Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dear dear readers....

Hello my friends. How are you?? Some of you have missed me. Wow, thanks for your emails. I missed you too. 
I will be back blogging soon. I promise! It's been a long few months, and I won't bore you with the details. Well, maybe I will - but after our interstate move. Yup, we leave Tas-Vegas next week, destination still to be finalised. I know I know, but we have narrowed it down to a 200km radius. Anyway, I'll keep packing and I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out this Tin Tin cake I made for our young master! Half the 6 and 7 year olds looked at it and said "who's that?"  What's the world coming to? 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Changing....

There's been a shift around here. Things are starting to change. Slowly. When I first became involved in all things bloggy, my feed was full of blogs about organising. And while I still read these from time to time, these blogs are now out numbered by another kind.  Blogs about minimalist living have caught my eye.
"What the hell are you talking about woman. You've got 4 kids. You can't be a minimalist." I hear you. I'm not sure that I want to be. But I think we have too much stuff. We have a whole shed full of stuff. Or we did. Now we have half a shed full of stuff.

The garage sale we had a few weeks ago marked the start of a change. A definite and deliberate change. We have that much stuff that we will have to have another garage sale before we move.  I'm trying to pare down to things that we either really need, or that we really love.  I know that with a large family we are still going to have a lot of stuff.  My hope is that it will either be functional, or beautiful or even both.
The garage sale was a success. It feels so good to get rid of stuff. And for someone who loves people watching it was very interesting. I observed and met some really interesting people.
First came the hardcore garages sale groupies. All on first name basis with each other they were already waiting patiently at the gate, chatting happily when we opened. They pretty much cleaned us out. However we had a steady stream of interesting people for the next couple of hours.

I met Pete. Pete's mum had remarried a man called Errol. It was Errol's father who had built our house. Fancy that! Pete told me that Errol and his father had been French polishers. He told me as a child he used to make an arm and a leg during show week taking money in exchange for a short cut through his back yard. He described the garden, where the lemon tree had been, the fountain and the blossom tree. He told me that the house had been divided into 2 flats. The strange layout of our home now makes sense! It was lovely to meet him and  to witness him take a walk down memory lane.

At the end of the day the accountants tallied up our earnings. "We're rich!" Was the general consensus. Then I broke the news that rego and the water bill was due. We had exactly enough left over for fish and chips the next night.

By the end of the day I felt so bloody good for getting starting our 'downsizing journey'  I really did.
And to top things off we had a perfect end to the day sharing a beautiful meal with family. I made Pip's Really Very Best Cauliflower Salad, this roast pumpkin and quinoa salad and my first ever paleo (grain free) bread. I also made my first ever raw food desert. It was absolutely divine, if I do say so myself...

On another topic, I'm also changing websites. I've been working on it behind the scenes ( hence why I've posted so few blog posts). It's nearly ready! Ill tell you all about it soon. Promise!

So many exciting changes, so little time!  I love change.  Good as a holiday as they say!

Do you like change?
What is the best change you have ever made?
Got anything exciting in the pipeline?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Red Tape & Regional Kids + A Lego-sectomy

Do you ever have those mornings when you think to yourself "wow. Everything is running smoothly. We're gonna be on time for once..."
I don't have them very often, but last Thursday morning was just like this. Fantastic! 
Then Arthur decided to snort Lego. Yup. Your heard correctly, he got Lego stuck up his snoz. Though Arthur has just turned two, his vocabulary is still somewhat limited. I think he was pretty pleased that 'nose' is one of his few words. Had he not started screaming "nose nose nose" I may not have cottoned onto what was going on. At first  I thought he had just bumped his nose, so I gave it an affectionate rub. He screamed harder. It took me sometime to assess the situation correctly. When I looked up his snout there it was. A shiny red piece of Lego. Arthur was still hysterical. 
George located the tweezers and I had a crack a providing the trapped piece of plastic with freedom. I only pushed it further up. I asked Ingrid to phone Mr TBT to ask just exactly what I should do in such a situation. As with every emergency in this family Mr TBT was 2000 km away. It took some time for Mr TBT to decipher Ingrid's garbled recollection of the mornings events. Once he got all the facts he burst out laughing. Ingrid burst into tears. Not exactly the help I was looking for. He suggested Arthur blow his nose. Arthur sniffed instead of blowing. Up went the Lego a little further. 
It suddenly became clear we were in for a visit to the local emergency room. I'm very grateful for my dear friend who came to the rescue and walked the big 2 kids to school so I only had cart the little 2 with me. 
You may remember from previous posts that we hold VIP rights at the local emergency department. We are on fist name basis with the nurse who called us in. She looked over the top of her glasses at Arthur and used all 4 of his names. To cut a long story short the doctor whipped out his special Lego removing doctor tweezers (made from wire to get into the smallest of spaces), I put Arthur in a headlock and it was all over in a few seconds. The doctor triumphantly held the little red piece of Lego up and Arthur took one look at it and said "wow". I'm sure he was thinking "gosh I've been looking everywhere for that"! Another successful emergency trip. 
On the way home I had time to reflect on the paediatric appointment which we had at the same hospital for our 8 month old a few days earlier. We had requested the appointment 5 months ago. We are a bit short on paediatricians in this part of the world, and a 5 month wait is the norm. Our eldest 3 had allergies to both cows milk and soy, and had to be on a prescription formula. In those days we saw a paediatrician, who listened to the story wrote us a script and our baby returned to full health within a short time and everyone got some sleep. 
Not so now. Some administrative twat living and working in a major metropolitan centre in this great land of ours had decided that now these scripts can only be filled by a specialist allergist or a paediatric gastroenterologist. Sure. No problem.  In theory. Only there aren't any specialist allergists in the whole of Tasmania (ok so one flies in occasionally to Hobart). Nor are there any paediatric gastroenterologists in the state. 
There are a couple of GP's with an interest in allergy and immunology. These  doctors have special allowances enabling them to prescribe things like Epipens. But they too lost the right to prescribe hypoallergenic formula. 
Cows milk allergy (CMA) is the most common food allergy affecting babies and children. It affects 1 in 50 babies. You can even have an anaphylactic reaction to cows milk. The protein in cows, sheep and goat milk are very similar so the chances are if you are allergic to one you are allergic to all of them. 50% of children with CMA are also allergic to soy. There are approximately 6000 babies born in Tassie each year. That's 120 babies born each year who wake screaming every 20 minute. Legs pumping, howling in pain. 120 babies who may have chronic diarrhoea, hives, a chronic wheeze, face swelling, eczema or asthma. 
I understand that the formula is prohibitively expensive, and that there needs to be some form of regulation.   But what I don't understand is why rural and regional families haven't been accounted for. I just don't get it. 

How was your morning?
Know anyone who's had a Lego-sectomy?
Do you have children and live in a regional area? 
Do you have food allergies?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life @ 2

So my dear Arthur you are 2 now. 

It seems like yesterday that you came into this world. You were whisked off to special care because you weren't breathing properly. I don't remember much of that because the anaesthetist was very OTT with the drugs. I didn't even get to hold you or see you until the next day. Daddy was with you though. And you two are still the best of friends. 
I do wonder if this was the start of your independent streak. By 18 months of age you had already been on your first expodition. 
We came home from dropping the big kids at school. I let you out of the pram, put Rupert to bed and went to the loo. While in the loo I heard a knock at the door. Strange , I thought. We are accustomed to many people dropping in - most walk in, pop the kettle on and then announce their arrival. I went to the door to find the nice NBN installing man on the front door step. He had you on his hip and quietly handed you back to me. 
"I found him on the corner" he said. I didn't ask whether it was the corner with the main road, or the corner with the busy suburban street. I didn't want to know. 

As the 3rd of four kids under 6 you are streetwise. And determined. This determination will take you far.  Though I do wish you would listen - cows definitely say "moo". They don't say "poo". Your determination had kept you alive. Not just at birth, but on the many hospital trips since. When you have been struggling for breath, your heart nearly popping out of your chest for all the hard work of gasping for air. This started when you were so small, as a baby - it really didn't seem fair. And yet with every asthma attack it seemed you find opportunity. Extra time with mum. The fish tank in ward 4k.  Getting to stay up late because the doctors had pumped you full of steroids and adrenaline and you were waaay to wired to sleep. You have a zest for life, and we could all take a leaf out of your book. 
Like the time we found you in the chook hut. I hadn't been able to find you for a good 1/2 an hour. I had checked the gates. They were still firmly tied and padlocked, so I knew you had to be in our yard or house somewhere. It was Ingrid who finally found you. You had decided to check for eggs. You crawled in through the chook door and found one. Needing all four limbs to crawl out of the chook size exit you popped the egg down your jumper for safe keeping. As you attempted to crawl out you had to lie flat and - oops. There goes the egg. You sat up and squished the egg a little through grandma's hand knitted jumper while you worked out how to un-jam yourself from the doorway. When we got to you, 2 chickens were jumping all over you from the inside, pecking all the egg off. From the outside the dog was jumping all over you licking with glee. You thought it was HILARIOUS. 

But you don't think everything is quite so hilarious. You like to show your disdain for things with an "oh mummy". Face wash Arthur? "Oh mummy". Shoes on Arthur "oh mummy". Mummy doesn't actually have to be involved at all. Last time Daddy was home I returned from the supermarket to "oh mummy. Oh mummy. Oh MUMMY. Oh MUMMY". Daddy was changing your nappy. 
And despite being a wild child and a rough nut you have a lot of love to give. Even if you have to cover yourself in your sisters lip balm and pucker up first!! 

Happy Birthday my dear. Xx

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dinner at Mine : Quinoa, Lentil & Carrot Stew

Mum sent me this cookery book for my birthday. 
Awww. Thanks mum! Despite it not being my birthday for another couple of weeks I had to have a crack at one of the recipes. The ingredient list on this one included quinoa, red lentils, carrot, red capsicum, onion, garlic, coriander (fresh & ground) and cumin. So so yummy, and dead easy. A perfect end to an autumn day of bird nest spotting! 
What did you have for dinner tonight?

Photo Safari : Lego Launceston

In the last school holidays (yup, it's taken that long for me to post this) I took the big kids along to a Lego exhibition at a local high school. The place was completely chokers, it was kinda bonkers!
Who knew that I was going to go on a tour of some of the worlds most remarkable buildings and monuments. I mean, check this out!
Can you imagine acually sitting there and building these. Wowsers. But even more amazing was that someone had made a complete replica of the Launceston CBD. Out of Lego. Really. 
Seriously, the detail was absolutely amazing. The signage on the shops, trees and gardens.  They even remembered to put the que of people out onto the street outside Service Tasmania.
Robbers were being handcuffed outside the cop shop, and the locals will recognise the busses. Yes, we have tiger busses in Launceston. 
The library in town is located in Civic Square. Also in Civic Square is a statue of 3 Tasmanian tigers. Look closely in the pictures below. Can you see them?
What? "You can't wait to come to Tas-Vegas?" I hear you say! Sure. They had that covered too!!
Are you a Lego fan? What's the most amazing thing you've built??

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Climbing Mt Everest

Disclaimer: this post isn't actually about climbing Mount Everest. It's about climbing Mt Washing. Which is nearly the same thing in this household. And if I had written "About Washing" in the header, you wouldn't have clicked through to read this literacy masterpiece about what a shitty day I've had (literally). 

So a couple of days ago I read this post about washing. Which I thought about this morning, as we collectively as a family went through a load of washing. Before we even left the house. Yup. It can be done. So, it goes like this...
The two big kids collide while assisting with setting the table this morning. Milk all down the front of Ingrid's uniform. Usually I would grab a handful of baby wipes and 'fix' the solution. Only today is school photo day. Of course. George also requires clean trousers. 
Arthur proceeds to eat baked beans by the handful, artfully covering his cream coloured jumper. He needs a new jumper. 
All good. Nearly ready to walk out the door when Arthur does a poo. Which travels out the side of his nappy, down the inside of his trouser leg and onto the floor. Giving the older children specific instructions NOT to stand in the poo (which is conveniently located in the main thoroughfare of the house) I go off to change Arthur's outfit. Again. George steps in said poo, then helpfully walks to the bathroom to wipe it off with toilet paper. Humf. 
Poo cleaned up, kids all cleaned up. Reach for the baby who has been patiently sitting in the high chair the whole time. Poo. EVERYWHERE. A number 3, as my friend Zoe calls it. Another entire outfit change. 
Right. Rupert is cleaned up. As I whisk him off the change table - blurgh. Vomit. I was wearing black. Of course. Yet another outfit. 
They day continued quite uneventfully after that. Until I took the 2 little boys to Spotlight. As I took Rupert out of the front pack he reached for the bag full of new fabric, put it in his mouth and blurgh. Yup. He vomited in the bag with my new fabric. Quite talented really. I'm thinking of getting him into golf. 
It really is no wonder that I once googled 'washing tips for large families'. I was pregnant with our 4th child, and the biggest concern I had was the washing. When the results came up I noticed there are an extraordinary large number of families who have 17 (or more children). Wowsers. I eagerly searched through their blogs looking for tips which I could implement. Of note was the fact that their kids all possessed only 3 t-shirts and 2 pairs of shorts. Hmm...nope. Not going to cut the mustard in a Tassie winter. 
Next, they don't ever use the washing line. EVER. Everything goes through the dryer. Some have even installed washing machines and dryers in the children's bedrooms, so that the clothes are either on the kids backs, in the washing machine, in the dryer or in the cupboard. I should note that most of these women are in the U.S. where power is much cheaper than it is here. The last time I spent an entire winter in Tassie our power bill was $2,987.35. (I'll never forget opening that baby). That was with 2 kids and minimal dryer use. Oh well, it's the washer woman life for me. 
How was your day? Better than mine I hope?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Renovate a Cubby House

1. Get the kids involved. 
2. Choose your paint. Be adventurous, always wondered what a hot pink floor would look like? Give it a crack.  It's not you're living room. 
3. Don't be too precious about your traidies skills. Our kids painted half the window as well as half the wall. We scraped if off, but the paint work does leave a bit to be desired. 
4. Make some personalised art work. I made these initialled squash racquets ($2 at vinnies) using the left over wool from the pom poms the kids made for the ceiling. 
5. Use the kids art work to dress the walls. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

][ recipe \\ gluten & dairy free rustic almond macaroons ][

How good are these babies?
Yup! Yummy. And sooo easy - there are only 4 ingredients involved! Here's what to do to get some rustic macaroon action happening in your kitchen...

* 1 cup of almond meal
* 2 egg whites (Scuzzy lays whopper eggs, so I only use one of those)
* 1/4 cup sugar
* a few drops of vanilla essence

* preheat oven to 150 degrees
* combine almond meal and sugar
* whisk egg white with vanilla
* mix the everything together 
* form balls, pop onto trays lined with baking paper and bake until lightly brown!!

The only other thing I would mention is that you may need a double batch!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

][ stocktake \\ {belated} april 2014 ][

Loving: sunshine. Every bit counts!
Wishing: I could have a crack at this
Reading: this, written by the lady who writes this blog. It has already changed my perspective, and I think it may have changed my life. 
Hoping: I win this, this, or this for my friends
Bookmarking: The Paleo Providore. They deliver Australia wide!
Working: on a really exciting proposal. Wish us luck!
Listening: to George and Ingrid tell a story. They are taking turns to each make a line up. It's adorable. 
Hearing: rain. Our gutters need cleaning out. 
Seeing: George sprout before my eyes. Again. 
Smelling: gluten free, dairy free gingerbread baking. 
Trying: to fend off the winter blues. 
Feeling: cold. 
Dreaming: of a tropical paradise. 
Cooking: hot lunches. One of the nice things about school holidays.
Eating: soup for dinner. This Thai pumkin soup was divine. I added ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander to my normal recipe and swapped cream for coconut cream. Serve with chopped coriander,lime wedges and papadums! The kids loved it. 
Making: the most of my husbands newfound love of cooking. Which masterpiece are you whipping up this time darl?
Enjoying: the school holidays. No, I'm not going crazy, so far so good. And it's especially good going as we've pretty much been locked inside the whole time!
Forgetting: stuff, all the time. Ingrid has started calling me Mrs Forgetfulhead. 
Worrying: about the asthmatics in the family as the weather cools even more. 
Hunting: down things for our garage sale. We're downsizing. Can't wait!
Watching :Call The Midwife. I'm hooked. 
Jumping:in the winter sunshine!

Want to play? Here's your list:


Sunday, May 4, 2014

][ dessert at mine \\ gf,df crumble ][

We had a lovely BBQ at a friends last Saturday. I wanted to take a dessert that was gluten and dairy free that the kids would eat. Having never made an apple crumble before I decided to convert one. I made the filling in the normal manner - 2kgs of Granny Smith, sugar, cinnamon simmered lightly then popped in the dish with the topping and baked. The topping is usually the bit with the gluten and dairy in it. I mixed coarsely ground almonds, nuttlex, brown sugar and coconut. It was really yummy. Of course, Mr TBT enjoyed it smothered in icecream!!
What's the best desert you've had recently?

][ if you could live anywhere.... ][

You may have read my autumn post. I talked about the challenges of young children with asthma when the weather turns. Little Arthur, not yet 2 has been sick since that post. That's 5 weeks of struggling for breath. Have you ever tried breathing through a straw? That's what it feels like. 
He is on the maximum amount of steroids, 2 hourly ventolin, nebulisers at bed time. We've seen the gp numerous times, the last trip resulted in a course of antibiotics in case it's a chest infection. It's not. 
He's not acute enough for a hospital visit (yet) but you can feel the mucous on his chest when you rub his back. The slightest exposure to wind or cold air and he goes down hill rapidly. He coughs all night. I'm sleeping on the couch outside his room just in case I sleep through an attack. We've spent the school holidays housebound. 
Arthur's 6 year old brother also has asthma. His is more acute, we need the ambulance here in 10, or it's curtains. George has only ever had attacks in winter. They both go off all medication over summer - save for the odd bit of ventolin if they catch a virus. And little Rupert, only 7 months old was hospitalised twice for bronchiolitis before he was 8 weeks old. The doctors call it bronchiolitis before the kids are old enough to be formally diagnosed with asthma. Ingrid is fine. Not a wheeze in sight. 
The only thing left to try for Arthur is to remove his triggers. Only I'm not a weather god. So now it is time to consider a move to warmer climes. We are so lucky, that while Mr TBT is away at work we have an amazing network of family and friends who drop everything and come round to care for the other 3 healthy children. The thought of leaving that help is more than a little daunting, however we're hoping the warmer weather will mean healthier children. 
We are lucky that because Mr TBT is a FIFO worker we can pretty much live anywhere on the east coast, preferably within hitting distance of an airport though. 
We need a hospital nearby, good schooling (I'm in love with the kids school. Education is going to be a sticking point), and a good community feeling. Oh, and they're allergic to mould. So Weipa is probably off the list (at least in the wet season). Country of beach - or both?
I find the idea of choosing somewhere off the map a little surreal. It's not like we have to be anywhere for work reasons. So, how do you choose where you belong?
At the moment I feel part of something. Part of a community. I have awesome taste in friends. Tassie has good food, great wine, affordable housing and crap weather. 
So, where would you live, if you could live anywhere? Why?

Monday, April 21, 2014

][ handwritten \\ letter from the war ][

This post is part of a linky party over at ihearttuesdays. Check out the other great posts with the theme 'handwritten' here

There's a valley in the Northern Rivers region of NSW called the Clarence Valley. In the valley is the small town of Old Bonalbo. Population 240, though there would be lucky to be 50 houses in the town itself. About 10 km up the road is a small farm. It wasn't always this small, but over the generations it has been whittled down to just a couple of hundred acres. 
I've been dreaming of this place for 30 years. As you may remember, as a little girl my family and I lived on a boat and sailed the world. While we were exploring the great cities and cultures of the world, I was thinking of Old Bonalbo. Population 240. I remember saying to my mother "one day I'm going to go and live there. And breed horses."
"It's miles from anywhere" she said. 
I know it didnt make sense. I had never been there. I had never been on a horse. I was about the age my daughter is now. I smile now when I hear Ingrid begging for a horse. I remember the pull, the lure of the land, of that particular piece of country so clearly.  Sometimes I still close my eyes and imagine myself there, just as I did as a small girl. I like the idea of my children being the 5th generation to live and work this land. I think they do too. 
The last person to live there was my great aunt Jean. As a young woman she was beautiful, strong, the life of the party and had the most magical way with horses. Old cockies in the district still talk of her horsemanship skills, and of her brothers (including my grandfather) stockmanship. 
Like others, Jean wasn't the same after war. Some of the things she experienced as an army nurse never left her. Jean never married. Not for want of suitors either. Jean told me of one proposal. She said he was "good looking, and had a lot of cattle. And good cattle too. But I just didn't feel like it". If she were here today she would have been 107 years old. ANZAC day marks the 10th anniversary of Jeans death. ANZAC day was the most important day in her calendar. In her latter years, she would sit on the verandah of the Urbenville nursing home watching the parade. She always had a shandy for her comrades. 
After she died, Mum and I went to the homestead to tidy things up. Family lore has it that it was built by a Swedish ship builder. What they were doing in Bonalbo in 1910 I don't know. Built in the traditional Queenslander style it was a beauty, with shady verandahs and a wide airy breeze way down the middle.  Or it did. It now sits in the paddock, sagging, sad and empty. 
Every room, every single room was jam packed with papers. The Farm journals and shop catalogues from the 1950's were interesting. But it was the box after box after chest after chest after cupboard full to brim with precious handwritten correspondence. The whole place was a living time capsule. Some of it was moth eaten, some stained with animal faeces, some of it as fresh as the day it was written. Jean hadn't lived there for some time.  
They had kept everything.  Shop accounts, letters, receipts, CWA and Red Cross minutes, stories and personal journals. The oldest document predated the homestead itself. Mum and I spent the following days packing and salvaging what we could. We took home 30 large garbage bages and several packing boxes of precious handwritten papers.
After Jean's funeral, mum and I poured ourselves a glass of wine and gently unfolded each and every piece of paper. We'll just put it into acid free document holders and sort them later we promised ourselves. One of the first letters mum opened was from her father, to her grandfather asking for her mother's (Bettie's) hand in marriage. That was it. We were hooked. I had never known my grandfather, great uncle or other great aunt, and hadn't known Jean and Bettie for long enough. By the early hours of the morning I knew what they ate, what they drank, who they drank with and which horses they had bet on! I knew they were tardy at paying bills but enjoyed a party. It was like meeting my grandparents for the first time. They would've been about the same age as me and many of the stories contained in letters and journals reminded me of myself. It's that nature/nurture thing isn't it? 
When Kim started this linky party I asked mum if she could scan or photograph a couple of documents for me and email them. One of the first things she put her hand on was a letter Jean wrote while aboard AHS Wanganella. The AHS Wanganella was a hospital ship which transported over 13,000 wounded soldiers over 5 years. With ANZAC day this week I thought I would share the letter with you. They must've been at sea when she wrote, as her writing is a little scrappy. The letter is dated 19 days after the war ended. This is what she wrote:

AHS Wanganella
c/o GPO

My Dear Mother

A few lines.  We are now in Morotia again having taken prisoners of war from Kuching English and Australians.The English were in a very bad condition and the Australians are fairly well.  I think we shall be going perhaps to Bangkok and then to Singapore.  I think we shall be away for perhaps until after Xmas.  Is Jess home yet.

Will you find out the Balt. and POW camp that Bobby Ralston,  ???Frazer, Mart Askew and anyone else.  I have looked through all the lists.  I have gone through all the wards hunting for them but so far we have not collected them.  I can not tell anything about Prison Camps as yet until details are released but some much better treated than others.  The Sisters shockingly treated , quite anumber were shot.  24 out of 68 (the 68 is crossed out) I am not certain of the numbers . To think I just missed Singapore by a whisker. Very hot up here. Last night Captain Phillips one of the MO’s who was at Tenterfield came over from  the 2/S to see me.  He came the night before last also.  Quite a few people up here. I seem to know quite a number. This is a pretty island.  The last one we were at was Labuam where we were not allowed to land there.  Yesterday a lot of Japs came in to give themselves up, wanted food but think they were sent back , took a snap of them. Were in barges and came quite close.  They looked well fed I felt.Could quite easily have a ???? 
bomb with  them. How is Billy also Robert?  What is to happening to the maize.  I hope something is  ??? soon as things can not go on. 
Today am going out on a launch picnic with some of the girls.  I hope Robert has lost his lame leg.  How is Diana.  Tell Bettie shall write next trip.  Received a telegram re Corrie.  Think Corrie has probably gone to Singapore.  A new unit was formed and have ??. I can’t think where else.  I shall try to get in touch with her when get there

Mail is closing

Love to all


What precious handwritten memories do you have??

Monday, April 14, 2014

][ dinner at mine \\ paella ][

For those of you who know Mr TBT, you would know that he doesn't cook. He doesn't actually like cooking. I love cooking. But I don't like cleaning up the kitchen. Perfect match!! I cook, he washes up. But even though I do love cooking, it is still nice to have the night off every now and then. 
Mr TBT is one of 4 kids. Can the others cook? Brother B? Check. Brother T? Double check. Sister K? Check too. So what happened? I asked his mother about it once. 
"I did try" sighed his mum. She sounded exasperated at the thought - still. 15 years later. 
And to be fair, he can cook. He cooks a ripper spag bog. Only I wouldn't know. I'm a vegetarian. 
So on Thursday, as one of the kids had a 5:30 doctor appointment, I suggested that he might do dinner that night. "Sure". He said. 
Righto. How 'bout I try to get out of the shopping too. "You can do all the hunting and gathering too" I added. 
"No worries. Why don't I cook tonight and tomorrow night? You can have a rest." Ahhh. What a man!
So, young Master G and I returned home to sausages. Yup. Good start. But on top of that he had roasted asparagus and red onion with pine nuts, grilled some marinated mushies and whipped together a tomato and goats cheese salad. It was good. Really good. 
The next night? Roast lamb and perfect roast veggies. I love roast veggies. Check this out:
And this:
But wait. There's more. You may have read in my last post that we had a paella to die for at the farmers markets in Hobart. We've been craving it ever since. I began researching paella recipes.  The history of paella is quite interesting. Especially the bit that says it was traditionally cooked by the men. It was also usually cooked on a Sunday. I looked at my watch. Hmm..it was Sunday...I wonder...
As soon as Mr TBT learned it was a mans job, he was all over it. Off he went, hunting and gathering. He returned with all the ingredients for a vegetarian version, along with chicken, mussels, chorizo, prawns and crab. 
To cut a long story short it was one of the yummiest things I have tasted. Ever. Check this out:

That was three straight yummy, nutritious, wholesome, fan-bloody-tastic meals in a row. Not bad for someone who doesn't cook huh? And you know the best bit? He did most of the cleaning up those nights too. Ahhh. He's a keeper that one. 

Who does the cooking in your house? Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

][ old friends & old memories \\ hobart, tasmania ][

We had a fantastic weekend last weekend.  Absolutely lurvely.  We popped down to Hobart, a last chance to catch up with the Grumpies (aka grandparents) before they return to Europe.  We also lined up a dinner date with some very old and special friends!  But what I found most interesting, was all the amazing architecture and history.  I grew up in Hobart, and as a teenager very much took these things for granted.  In fact I couldn't wait to get out of the place!  Having lived in such a variety of places since then, I can now appreciate how lovely Hobart really is.
We hadn't been to Hobart in such a long time. We stumbled across this vintage car rally.  I'm not a car person (the other 5 of the Bettie gang are), but I don't mind having a geeze at vintage cars.  I mean look at them, they are amazing.  And once I tired of the cars, I had a chance to take in Parliament House. Building commenced in 1836, and I can't imagine what it would have been like to be one of the convicts laboring on such an exquisite and luxurious building.
We had arranged to meet the Grumpies for fish and chips, down at the waterfront.  Once we had finished lunch we explored the docks.  This was the first place in Tasmania in which I lived.  When I was a kid we sailed around the world in a yacht.  When it was time to give away the seafaring life, my parents settled on Tasmania, and we lived on the boat right here - until we bought a house and did all the same things that other families do!  When we lived here, I thought people who lived in houses were the strange ones, and that everyone walked their shopping home in the shopping trolley.  Who needed a car? I was only 7 when we sailed into Hobart, and having been exposed to such a variety of beautiful ports, cultures and languages Hobart really didn't seem too special to me.  I was more excited about being able to go to school with kids my own age. Have you been to Hobart? Look at the photo's.  What do you think?
Next we headed over to Salamanca Markets.  Salamanca Place is home to sandstone warehouses dating back to the 1830's.  Now housing restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops and cafe's the street is blocked off every Saturday to host the markets.  As a child, after we moved into a house, my Dad (aka Grumpy) opened up an art gallery in Salamanca Place.  We lived out of town, and every Saturday morning I would come to work with Dad so that I could play hockey.  After the game I spent hours people watching, waiting for the gallery to close so that I could go home with Dad.  Salamanca Market has become so big, I wondered whether it would now be full of souvenir stalls, if the apples were still as crunchy and whether the buskers still set the tone.  While there were a fair number of souvenir stalls, and I didn't see any buskers,  there are still some fantastic stalls, and the apples are still the crunchiest around!
The above stall is Dick and Dora.  They have a great online shop.  Check them out!
I loved the layout of Smallshop's stall.  Their website is still under construction, but I will be checking back to see when it is open as they had some beautiful stuff.
Above you can see the start of Kelly's Steps, which link Salamanca Place with Battery Point.  I do remember walking down the sandstone steps many years ago.  Each tread has been worn by 174 years of pedestrian traffic.  If only those stones could talk.

We still had some time to burn before we could check into our accommodation.  As we were parked on the top side of St David's Park, we thought we would give the kids a chance to run around and explore.  St David's Park itself, also has a rich history.  The park was originally the main burial ground in Hobart, and the 1st burial took place way back in 1804. Over the years I went to many a Carol's by Candlelight at St D's.  I don't think I ever took the time to stop and look at any of the tomb stone and head stones which are dotted through out the park.  If you take the time, some of these monuments paint the picture as to what life was like in early Hobart Town.
This one commemorates a 21 year old whaler, who died from the flick of a whale's tale in 1841.  Many people don't realise that Hobart was a major whaling port for the best part of 100 years.  In the mid 1800's Hobart had 34 whaling vessels.  Many people made a lot of money (it was Captain Jame's Kelly who built Kelly's steps) out of whaling, and many were considered very respectable members of society, while others went on to hold positions of government.
Only a few metres away stands this monument.  As you can see from the inscription it remembers Lt David Collins, the first governor of Tasmania.  David Collins selected the site for, and named Hobart Town. Collins had a hard time of it in the 6 years he was here.  He wrote many letters both to London and Sydney, asking for help for his colony.  On several occasions Collin's had to ration supplies, and the colony faced starvation.  It seems ironic, that now 103 years since his death, that the Tasmanian economy is still in such bad shape, and that resources are stretched - just like they were in the early days.    
Many of the head stones have been set in this wall.  Reading the head stones puts a human face on the struggles of colonial life.  I couldn't help but notice the large number of graves for infants and children.  As I watched my own kids playing in the park I felt very very grateful. All 4 of our children have had their struggles, be it asthma or food intolerance's and tummy troubles as babies.  These are considered minor ailments in our society, and are easily treated.  However, had we lived in Hobart Town 150 years ago, not one of my children would have reached early childhood. How lucky we are.
We were also lucky enough to have had a fantastic evening with family and old friends that night.  I don't have any pictures from the evening, as we catered for 10 people.  Once dinner was on the table, we settled in for the night and told stories and remembered fond times.  Photo's were the last thing on my mind!  There's that old cliche of being able to pick up where one left off with good friends.  That was so true that night.
The next morning we met the Grumpies at the Hobart Farmers Markets.  If you ever go there make sure you go to the paella stall.  It. Was. The. Best.  I've been craving paella for the whole week now. Yummola.  After a teary goodbye to the Grumpies from the children we went home.  The long way, in typical fashion!

Do you live in the town you grew up in? Have you been back recently? Have things changed, or have you changed?