Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Garden Share Collective { December }

A monthly (and my second), post for the Garden Share Collective. Started by the lovely Liz from The Strayed Table to encourage more people to grow their own organic food at home. A blogging community, who share a garden update about their own vegetable patches, big or small. What is growing, what has been harvested and what has made it onto the do-list. 

While not unexpected in this part of the country, I can't help but mention that we have been experiencing some hot weather lately. Everyday is around 40 degrees. A cool day for us now is in the low 30's. It seems I have started to acclimatise to this weather, as a 30 degree day, now sees me feeling cold and wanting to wear trousers and a long sleeve top. Despite all this, our vegetable garden has continued to thrive in the heat, even if we are slowly wilting beside it. And most importantly, our daughters are enjoying helping us look after the vegetable garden. This is as much a garden for children, as it for us to be able to grow a small amount of vegetables for us to eat.

This month, we planted a few additional vegetables. Some spring onions, zucchini, and even though it was a little late to be planting them, some carrots. We had the room, and I thought it would be worth the try. Maybe I might regret it! The corn is looking very tall indeed, the Sunflowers (of which I've decided we planted too many) are looking very sunny and happy, the Lebanese cucumber plants have been gently thinned out and are also growing nicely. Alongside that, are some chilli plants, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, purple runner beans, coriander (which sadly seems to have gone to seed) and some parsley.

We have continued to harvest yellow and red cherry tomatoes, and also lettuce. A slow, but steady amount for a garden that is 3 months old. Though I can't help but wish, that we had made a larger vegetable bed for ourselves.

The to do list continues to grow. But mostly concerning restructuring of the garden and what we have planted, to make the most use of the space that we do have. We have too many sunflowers and chilli plants. And I'm considering removing the coriander and parsley, and planting it in pots, beneath the lemon and orange plants. This will leave me with a lot more space to grow vegetables. From there, it will be choosing plants that will be best to grow in this dry heat, keeping in mind it will only continue to get hotter for the next three months.

Thank you to this monthly share collective, which gives me the initiative to go out and weed the vegetable garden in readiness for its photos! Enjoying sharing in other's journeys with their vegetable gardens also.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Return to Civilisation

Our first trip out of the red dirt of the North, and back to the big city lights. Our first in almost six months. My husband will be on a work course for the whole of next week, and we're tagging along. Leaving myself and the girls, free to roam and explore. By that I mean shop. Catch up with old friends that I've missed dearly. Enjoy the sites of green luscious parks. Playgrounds on the riverside. Good cafes. Sushi. My favourite pattiserie. The David Jones foodhall. The Christmas trees and lights in all the department stores. Bookshops. I could go on.

Packing for the non red dirt world, heralds quite a few things. It means, the bringing out of all your white clothes, your good clothes, your cooler climate clothes and your non-pilbarised shoes. For me, that means leaving the one pair of thongs that I have been willing and able to bring myself to sacrifice to the elements up here. And I'll leave them behind gladly. I'm sick of wearing them on a day to day basis. There are a couple of other pairs of sandals that I have worn up here at times. But only when the occasion has involved nothing more than a fast dash from airconditioned house to airconditioned car, into airconditioned  house or shopping venue (of which there are few).

While my shoes aren't necessarily expensive, or that fancy, they are all shoes that I really like. A collection I've added to slowly over time, as I'm just not a big shoe shopper. I don't want the red dust staining them in the hot months, or the red mud staining them in the cool months. So, it looks like I need to go shopping for shoes while I'm in Perth. One's I'm willing to let get a little dirty, and that are a little more stylish than my ugly shoes.

Yes, we will be leaving these grubby dirt stained shoes behind at home. If they look a little red here, sitting on red stained concrete, then they certainly will once we arrive back on city soil.

Best get packing!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Winner of our Handmade Christmas Stockings

Well the winner is.......Indeah Taylor. Congratulations!!!

Please contact me by email at, or through my facebook, to let me know the two names that you'd like personalised on the stockings, as well as your postal address.

Thankyou to everyone for entering. And remember, if you are still interested in owning one of these stockings, that they can be purchased by contacting Love Roy and requesting a custom order.

Here are your stockings Indeah, waiting for their personalised cuff to be stitched on.
Hope you enjoy and love them, as much as we do ours x

Snake Season


The spade. Now a permanent fixture in our backyard. And not for digging. If you're of a Buddhist persuasion, you should maybe stop reading now.

Our backyard, has turned into a bit of worry war zone for me. The increasing heat, has also brought with it, the higher risk of Snakes and seemingly other insects. Within the week, we have had two baby snakes slither around our yard and then exit under our fence, one of which was "caught" by our next door neighbour. Several red back spiders have been squashed, and two gigantic wasps that like to sit around our backdoor have continued to attempt to enter the house everytime we open the door.

It really feels like a jungle out there.

I'm left feeling a little bit out of my depth. And reluctant to go outside. It's just not a relaxing place anymore. Instead I feel on guard all the time. Glancing over every nook and possible cranny where a snake or spider could have found a place, before I let the girls go near there. It's just not fun. I keep the spade nearby me as wander I through the yard. There are just as many venomous as non-venomous snakes in this part. All quite similar looking. Any snake, to cross our path, and not move away from us very quickly, will be treated as venomous. And the foam cricket bat. Well that is kept next to the back door for the wasps, which have currently still evaded my heavy handed swipes at them (I've tried spraying them, but nothing seems to kill these two).

Over the weekend, we did another backyard clean up. Removed any food source or crumb that could attract. Or water source. A clean up and tidy of all spots where something could be hiding. Though still no discovery of the elusive wasps nest.

I realise, that worrying over such things is practically futile. There are going to be snakes and insects everywhere, closer than I will ever probably realise, or want to realise in these parts, and that most hopefully won't bother us. But it's the possibility of all that could go wrong, that continues to unsettle me. Especially since the idea of being so close to and having to possibly kill something like a snake (and be close enough to do so), leaves me feeling a little nervous.

Have you seen or killed a snake yourself?
Used a spade to do it?!!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Imaginary Play

There is nothing more delightful, than listening to your child talk and play out their imagination. And there has been a lot of that this week, as it's just too hot to go outside. Quiet natterings and conversations to farm animals, little dolls, big dolls and Peppa pigs.

Dolls have been read stories to, and then tucked into bed. They've said their goodbyes as they drove off in Grandpa Pig's miniature locomotive to the shops and the cafĂ©. Mummy animals have been reunited with their baby animals, and copious cups of tea have been served to all. Sounds almost like my life really. Minus the miniature locomotive.

Listening to my eldest talk, and reenact our daily life through her play, has really made me aware of just how much the girls take in, of everything we say and do. Soon she'll be counting to 3 in a firm, last ditch effort type voice, after having asked her dolls a few too many times, to please go to the toilet and then put on your shoes so we can leave NOW.



Sunday, 24 November 2013

Happy Sunny Sunflower Sunday

There is something about this sunny flower. They have lit up the small corner of our backyard, that previously, we hadn't even noticed. And brought with it, a new first word for Miss J, "flower". While I am starting to wilt in the daily 40 degree temperatures, our sunflowers, and vegetable garden in general, are continuing to grow and thrive in this environment.

So, before Miss J removes as many petals as she can reach, with her little, inquisitive fingers, some photos, to appreciate them by, in all their sunny glory.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Handmade Christmas Giveaway { Closed }

It's funny how the older you get, the more appealing handmade things become to you. I remember childhoods of asking Mum to buy us tomato sauce, biscuits, bread and cakes from the supermarket. All the packet foods were way more appealing than all of our homemade stuff. And nobody ever wanted to swap recess with me at school. But, looking back, I realise how lucky I was, in so many ways, to have that diet while growing up.

Now, I love all the homemade things. Food, jams, sauces, craft. Watch out church markets and the old ladies in the back selling all their best recipes. I will make a beeline for your stall and buy up big. But now that I have my own children, I truly appreciate the value and importance of homemade things. Especially, for family occasions such as Christmas.

Growing up, both my Mum and Nanna sewed, cross-stitched, quilted. And in the process, created many special items throughout our childhood, that are still just as special, and still used today. Our Christmas stockings being one of them. All handmade, and hung by the fire every year. Whether we're at home for Christmas or not. First filled with lollies, small toys and gold chocolate coins when we were younger. Then as we were that bit older, filled with a small envelope containing a little bit of money. 

Nowadays, with the big department stores selling items for $4 and other ridiculously low prices, it's easy to go overboard with all things Christmas. You could have a different stocking or Santa bag every year if you wanted. And you might just need to, as low prices tend to come hand in hand with poor quality. But I can't help but wonder, where's the family tradition and sentimentality in that. While my stocking might be a little daggy in comparison to some of the new styles selling now, it is more special to me, then anything I could replace it with.

This year, my daughters, were lucky enough to be gifted a beautiful Christmas stocking each. From a lovely friend of mine at Love Roy. Handmade and personalised, just for them. To celebrate the start of all things Christmas, she has kindly made me two more to offer as a giveaway today.

Made with the same material as the stockings above, but personalised with your own choice of names. Each stocking is worth $40.

To enter, you can either 
1 } comment here on my blog, or,
2 } like my page on Facebook and also comment below the image, so that I know you have entered.
3 } Or do both, and double your chances at winning.
The winner to be drawn on the evening of Wednesday 27th November.

If you live outside of Australia, I'm more than happy to still post to you. And if you are unlucky enough not to win, but are still interested in owning one, than you can ask very nicely here. The stockings are made to order at this stage only, due to the time, effort and material involved.

Good luck!

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Best-friend

This little face.

Such her own little person now. With every step, she strives to be more independent. She talks more. Starts conversations with others outside of her family, introducing her sister to anybody who stops to talk to us, "hello, this is baby J."

But, with every big girl step, comes the little girl. The increased emotions and needs. For more cuddles and reassurances. A reminder to us. That no matter how big a girl she seems now, that inside she is still a little girl. That needs the snuggles. All our love. And as much patience as we can muster as she grows and matures into the person that she will become.

For the first time, Miss A has found herself a friend. A self elected "best-friend" (her words). Someone who she talks of often. Wants to visit. Have play dates with. Be liked by. As a parent, it has been an interesting experience to watch. This entry into a social world of girls, that I'm just not familiar with.

There is a two year age gap between Miss A and her best-friend. What would seem like a small age gap, has often felt like such a large age gap on the odd occasions that they have seen one another. That has made me slightly wary and nervous at times. The differences in play, of language, of independence and understanding.

Today, the social differences felt too large a gap. So large, that we left a social catch-up with a group of friends early. What started as two girls playing happily together for over an hour, quickly changed when another girl arrived. Turning in to a situation where Miss A was tossed aside with a "I don't want to play with you anymore, I want to play with my real friend." Followed by a "Is your name ....?", when Miss A tried to follow them. To which she responded, "no, my name is......" The innocence of her response, upset me. It pained me to watch this rather brutal first encounter with a social clique, that she wasn't welcome in. I could see, that she was hurt, but that she couldn't quite understand why. She just wanted to play with them. For her, it was just that simple.

This is the first situation, where we have decided to step in. And pause a friendship. And hopefully attempt to wean Miss A from her, at least for a little while . The positives, while definetly there, seem to be outweighed by the negatives at this stage. My fear, that she will take such rejection personally, be too young to understand such emotions and situations, think that this is normal treatment from a friend to be spoken too in such a way, or even, start behaving and treating others like it herself.

To me, it was confirmed when she quietly told me, as I tucked her into bed, that her friend "had upset her today". Hearing this, from my nearly three year old, broke my heart. Too young, too innocent, to be able to understand or deal with such emotions.

I know, that I can't shield her forever, from less than ideal social encounters or friends, that she might meet. And I certainly don't want to be the sort of moddy coddling type Mother, who can't let their children make their own mistakes, friends or choices.

The decision that we've come to as parents. That Miss A isn't ready for this kind of more grown up friendship, and nor are we prepared for it. All children, behave and say the wrong thing at times, we're not denying that. Our girls do too. But I don't think it will hurt, to return to the more innocent play of playgroup, and children her own age for now.

Have you ever felt like you needed to involve yourself in any of your children's friendships?
and put a stop to it in anyway?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Blogging World

I'm relatively new to blogging.
It was something I started when we left Perth to begin living the residential life in a mining town. To help keep in touch with friends and family, who we now live far away from. But also in large part, to allow myself to feel that I was still part of a life that exists outside of this town.
Before starting my own, I rarely read blogs, if at all. I knew nothing of this online world. The internet world for me consisted of a too often spot of online shopping, and Facebook. With an occasional check of my email.
I have always been a voracious reader. But having children, has meant little time to read like I used to. Books take longer to finish, magazines can sit unread for days at times. I just don't have the space in my day, to read as much as I want to.
What I have found, is that reading blogs, is now a perfect match to my time poor self. Small snippets of thought, different voices, able to be enjoyed in just a few moments. With an endless choice of topics to choose from, and styles of writing to learn from and enjoy. From recipes, to montessori, fashion. All can be enjoyed in small moments in your day.
I love the momentary escape, that reading one can give to my day while I'm enjoying a small window of time to me. If I'm lucky, while also drinking a still HOT cup of something caffeine. The chance to read and connect with others, in the midst of what are often busy dusty days, can sometimes be the small breath of something different, that I just needed.

Some blogs that I enjoy spending my time with
How we Montessori - The first blog I've ever followed, long before I started my own. A great blog for age related, Montessori based activities, that are easy to be applied to home play.
Baby Mac - This is an all round lifestyle blog. Lots of topics, plus she owns an enviously beautiful home. Lots of lovely photos. I just enjoy this light hearted blog.
Hugo & Elsa - A small taste of Tasmania. With stunning photography and food.
House Nerd - Everybody loves peeping into other peoples homes, and this blog peeks into some amazing ones.
Che & Fidel - I love her notes on practicing simplicity
Strayed from the Table - For anyone needing inspiration to grow their own vegetables at home.
Bungalow Bliss - Follows a home renovation on a Californian Bungalow, and all the twists and turns of life that occur along the way.
A Little Delightful - This blog always leaves me wanting to buy what she posts. Oh, and make oreo pops.

What I am missing. A great blog about books that I really click with. And surely, there must be a girl like me somewhere, enduring the same red dirt lifestyle that I am, and writing about it.
Know anybody?
What blogs do you enjoy reading?

Monday, 11 November 2013

Little Red & Toby

Another hot, sunny afternoon. This one spent lazily in the backyard. A chance to sit back and relax, while the girls occupy themselves in their small wading pool, splashing around and cooling off.
The girls being somewhat, penned into their wading pool, doesn't just give me a little break. But also their treasured companions. The fifth and sixth members of our families. Perhaps, you could say, the most hard worked members. Meeting demands, the need for cuddles, comfort and company, not just through the day, but all through the night. I, at least, get to sleep in my own bed, without little fingers and hands searching for me. Looking for my eyes, nostrils and ears to poke and explore.
Little Red and Toby, as they're affectionately known, have taken a slightly harder battering than usual since moving to these parts. They're dropped in the red dirt regularly. Dragged in it. Crawled over by dirty knees. Held by dirty hands. And all the while, rarely allowed out of sight for a wash. They are looking, a little worse for wear. Slowly turning a slight shade of pinky red. But then maybe we all are. And we've just not realised it.

These two, are truly treasured possessions. Watched over by everyone. Needed so much, that they can't ever be lost. Rarely allowed beyond the house, or car. We have found an identical twin to Little Red, who can fill in at a moments notice,  if ever needed. But Toby. He's our only. We did find a twin for Toby. But he was just too new, shiny and white to ever be able to fill in without a certain someone noticing.

Both girls chose their own comforters. Their own favourite toy. Neither were the toy, that I thought, or hoped that they might love. I am often surprised, and was slow to appreciate, the strong emotional feelings that they both have for their little friends. How much comfort they bring, especially during what must feel like, long nights on their own in their beds.

Enjoy the well deserved break you two. You can have a wash soon, I promise.
Do your children have a must go everywhere comforter? Did it survive all that love without being lost, torn or worn out?

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Family Table { Our first harvest }

The vegetable garden, has yielded it's first harvest. Yellow cherry tomatoes. They have been slowly ripening over the last week, and today I decided, they were yellow enough. Ripe enough to eat.
I planned to make a salad with them for our dinner tonight. To celebrate our first taste of home grown vegetable.

But my eldest daughter had other plans. Quietly eating, next to all of them, while they sat in the small blue bowl I'd left them in. Well, they were for eating I suppose. And who could blame her. Once I tried one, I completely understood. These were the most sweetest tasting tomatoes that I'd tasted in a long time. I'd forgotten what a "real" homegrown tomato tasted like.

It's a rare thing, for my children to spontaneously eat vegetables like this. Perhaps the novelty of watching them grow for weeks and picking them together, made them all that more enticing to eat.
Whatever the reason, I'm pleased to see her eating them with such joy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Mine Tour

I wasn't going to post this post.

It's so unglamorous. But then, so is this place. There's no point pretending it's any better than it actually is. Looking at these photos makes me wonder, what are we doing up here exactly? This part of the world, this lifestyle, it's really not me at all. Or us. But, this is the reason we're here. Living in such an isolated place. Mining. My husbands work.

A family day at the mine. A chance to look around the office and area where my husband works. To see where all that red dust, which settles on everything and everyone in town, comes from.

Doesn't it just make you want to move here?!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Garden Share Collective { Our Vegetable garden at 7 weeks }

A monthly (and my first), post for the Garden Share Collective. Started by the lovely Liz from The Strayed Table to encourage more people to grow their own organic food. A blogging community, who share a garden update about their own vegetable patches, big or small. What is growing, what has been harvested and what has made it to the do-list.

Well, my garden at seven weeks young, is slowly blossoming. We created it, to both grow our own vegetables, but to also instil the joy of looking after, and watching plants grow with our two young daughters. It is our first vegetable garden. We are growing vegetables, sunflowers and marigolds from a mixture of seedlings and plants.


Our climate is a little on the hot side in this part of the country. Most days are in the high 30's. And, at the moment, it keeps getting gradually hotter and hotter by the week. Despite this, with twice daily watering, it still continues to thrive.

What do we have growing in our garden at the moment? Yellow and red tomatoes, cucumbers, purple runner beans, zucchini, chilli's, parsley, lettuce, coriander, and corn. We also have a potted Valencia Orange tree, lemon tree, and a New Norcia Olive tree which were relocated with the rest of our belongings from Perth. We had a limited amount of seedlings available to choose from when we first planted the vegetable garden, and as my brother was helping us with the construction of the vegetable garden, he was the one who quickly chose seeds and seedlings to plant. A lot of things that were on my shopping wish list to plant and grow, were not in stock unfortunately. The joys of living in a remote part of the country. You can read my post about the making of our vegetable garden here. As time goes on, I hope to be more organised in what we plant to eat at our table. I can already see, that we're going to have more purple runner beans than our small family could ever need. We haven't quite found a balance of planting that works for us yet. But this was a vegetable garden, planted in haste, before the temperatures became too warm. 

What do I have on my to do for next month. Some more considered planting, basil, carrots, and spring onions. All of which I use often in the kitchen. And to look into a small compost bin system for our food scraps. And, of course, a little bit of weeding. They grow as quickly as our vegetables.

'Til next month!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Mr Mo

It's November. Which means it's Movember time. The annual, putting down of the razors, and shaping of the facial hair, all in the name of charity. All in the name of changing the face of men's health. That being, prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health.
I just love what the Mr Men series of books have unveiled in time for this annual charity event, a tache-twirling Mr Mo.

Isn't he the cutest! Almost makes me want to grow my own Mo.
My husband is still undecided if he will repeat last years attempt at growing a Mo. Last year's was somewhere between the undercover and the trucker style mo. Personally, I hope he does, it's a great cause. Aside from minor pash rash, it's fun to watch a carefully constructed Mo grow. But maybe something a little softer and wispier this year would be nice. More like Mr Mo's.

20% from every Mr Mo book sold will be donated to Movember. So if you can't or won't grow a Mo, maybe this is the best way to go! You can buy Mr Mo here from Puffin books.

The Family Table { The Recipe Journal }

"Family ties are precious threads, 
no matter where we roam. 
They draw us close to those we love, 
and pull our hearts toward home."

My recipe journal. A handwritten walk down memory lane of food shared. The best of the best recipes, that I've eaten throughout my life. It was something I started after seeing my Mum's own recipe journal, on one of her trips to visit us. The sort of sentimental possession that travels only in your hand luggage. Too precious for a suitcase. Too irreplaceable if lost.

Flipping through the pages, I always feel nostalgic. Dinners remembered. Moments shared from a younger more simple time. Recipes that I associate with their "true" owners. That are shared seldomly, and only with a select few. My recipe journal, is a testament, to the large, extended family that I was lucky to grow up with. Of strong characters who lived, and still live, long fulfilling lives. Passing down stories. Recipes. Of people still present. And of people who have passed on, but who's presence is still felt in conversation.

Food, and the sharing of food, has always been a large part of my family. It has shaped my memories in more ways then I realised. It makes me sentimental for certain people, who made a recipe their own, in such a way, that nobody can ever quite make it as well. For those afternoons, of endless cups of coffees around Nanna and Grandads table with chocolate cake.

Voices speak to me through their individually, distinctive handwriting. And confirm, that this recipe was theirs, to be shared and enjoyed by others.

Eating around our family table, now that we are together as a family every night, feels more important to me now than ever before. So many of my family memories, from my childhood, involve sitting down together, sharing food, talking. It is something, that I also want to pass on to my children.

Don't get me wrong. My daughters are two and a half years, and fourteen months old. Dinner time is often a rowdy, noisy, messy affair. Consisting of a little gentle coaxing for my eldest, who is often full after 1 or 2 mouthfuls, as only a toddler could be. And sadly, on those days where everybody has reached breaking point by dinner time, and toddler and adult tantrums loom, we might just be watching Peppa Pig while eating too. Whatever works, right? But the aims there. To create that family feel. To create our own family traditions and ways of doing things. There's no gourmet fair cooked daily here. Just good home cooked, mostly healthy meals, with lots of flavour, that aim to feed and please all 4 of us. Without fuss, in a minimum amount of time.

At our table, there is one recipe, that everybody loves. That the girls both eat seconds of (a rare occurrence). My recipe, that I'm now known for in our house. And it has even made Mum's recipe journal. Worthy of putting my name in front of. Hope it's as popular in your home.

Carla's Oven-baked Tuna Risotto
875ml chicken stock
10g butter
2 tspns olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
425g can tuna in oil, drained gently
1 cup frozen peas
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbspns lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180C, or 160C fan forced.
Bring stock to boil in medium sized saucepan. Meanwhile, melt butter with olive oil in large saucepan, cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens. Add rice, stir to coat in onion mixture. Stir in hot stock and tuna.
Place risotto mixture in a large shallow baking dish, cover with foil. Bake in oven, 15 min, stirring halfway through cooking time. Uncover, bake another 20 minutes. Stir in peas, top with tomatoes, bake uncovered, about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from oven, stir in lemon juice.

A family table series. That I aim to blog about regularly. Sharing thoughts,occasional recipes and memories, of all that occurs and has occured around our family table.

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