Monday, 31 March 2014

I Live in A Mining Town { Could You? }

Could you live here?

Before moving here, I would have answered no. No bloody way. In fact I did discount ever living in a mining town in a handful of particularly heated conversations with my husband. But now I find myself living here so I can't quite say that anymore.

March marks nine months of living in Newman for us. And it has gone surprisingly quick. I won't lie, living here has been an adjustment. There are some BIG things I really miss about the outside world. And occasionally, you might just find me suffering a case of the Newman Blues. A slump that seems to infiltrate slowly into your psyche, leaving you feeling down and questioning what the hell you're doing living in such a place.

But ultimately, you have to make the most of your situation. And while perhaps sounding a little too similar to some older members of my family, ultimately, you just have to get on with things and make the most of what you have and where you find yourself.

Source Pinterest ie. I have no idea. Apologies if it's yours.

So where am I attempting to bloom? Newman, a place where there isn't nearly enough rain for most of the year (which can sometimes make blooming difficult). A 12 hour drive from Perth, and just over 4 hours drive from the coast. We're not near anything really (if you don't count some lovely national parks). We're in mining country. It's ridiculously hot for too long a part of the year, and it's a little red dirt dusty.

So what changed my adamant I never want to live in a mining town mind, and brought us to living in such a place, far from home? Family. My exhausted self who was tired of looking after two children on her own every second week while her husband was away working. And the fact that financially we needed me to be back at work, at least part-time, and I simply wasn't ready or willing to go back there just yet and leave our girls in daycare.

So this was the compromise. Two years in a mining town. Our rent paid for us. Utilities paid for us. A huge change in our lifestyle that allows me to continue being a stay at home Mum. While also having my husband home every night to help out with the night waking and 5pm cooking tea everybody is tired and messy hour.

It was a big choice, and one which we've chosen to look on as an adventure. We've had our down moments, but have never truly regretted moving here. While the day to day of living in such an isolated place can be difficult at times, the different experiences we've had, and the chance to bond as a family unit on an everyday basis, and for the first time, have all made this decision to move here the right one.

So what is here? Well there isn't too much in the way of shopping, eating out or any of those sorts of things in Newman. It is certainly expensive to get out of town as often as you might want to or need to for your own sanity, (if you thought Perth was expensive then you should accommodate yourself with Pilbara prices). And in all honesty there's not much to really occupy yourself with as an adult here (you either occupy yourself with your children, the gym or the pub after work hours, unless you're doing distance study or have a blog!)

But what has kept me sane, and made my days both bearable and  enjoyable has been the friends I've made since moving here. The Mum's and children who we catch up with for playdates, run into at Kindermusik, at our dancing lessons and playgroup. Who help fill the hours in our day. While some might talk of cliqueness, I've personally experienced nothing but friendliness and support since living here.

Mostly we're all in the same boat. Missing family. Missing civilisation. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes a lot. There are times you just need to have a big whinge to get over it and move on already. I'm lucky enough to be able to say that I have people I can whinge to openly, and not be judged for it. That's a good friend right there.

I know that there will be a part of me relieved to leave this town. But the longer I am here the more I realise how much I might just miss living here too. It will leave an indelible imprint on me as a person. An enjoyment of being in the outdoors (by that I don't mean our backyard or the park), and a taste for 4WD'ing and the simpler things that come with that, which weren't ever a part of who I was before moving here.

The red dirt really does start seeping it's way into your blood. It is a different land up here to the Australia that I knew previously. You can't describe it until you've been here and travelled it's gorges, rockpools and stunning coastlines.  It's undeniable, living here can be harsh and brings with it some difficulties, but it is a beautiful part of our country. In some ways, the true spirit of Australia can be felt here, more than it can in any other place I've lived or visited. While some cities might have buzz and energy, travelling this part of Australia shows you it's true heart.

I know that when we do come to leave here, that I will take many fond memories of our time here with me. Of the experiences that we shared as a family. The adventures that we had, the places we explored and the friends that we have met.

If you move here, don't spend your time sitting on the couch, in your backyard or driving around town. Get yourself a 4WD and get out there and enjoy it (never thought I'd find myself writing that in a sentence!)

We definitely won't regret our time spent living and exploring this part of the world.

Think you could live here?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

What's On Repeat This Week { Radiohead }

"music in the soul
can be heard by the Universe"

Inspired by The Lover List's Tuesday Tunes.

If you haven't visited Brooke from The Lover List, then you really should. She has a wonderful blog and great choice in music. You will be inspired and you will end up making purchases on your iTunes. Credit card be warned.

If you were lucky enough to be brought up listening to your parents music, than it really can be the soundtrack to your life's memories. Childhood car trips listening to Dad's Sultan's of Swing tape (boy was repeat an annoying thing then), Mum's car trips with Simply Red, hauling dug up armfuls of pesky ragwort up the hillside of our paddock with the No Mercy album playing loudly on the back verandah for all to hear (a good reason to dump your bundle and get back to the end of the paddock and as far away from that noise as you can). Watching Nanna dancing like she's drying herself with a towel at impromptu family ABBA dancing parties (my Uncle is married to a Swedish girl, so we can be excused over that one).

It is no secret in this house that I'm a lover of music. I listen to anything. I listen to it often. And if I happen to be driving on my own sans children, I listen to it loud.  My playlist is wide and varied. I do not discriminate. You will find Enrique Iglesias, Neil Young, Pavarotti, Ministry of Sound and everything in between. 

But what I am is a repeater of music. Yes I will get to the end of my current favourite song, and I will hit that repeat button over and over again. And as often as I can get away with (surprisingly some people find this attribute annoying). Listening to my Mum's music playing over and over again while she is in the shower tells me that this might be a genetic thing ( I never need to hear Sail Away With Me by David Gray ever again in my lifetime, sorry Mum!) So I don't bother fighting this urge.

Posts like these, will be an occasional sum up of what I'm listening to on constant repeat at the moment. Whenever something makes me hit that repeat button over and over again, I promise to share it with you. Aren't you glad?

So what song inspired me to start this today. 

House of Cards by Radiohead. An oldie that I somehow missed and happened to hear only for the first time yesterday. My use of the repeat button has made up for that since then don't you worry.
You can listen to it here

This song makes me think of an old flat mate of mine, who I'm lucky enough to still call a good friend. Miss your company Kathy. Sending this one out to you with memories of laying on the couch with Bono stalking me. If I'd been there in 2007, we would definitely have listened to this while sharing one last drink before going to bed.

Love music?
Have a song or album that takes you back to another place?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

I've had several requests for this recipe after I used this cake in my Cup of Tea with Me Post. So here it is, and also in it's true uncropped image. Unlike the one I had to use previously. A lesson to never turn your back, however momentarily, on a delicious looking cake when you have a peckish husband roaming around the house.

Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

2 whole oranges
250g almond meal
250g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn baking powder

60gm freshly squeezed orange juice
80gm caster sugar
80gm citrus marmalade

Place oranges into saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer very gently, with lid closed for 45 minutes. Remove and discard water. Allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Once oranges have cooled, remove top and bottom of oranges, and cut into pieces.
Place all cake ingredients into food processor and process until mixture resembles a smooth batter.
Pour into tin and bake 40-45 minutes.

Once cake is out of the oven you can prepare the syrup. Place orange juice, sugar and marmalade into a small saucepan and over low heat continually stir the syrup until all of the sugar is dissolved. Using a skewer, pierce cake multiple times before pouring over syrup and allow it to absorb before serving.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Returning to Work { The Paid Kind }

For the last three years, I have been lucky to be able to call myself a stay at home Mum. It has been the hardest, most exhausting, and rewarding job that I've ever had the pleasure of calling mine. At times pre-children, I had considered some of my previous bosses to be a little bit on the unreasonable and difficult side of things, but these two daughters of mine have out-matched, out-bossed and surpassed any dentist that I've ever had the displeasure at times of working with (my "real" profession is that of a dental hygienist).

Other bosses may have demanded and asked me to work faster, to clean more peoples teeth in my day, encourage patients to buy this, suggest that they may need this filling replaced. But none have ever accompanied me on my every toilet trip, sat on my lap every time I tried to eat my breakfast or lunch, ate my food right of my plate, or laid on the floor and kicked and screamed at me when they found out they couldn't have their own way. They didn't follow me around all day, assisting and micro managing me in everything that I did. They haven't woken me in the night and kept me awake for hours on end, or consistently interrupted and needed something every time I try to have a conversation with somebody else. They haven't tried to snatch my phone out of my hand mid-sentence because they want to talk to Grandma, leaving me having to walk around aimlessly (whilst talking) so that my phone is out of their reach. And no dentist has ever kept me so busy that every cup of coffee I tried to drink was lukewarm by the time I actually had the chance to sit down and enjoy it. If they had, I would have quit. One finger style.

Yes, these two little angels of mine. Sweet as they can be and as delightful as they are for most of the day, have worked me harder than anybody else has ever done previously.

I don't need a job, I already have one. And it is more than full-time. But it doesn't pay so well. And sometimes, a little break from this job, might not be such a bad thing for me. Because God knows it's hard to get a break at home. If Mum's in the house, she is always needed for something. Regardless of where I try to hide, or how boring I try to make myself seem.

So I'm returning to casual work, to have a break from what I now consider to be my "real" job, being a Mum. The fact that it pays, is an added bonus. And blissfully, it's not of the dental kind. I don't think I'm quite ready, nor have the head space for that over-scheduled, busy world just yet.

A stroke of good timing has landed me a casual job at our local visitors centre/cafe/gift shop. A chance to meet some of the relaxed holidaying folk who visit and pass through our town. A real departure from my dental background, but one I'm looking forward to. Now that I'm a Mum, I no longer feel as career orientated as I used to, and still dream (like so many of us do) of a job that I could do from home during school hours.

In the meantime while I'm still working on that dream, I'll happily clean, make scones, serve coffee and chat to grey nomads. All the while enjoying the chance to enjoy uninterrupted adult conversations, and hopefully a little peace and quiet from toddler banter. It doesn't read like work to me at all really.

Have you returned back to paid work?
Found it's a nice break away from home? 
Or just added to the chaos?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Doing Less and A Girls Only Picnic By the Sea Shore

A lazy weekend. One spent mostly on our own while my husband was away on a boy's camping trip. There was a time when my husband worked fly in fly out from Perth. Leaving me with our daughter, then eventually our two daughters, every second week.

Now that my youngest Jessie is older, I no longer feel daunted by caring for our two on my own. Despite this, the same old worried feelings that I often felt when my husband was working away, crept back in. What was I going to do on my lonesome to keep these two entertained? Even with a morning spent at the local pool with a friend, it left plenty of empty time to fill.

What I have learnt from similar anxious feelings like this. That when you have a strong urge to do more, often the best choice is to do less. What could have been a weekend full of outings and catch ups with friends to get us out of the house, became something completely the opposite.

We baked. We ate what we had in the fridge and cupboards. We played. I kept things simple; meals, activities and expectations of myself. I didn't rush through the household chores. I stayed in my pyjamas for longer than I would normally. We just did less.

And what I found. More calm moments. More stillness. More concentration in the girls play. Less tantrums and end of day raggedy behaviour.

It all reminds me of conversations had with my Nanna and my Mum. About times past, where not everybody drove cars, and trips out of the house with children were weekly ventures. Not daily rushed affairs to get out the door to dance lessons, play group. music and other such things. While the boredom of that type of living seems stifling to me, I can see the positives in it. More chances for children to just be. To play in their own little world. 

The truth, that sometimes that need to be social and busy, is more our own, and not our children's. Before this weekend I wouldn't have considered us to be "over-scheduled" in regards to the girls planned activities. But now I can't help but wonder if we might be. Just a little. 

Our afternoon trip to the "sea shore". Imagined and created by Amelie. A bike ride to the shops to collect food for our picnic. A rug to stop the sand from spoiling our food. Talk in hushed tones due to a nearby sleeping baby. Endless cups of tea. It was delightful.

Do you find doing less makes parenting easier?
Or are your children better when they're kept a little busy?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Oven-Baked Tuna and Tomato Risotto

With a husband away camping for a long weekend it's been just myself and the girls. I worried that the girls might have missed their Dad (he has been out of phone range, so we really haven't heard from him at all). But things have gone more smoother than I expected.

I won't say that they haven't missed him. But they have been their usual selves, playing happily together one minute and snatching toys from one another the next. All of which was a huge relief. Nothing worse than trying to calm a toddler and trying to explain the reasons why we can't call Daddy today.

So after a busy morning at the pool with friends and over tired children this afternoon, it called for a simple filling meal tonight. Our go to. One that everybody eats without complaint. 

Oven-baked Tuna and Tomato 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.

Hope yours was a relaxing weekend x

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Yellow { and The Power of Colour }

My emotions became the better of me during the week. I found myself in a slump. An emotional slump. A blogging slump. I was in a mood. And a very negative one at that.

I was over the constant 40 degree heat day after day after day, over the repetitive sameness that can be living in this town at times. Over being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Annoyed that it's costing the four of us $6,000 to return home to Tasmania for Christmas. I wanted to be back in amongst civilisation. Visit the beach. Visit a trendy cafe. Be anywhere else but here.

I found myself on Pinterest one night (when I should have been in bed sleeping). Pinning wildly. Surrounded by so many beautiful and inspiring images and ideas. And I was reminded of the power of colour to lift and brighten your mood.

Yellow truly is "my" colour. I find it so uplifting and happy. You can't help but think good thoughts when you look at images such as these. They are certain to put a smile on your dial.

What I'm clearly realising, is that I need more splashes of yellow in my life and home. I've always coveted a yellow dala horse so it's probably time I tried to find one. And while I continue to try and convince my husband that we should paint our dining chairs yellow, I might just have to settle for some yellow nail polish, for now. But mostly what I need is to buy a house with stairs, because of all these images, the yellow wall papered stairs are my absolute favourite. Instant happy.

Do you have a colour?
Does it brighten your mood?

Linking up with Sonia from Life, Love and Hiccups and Maxabella Loves for their weekend rewind x

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Cup of Tea With Me

Hello there, welcome to My Yellow Heart. If we haven't met before, and you're joining me through Pip's Blog With Pip linkin, then it's lovely to meet you and thanks for stopping by.

On a whim, I enrolled in the Blog with Pip course to improve my blogging skills. It has been a busy last few weeks. I've met a lovely supportive group of fellow bloggers who have inspired me to continue what I'm doing here, to do it better, and in a more creative and smart way.

Pip has been inundated from endless questions from all of us, and is truly the most patient person you could ask for. Teaching a group of people how to get your own blogging host, domain, change to wordpress is no easy task (one I'm still in the process of changing). Something always goes wrong, codes don't work, or it can simply feel overwhelming. Nothing has been too much to ask of Pip, at any time. She has been a huge support.

If you're considering enrolling in the next intake of the Blog with Pip course, please do. I can't recommend it highly enough. You certainly won't regret it.

My final assignment, to end our blogging course with. A way for you to get to know me a little better, if you don't already. So please feel free, to pour yourself a cup of tea, enjoy a piece of orange syrup cake and sit with me. I even brought out my special tea cosy, a gift from my Nanna especially for the occasion, and I don't do that for just anybody in 40 degree weather.

And for those in my blogging group who are amazingly crafty, know that this knitted, or is it crocheted (I'm not actually sure about that one, I think crochet) tea cosy from my Nanna might be as close as this blog gets to a knitting needle for quite sometime yet.

1 } Name, state and a bit about what you do on a daily basis.
I'm Carla, and I live in the West Australian Pilbara. Think lots of red dirt and dust, hot weather and stunning coastlines. I like to look at it as our red adventure. I am a stay at home Mum to our two spirited daughters Amelie and Jessie. What do I do on a daily basis? Well I pick up endless amounts of toys scattered on the floor, tidy, cook, do craft, play dolls, build up ups and clean (occasionally). And while I might complain about it some days, I really wouldn't want to have it any other way.

2 } Favourite things to do.
I enjoy cooking, pottering around home, reading, music and writing. Living in this part of the world has really inspired us to travel and see new places while we're living here. Getaways to the coast, day trips to all the amazing rock pools and national parks that surround where we live is definitely a favourite thing to do for me at the moment. The landscape is amazing and so different to what I grew up surrounded by (I'm originally from Tasmania).

3 } Favourite place to be.
I miss walks along the beach. I miss a cool sea breeze. The beach is easily my favourite place to be.

4 } Favourite things to eat and drink.
I love seafood. And I also really love it when somebody cooks for me, then I really don't mind what I'm eating! I'm equal parts tea and coffee drinker and I love nothing better than a glass of wine, or a vodka lime and soda (fresh lime only please).

5 } Favourite inspirations.
I'm inspired by people who take risks, and make big changes to achieve their dreams and get to where they want to be. I love listening to peoples hopes and plans for themselves and their families.

6 } Something I want to know more about.
I'd love to know more about my Portuguese family history, but lack of time and language barriers have made things complicated so far. On the to do list.

7 } Some favourite blogs.
I enjoy reading lots of blogs. Some inspire, some give me a taste of that beach lifestyle that I miss, others give me house envy or food envy, or simply just make me laugh. I love some of the more well-known ones such as BabyMac, Maxabella Loves, Tales from A Happy House, and Life, Love and Hiccups. But I also really love some of the smaller blogs such as A Little Bit Country, Teacups Too, Honey and Fizz, House Nerd and Cake Crumbs and Beach Sand.

The blogging world is like a rabbit warren, you can so easily get lost in it and find yourself up at 11pm and still reading!

Find yourself doing the same?
What are your favourite blogs to read?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Simple Apple Loaf

If you're anything like me, than variety and trying to encourage yor children to eat different things is important to you, especially when you have a toddler who is picky about what she eats. 

Anybody would think that we had a pet monkey at home with the amount of bananas that are eaten in our house at times. It is the only reliable food that my youngest will eat some days. While it's not the end of the world, and she is of course thriving and healthy, I can't help but feel a little worried and annoyed about a diet that consists of bananas, milk, ritz crackers (which must have nothing on top), tuna, scrambled eggs, sausages, rice and porridge. Oh yes and chocolate, she can bring herself to eat that.

So I am always attempting to smuggle in any other fruit, aside from banana, or vegetable into any dish I can, in the hope that it might actually be eaten.

This loaf passed Jessie's lick test and is also enjoyed by everybody else. It has become a bit of a go to, there's nothing in the cupboard recipe. We always have the ingredients in the kitchen and it's so delicious and simple. And never dry.

Apple Loaf

2 cups self-raising flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/2 tspn cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 eggs
4 medium granny smith apples, grated with their skin still on (I've also used red apples, and it still tastes just as nice)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 14x20cm loaf tin.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, spices and salt.
In another jug or bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add in the apple and mix until just combined.
Pour mixture into the loaf tin, smooth the top, scatter over flaked almonds (optional) and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. (Cover with foil if getting too brown around 35 minutes).

This is a Veggie Smugglers recipe. I can't recommend Wendy's cookbooks highly enough if you're struggling with a picky toddler. I'd love to say that my girls devour their salads and vegetables, but they just don't, as much as I've tried. Her recipes are great at sneaking as many vegetables as you can into your children's diet. I know that some are anti this idea of sneaking fruit and vegetables into food. But I believe more in exposing children to different tastes and textures, and creating a love for that taste, which will hopefully lead to them being able to eat them in a less sneaky form in the future.

That's how I choose to look at it anyway!!

Enjoy x

Friday, 7 March 2014

Offspring { Please Come Back Patrick Reid }

Did you catch the preview of the new season of Offspring this week?

Season five hasn't even started, and already I find myself quietly crying over the preview. How beautiful was it. And the most adorable and sweetest of babies (who even looks a little like Patrick). And the Proudman family. Billie. I still recall her line in the final episode at the pool where she says to Nina, "I'll cover you. If you can't love this baby, I'll love it until you're ready." Gorgeous. All of it.

With or without Patrick, the show will always be amazing. And as much as I love Billie, my girl crush on Asher Keddie, as herself in real life, and as Nina will continue. But what I really want to know is, where are you Patrick? And please come back. Even if it is a Bold in the Beautiful style resurrection from the dead. I seriously won't mind. Maybe you have just been off hunting for bears again. I will happily forgive the complete lack of plot line. No questions asked. No explanation necessary. Just come back.

I don't know what to expect, or how I'm going to feel about this upcoming season. I can't imagine Offspring without Patrick. It's like a little bit of grief that I'm still learning to accept and live with (yes I know, he isn't a "real" person, thank you caring husband for reminding me). This season is going to be a tear jerker. The playing with the handmade rocking chair. All the missed moments. It will continue to be the only show, where no talking or disruption of any kind is allowed while it's on, excepting the ad breaks.

In the meantime, while I patiently wait for mid May to come around quickly, all I think I can realistically hope for, is that Nina's constant daydreaming continues throughout this upcoming season. So that I can see Patrick a few more times. Preferably without his top on. Or smiling. Exactly like this.

Hope I'm not asking for too much.

Any guesses on what Nina (and Patrick) might have chosen to name their daughter?

Linking up with Life, Love and Hiccups and Maxabella Loves for their Weekend Rewind.

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Photo Safari { Our Weekend }

I'm doing a four week blogging course with Pip from Meet me at Mikes. It is keeping me a little busy. Tweaking html, setting up to change my blog over to wordpress. My to do list keeps growing longer and longer. And it's all computer related, which isn't my strong point. So finally I'm getting around to completing and posting my first mini assignment. I opted out of the first assignment, which was to post a podcast of yourself on your blog. Let's just say, I did the podcast, and I didn't like the sound of my own voice. Better I stick to writing.

So here it is. My first assignment, which is in truth the second assignment. A photo safari. Five photos that capture my weekend.

Ordinary moments. A nothing special weekend, where lots was achieved around the house and yard. Those kind of catch up, tidy up weekends, that sometimes you need to have every now and again. That completely describes ours.

We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary, and I am loving the colours in the flowers that my husband gave to me.

We watched our big girl ride all the way down the street, and all the way back home for the very first time.

I managed to get through the ever increasing pile of hand washing that was accumulating in my laundry. Anybody else noticing how so many more clothes are now hand wash only? Even children's clothes. It's getting a little ridiculous.

Amelie sat through her first movie, The Little Mermaid. And was mesmerised. (See I told you it was an ordinary type weekend). Me, I couldn't move on from the fact that The Little Mermaid was made in 1989. What?!!! I swear it was the 90's. Watching this movie with Amelie, made me feel rather old.

A little bit of painting with water.

All intertwined with endless cups of tea.

There is something about taking photos of ordinary moments in your weekend that can really make you appreciate the magic and simplicity that is your life. And make you feel entirely grateful for all that you have. Thanks for this assignment Pip, I will definitely do this again x
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