today.....arrrgh!! I am nervous! :)  For starters, its very confronting. As much as I have come to accept it, I am still quite sensitive about my body. So to have Michael over my shoulder pointing out what kind of butt I had was slightly offensive! I can talk about the size and 'density' (??) etc of it - BUT no one else can...I may just get a little snippy! 

Lets face it - the more you hate something the more you need to do it - and I really really don't like lower body exercises!! Give me push up challenges any day!(btw - I did 30 pushups yesterday...awesome! ;)

So....

The challenge begins here. *breathes into a paper bag*

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Anniversery Of Sorts......

Three years ago today, I was in a Domestic Violence Women's Shelter apartment in Hobart with the kids and a couple of suitcases. I was physically a mess - underweight, and sporting a lovely black eye. So emotionally wrecked that the slightest sound had me jumping. So ashamed and so lacking in self esteem I could hardly look anyone in the eye and too numb to cry. 

It's an anniversary I usually forget specifically, but for the whole month of May I think a lot about the situation I left.  It has been in my thoughts a whole lot more this year, mostly because of certain events that have been in the news over the last couple of weeks. 

I do like to remember, because it helps me to be grateful for my life. Grateful to have....

A house, a wonderful husband, three well adjusted, beautiful children, the opportunity to study and to dance, to go to church without fear or embarrassment, to live near my awesome family, to have a fit, strong and healthy body and just enough emotional issues to keep me grounded and working on myself. ;)

I love my life and I feel so incredibly blessed.  My Heavenly Father has truly been looking after me.

While it has been a long, and often arduous, journey (some times I seriously don't know how I made it) - I choose to be thankful for all of the trials too. For without them I would not be me, and I would not have the opportunity to grow and to reach my full potential. So thank you for the sadness, the pain and the frustration....and for hating it all enough to make the change.


 
 "Its called the past 'cause I'm getting past, and I ain't nothing like I was before....you oughta see me now"...



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Got The Number....

I have loved music and dancing ever since I can remember. I have had the chance to perform in various dance styles - but more than anything I wanted to compete. I like the challenge, I like to have something to aim for. I used to envy the kids at ballroom dancing that were having private lessons for competition....I wanted a dance partner but it was really hard to find a guy that matched my height. I remember watching the Ballroom Championships at Christmas and wanting to dance with a number on my back - I couldn't imagine anything more awesome (well, next to being a back up dancer for Janet Jackson ;).

Last year I got my chance.....


My first West Coast Swing Jack and Jill (dance with a stranger) Competition - it was AMAZING! It probably took about half an hour for my heart to stop racing afterwards...haha

Ever since then I have just wanted to get better and better. Cause frankly, at some point I want to win. It is a little frustrating that I can't put as much work into my dancing as I used to be able to, but I am super grateful for the chance to do any at all!

I had my third competition this past weekend - and guess what??

This girl made finals!!! Out of three heats I made the top 8 - it was definitely a shock (after checking the results, I pretty much just scraped in - hey, I still made it though!)....I was having a terrible night of social dancing...I don't know why, I just couldn't find my flow or get a decent connection with anyone or the music and I almost didn't put my number back on.

Heats - I am at the back in black - this is the guy I danced the best with....
(argh, doing that stupid neck forward thing, so hard to change :s)

I danced with a guy from my class for the final - which would have been cool, except we hardly ever dance together! (not sure why though....)  So it wasn't the best of dances, but we had some good moments. Will have to try and dance with him more....


Oh yeah....and I danced with Michael Kielbasa last night......it was fabulous! He is sooo excellent! 


Monday, May 2, 2011

Rainbows Rock!....



The kids came running inside a few weeks ago after a big lot of rain yelling "Mum, come quick.....a RAINBOW!"

I brought my camera out and took a photo....I love rainbows, they are an amazing phenomenon to me. No matter how bad things are, in the world or in my own life, every time I see a rainbow I am comforted. It is a reminder me that there is a bigger picture, and that this all has a purpose. I imagine that Heavenly Father is saying,

"Don't worry guys, I know it seems pretty bad right now but.....I got this."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Warm Fuzzies.....

I haven't blogged for awhile because I have been so busy with family, study and other things (don't ask me what they are? ;)...and every time I get the urge I am right in the middle of something....

So today I am blogging, not because I have anything topical to write about or because I have some free time, but because I just feel awesome and I wanted to share it.

Today is fast Sunday - and I forgot, I have been fasting regularly since maybe late last year - and I am starting to get in the swing of it, so I didn't want to miss a Sunday. We only planned to go to sacrament today because Michael and I have dance practice for our first routine performance next Saturday (I am really excited, and it wasn't something I thought we could miss) ....Anyway, Dad is coming to babysit the kids for a few hours while we go and he was coming too early for us to make sacrament and be back in time to get ready.

So I am fasting for as long as I can before practice, and we went to early morning church to catch Sacrament. Testimony meeting was great, the kids are a lot more well behaved in church now because they are so used to it. I love the opportunity that fasting gives me to focus on the Saviour and his influence in my life. Sometimes, if we don't have a regular church Sunday its easy for it to feel like a Saturday - so I am so grateful that the hunger helps me focus and remember Him.  

We came home from church and I made brunch for everyone who wasn't fasting.....I am really finding joy in cooking for my family at the moment. I love the opportunity motherhood has given me to serve them, its awesome when they like the things I make (for the kids, this is mostly the snacky baking, not the healthy dinners ;) and I can't help feeding my husband too much 'good' food....I best keep him dancing, doing pushups and on the treadmill...hehe.....

I adore my family, and my life so much and the moment - even though its a struggle with uni, and finding money for everything we need - I am so grateful for my challenges and how they bring me closer to my Father in Heaven. I really do pray that we continue to move forward in our spirituality as a family - because its so good right now and we have so far yet to go - its exciting to think how it can only get better!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Culinary Experimental....

Those of you who know me well would know that....

I like to eat.

Fortunately, I also like to run....so the two mostly offset each other. (mostly - except for the two kilos that found me on my recent indulgent honeymoon, which I am starting to feel quite comfortable with! :)

I am often trying to find a 'healthy' (pun intended) balance in the food department. I have tried cutting out sugar and "bad fats" all together, but frankly, I feel deprived....and I shall only live once - so forget that.

Instead, I am keeping most of my meals and the families dinner clean. Which means - a whole range of experimental dinners. I have to admit, we have had a bunch of crap dinners lately! Sorry, guys....but I have also had some success - in the form of turkey mince.

It is as cheap (price is a big deal) as premium mince, has less fat and is super tasty. I have used it instead of mince to make chilli for tacos and nachos (I found Woolworths homebrand corn chips to be waaaay tastier and less salty than other brands), and turkey instead of sausage mince for sausage rolls. Win! 

I have also tried to make my own stock,  and chicken stew with wholemeal dumplings....which were both fails - Wholemeal flour is super dense and I don't think I like the taste of marjoram! However, I will try both again next week. This girl does not give up!

Currently in the oven, turkey mince meat loaf with mushroom gravy.

I think I will be more gentle on my family....maybe I should cut down to 3 experimental meals per week?

PS in case you get the wrong idea, we haven't been eating turkey mince every day of the week! ;)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who's Coming To Dinner/Family Traditions.....

It started a month or two ago....

Although we have afternoon church, I have had this growing desire to cook lots of food and have people over for dinner! Sunday just seems like a good day for visitors.....

We have had the missionaries around a few time, my brother and his girlfriend once, and the girl down the round this past Sunday. I want a dinner guest every week....We don't know many families in the ward down here - maybe its a good opportunity!....So if you are ever in the neighbourhood and it's a Sunday, give me a call! :)

Anyway, this got me thinking about "traditions", I love traditions, although in the past we haven't seemed to have very many. Since getting married and getting our own place, everything is new again. I have had to start new daily/weekly routines, and its the perfect time to start new family traditions.....I guess it will be a while before they actually hit "tradition" status, but we have got some baby ones....Here is a few.....

We were going to the beach early Saturday mornings for me to run and the kids to play on the beach with Michael....but then I started a weekend  MYOB course. So at the moment the kids go with Michael to watch his son's football game and hang out with their step-niece, baby Peyton. When its over maybe we can do both??

Also, this newbie...

This past Sunday was fast Sunday, and I was looking for something to break my fast with before dinner that wasn't too filling - Banana Smoothie! Michael made all the kids milkshakes and now I want to do this every fast Sunday - Milkshake Sunday!

Things like this are cool.....I want more! It gives the kids (and us!!) things to look forward to and guarantees we have quality family time.

What family traditions do you have?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitchen Goodness.....

It's almost Mother's Day.....yay!! 

I have been looking forward to it all year.....because, there is actually something I really really want.....

A funky apron!!




Something like this....but there are so many styles to choose from!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Honeymoon That Was...Aka The Best Holiday EVER!! (Part 2)

Swingin At Sea

I always find it easier to write when I am in the zone.....not after the fact. So I am just gonna lay it out for ya....

The Pros....

Damon and Lisa D'Amico, Robert Cordoba (minus his partner Deborah Szekely - she was ill), Arjay Centeno, Sophy Kdep (minus her partner, Jason Miklic - he was with the baby), Ronnie Debenedetta, Myles Munro and Tessa Cunningham.


In Action....

Robert and Deborah

I had a couple of cool dances with Robert - most memorable and fun was the first one, second cruise night in The Vault (ship's niteclub).

Lisa and Damon 


They are frome Houston, Texas, and are so incredibly nice. The West Coast flash mob is their creation, just a little diddy they had no idea would take the west coast world by storm! Would love to see them again and visit their Studio. Michael filmed me dancing with Damon....if I can upload it successfully I will put it at the end of the post.

Arjay Centeno



Had some funky dances with Arjay - sometimes the first one is always the best....again, second cruise night at The Vault, it was just a good night! We went there for a dance, just a regular shake your booty dance....(I needed a break from being "led" all the time :)...and a couple of the dancers were there. For some reason on that night (and that night only) my sandals were awesome and slidey on the dance floor, Michael and I rocked it out for a while on the empty dance floor (this was about 1am-ish, could have been later, not sure, I was still in a time warp!)....The music was awesome and we had a cool vibe going....then Arjay cut in (he did a class later that week on the art of partner stealing/swapping or something :). My first dance with Arjay and it was pretty damn awesome!!

Myles and Tessa 


Just the reason why we ended up on the cruise. Tessa (who, by the way, is the most awesomely stealth winker I have ever seen! - no part of her face moves, just her eyelid!) is Michael's favourite dancer - and it was through her facebook page that we found out about it. (I don't know if we would have travelled to the otherside of the world for a dance cruise otherwise! *wink*) They were a really awesome couple....super down to earth (maybe its cause they are Canadian? hmmm). We had dinner at the same table on quite a few nights - and really enjoyed getting to know them as people. I had some fun dances with Myles - he is a super cool guy, and good to dance with, considering the height difference! :)....

The highlight, I think, of Michael's cruise experience was his first dance with Tessa - she did the whole "come here" gesture with her finger...I think he died and went to heaven!! hahaha

Would love our next trip - (I have a plan to go overseas every five years for some dancing, I think Michael is on board with that....will give us something to work towards and look forward to!) to include Canada to see them again, and to catch up with the other awesome Canadians we met on the cruise.

Jason Miklic



The clip doesn't have Sophy in it because I wanted to get one of him freestyling, not doing a choreographed routine. Erica Berg is one of the few tall followers I have come across in West Coast Swing.

I had never heard of or seen Jason dance before the cruise, but he ended up being my favourite pro to dance with. I wish I had a video grrr....:) It just felt stupid running to get the video camera every time I danced with someone. He is so engaging, and always looks like he is really enjoying himself.....and he does the awesome move where he some how (using is hip/leg....I don't know) flicks my leg up....I can't explain but I did a little "woohooo" everytime he did it...haha. I think Damon did it once with me too. Best move ever! :)

The only pro I didn't get to dance with was Ronnie Debenedetta....which was a little disappointing cause it wasn't like I didn't have any opportunity. Although he wasn't around as much as the others, I didn't dance with him mostly because, for some reason, I found him intimidating....and I don't really know why. Oh well, maybe there will be another time. I heard he does a mean county 2 step. Here is an example. I want to learn to 2 step soooo badly....because A) I love the country music they dance to, and B) it just looks so freakin cool :) I had a couple of tries on the cruise...definitely harder than I thought.


Other dancing highlights....

The awesome country band that played on the ship, had some great dances.....seriously, I have never been exposed to much "real American" country music......and I love it!

Cruise Party by the pool - Michael and I rocked it out on the pool deck for ages by ourselves, had people coming up and telling us how fun we were to watch - was actually a little embarrassing though....cause seriously, we are absolute crap compared to the amazing talent that was on board with us! Still, it was heaps of fun, I love dancing with Michael.

Flash mob - both learning it and performing it.

Had a three way dancing partner swap with Myles, Jason and Arjay.....it sounds waaaay cooler than it actually was *wink* only because we were dancing on the carpet in The Vault (terrible for spinning) and the music wasn't that great so I couldn't find my dancing mojo....but it will always be an awesome memory. :)

Michael and I running into Myles, Tessa, and Tom (who, as it turns out is an old school pro - he is a dude, hope to run into him again somewhere) in the casino late on the last cruise night, and talking all things west coast.


......and finally, my first youtube clip - me dancing with Damon D'Amico....go here



Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Honeymoon That Was...Aka The Best Holiday EVER!!

Part 1 - In Transit/Galveston, Texas

I would just like to say that I am super glad we had a week in between the wedding and the honeymoon! I used that week to chill and enjoy being married......and then to wash clothes, go food shopping and organise everything for dad to come and babysit (honestly, my father the hero!).

After pulling an almost all-nighter (1hr sleep), being crazy excited, house cleaning, packing and watching "How I Met Your Mother Episodes" online while folding washing.....we were finally ready - Jack was at Babuska's, the kids were at before school care.....and I was.....


Yay! - just a little bit excited....


I highly recommend flying V Australia - they were awesome!! The 13 hour flight was totally bearable - I will even go as far as to say....it was fun. How often do I get to watch two movies back to back??.... like never!! :) So we watched movies, slept (me all over Michael - Oh, I love that he doesn't mind!), ate food, slept some more (me), watch more "How I Met Your Mother" (me - I think I have overloaded on that series!!)....and arrived in LA four hours before we left!! The time change is crazy - my longest Friday on record!


Oh man, Barney is so wrong......but so hilarious

 I was pretty freaked out about getting into the US, I had some weird fear they wouldn't let me in!! I am going to go ahead and blame the hyped up movie industry for that one.

We arrived in Houston safely late Friday, and got a shuttle to our hotel.

What's with the tiny pillows??


We couldn't really remember when we last ate, so caught a cab down town for some food, and to check out the Mardi Gras scene......It cost $15 to get onto the street where the Mardi gras was (everything was blocked off), so we just cruised the neighbourhood for restaurants.....and found a local pub, where we had our first American feed.....

It was good - Michael had "Chicken fried steak" with white gravy....


And met Ian,


an Aussie that had been living in Galveston for a few years. He ducked out to purchase a sample of American chocolate and sweets for us....I am sorry to all my US friends, but your chocolate blows!! :(  He said he would put in a good word for us with the room attendants on the ship (He worked for a shipping company and handled all the packages for the ships crew) if in return we would send him some Tim Tams (ie real chocolate)!!! Apparently they are REALLY hard to get over there!

We got back to our hotel and decided to check out the lounge, they had a funky band playing and there were a bunch of people from our dance group staying at the hotel as well. So we had a few dances.

Thus ending the longest (literally) day of my life.

Saturday morning dawned cool and windy - I went for a run along the shore. Very windy...met Michael on the way back and we hit the supermarket. We were just looking for fruit etc, but it turned into one of my favourite excursions. It was so fun just wandering the isle's and checking out all the different foods - like the million-and-one different kinds of cereals, and the bright orange cheese!!

Headed down to the mardi Gras at about 1pm....I had seen people with loads of beads the night before and I walked in saying "All I want is some beads......"

Well my desire was most definitely satisfied....they were throwing them from the balconies!!




I mentioned before it was cool and windy, well that turned in to kinda freezing....about 13 degrees! We had to buy jackets and hats....funnily enough, Michael got a Billabong jacket!

I got my face painted.



We tried our hand at riding the mechanical bull - I will not post the video ;) hehe....That thing is hard! Ate Vendor food.....gyros are messy - and don't taste that great.....the funnel cake was yum, but I felt my arteries clogging as I ate it! All they are is deep fried batter with icing sugar on top!



Found an awesome country/rock band playing and boogied down to that for a while.....I don't normally go for that kind of music, but they were seriously good!

Finally the parade started, apparently it was an hour late - the most bizarre thing for me was they had marching bands and baton twirlers representing from all the surrounding schools.....We had nothing like that in our schools!!



 
 Paraded out, beaded up and frozen we caught the shuttle back to the hotel......only to head to the lounge for some more west coasting.....I tell you, the bands are awesome!...don't know if it was just Texas or if its like that all over the US.



But I was definitely loving Galveston, Texas.

I know....what the???