Thursday, February 20, 2014

The blessings of home produce...

So, thanks to a husband with a persistently green thumb, and the Divine blessings of favourable weather and soil.... my shopping list in the fresh produce department has slowly diminished.  We have an ever-abundant supply of fresh veg, from tomatoes, to cucumbers, to zucchini, to corn, to spring onions, to potatoes, to pumpkin, lettuce, carrots, celery, capsicum (peppers), etc (naturally the produce varies depending on the season).  Then there's the fruit (actually I think tomatoes fall in that category, strictly speaking...) - rockmelon, watermelon, plums, nectarines, apricots and

lemons....(it's still green now, but I am told it will turn yellow, eventually) 

 and peaches (why is their season so short?)...

Then there are the gorgeous roses that can grace our table at any time (well summer time, anyhow)...

But there is one thing that I nagged/hassled  oh so gently, continued to strongly sweetly suggest to my dear husband.  And I was pretty subtle about it, too.  "I love having lots of eggs, dear."  "Do you have idea of the price of eggs nowadays, Andrew?"  "Do you have any idea of the versatility of eggs, honey?"  And this line was my favourite:  "It can't be that hard to build a chook pen, can it?"

And I knew he could do it.  With no plan on paper but a kind-of-make-it-up-as-you-go plan in his head. We got there he and I.   He as the master crafter. Me as the tough-as-brick (it rhymes, okay!) side-kick. He survived despite my trusting, "Dear, are you sure that's a good way to do it..." and my whiney subtle, "dear..isn't that enough work for today? There is dinner to cook, you know!"

But we worked...

                                                                                                                                                                    ...and worked, and it all took shape...
                   
 ...we even worked right till dusk.  Yeah, I was basically twisting wire in my sleep that night.  The chicken run is made using our old trampoline frame, by the way (yeah, got that idea from google...).


...and it wasn't long before we had 10 chooks in our pen (kindly donated by a friend's parents) and they all look kind of like this pretty girl.


The chooks arrived Saturday and then Sunday morning I heard that telling "I've-laid-an-egg-come-and-get-it" sound coming from the direction of the chook pen.  I ran outside and soon was holding our first egg.  I did an excited little dance, brought it inside where it was duly oohed and aahed over...


...and stroked to ensure it was real...


which it was...and we've been enjoying fresh, golden yolked eggs ever since.  Yum!

Now we just need a cow.  But that's anudder story.  The story that will never be.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Blessed Christmas to you all...

From us  to you and yours:  A blessed Christmas. 

 May the true JOY and PEACE
 of knowing JESUS CHRIST as your LORD 
and SAVIOUR be yours
 this Christmas time and in 2014.

The blog has been neglected.  Alas.  Yet again.  But Christmas time seems the perfect time to make amends also in the blogging world.  I have excuses.  But I don't need excuses. Really.  I don't. But just in case you're wondering why this blog space has been so quiet in the last few months, well...for a large part of the last 2 terms I have been filling in at school here in Albany, running (and teaching many of) the high-school English classes. It's been a busy time.  Trying to get back into (it's been a long time) the swing of lesson planning and marking, etc.  It's been a bit sad leaving my little man at my Mum and Dad's (where he was sooh happy, thankfully, and apparently so well-behaved) 3 times a week, rather than being at home with him.  But sometimes the Lord calls us to do things that we are really not feeling that up to doing, and He gives us the strength to do them! And it was a good experience.  It was fun to be back in the classroom.  It was tiring, but rejuvenating at the same time, in a strange kind of way.  And it made me remember:  Blogging, writing, doing fun things is a blessing, a privilege - something not to be taken for granted either.  And it made me remember that I don't need excuses.  Sometimes life gets crazy and that's okay.  Blogging isn't life.  It's fun -both writing and reading blogs -  But the real life is what happens every day.... those struggles, those joys, that work, that blessing, the big things and the small things.... and blogging about them is good, it can be wholesome, but it doesn't change their reality, or add to their reality or make them more real.

After that lengthy intro...what I really just wanted to do was share with you some small snippets from our life in 2013:

This is us...photo was taken in Bali where we were blessed to spend two weeks in October.  It was so good to just relax together as a family.  It also helped to cure some of our itching feet, for a time anyway.  Not that we aren't content with our lives in Albany - we are - but sometimes we still find ourselves wondering when we are heading on a new adventure... (yes, I know, life is an adventure...but...)


Some more Bali photos:


Here are our two oldest girls....Kirilee and Shiana (photo also taken in Bali).  Kirilee has just finished year 9 and recently started her first job - working part time at a Fish and Chip shop just up the road from our house.  She loooves to sew and spends many hours in our sewing room.  If she is not in the sewing room she will be found in the kitchen, begging to try another cake recipe, or a different meal idea.  I am usually very happy to oblige.  


Kirilee and her Dad...

Shiana just keeps growing and growing and has overshot Kirilee in height.  I am just waiting for her to stretch past me now!  She looves horses, has lessons every Friday and is thrilled to have a couple of her horse-riding teacher's horses in our paddock.  She gets to ride whenever she wants and gets to spend time just enjoying them.  She also loves to read, do crafty things and bake (when her mother allows her...as the clean-up afterward is usually rather dramatic :) ) 


And our youngest daughter, Ashlyn....She's had a pretty good year.  She's slowly maturing and she sure is growing taller too.  She loves any imaginative play and our playroom is transformed from a car, to a plane, to a class-room, to a library, to a shop, to a beauty parlor about 100 times a day.


And then there's our little man who just turned 2.  He never fails to amaze and entertain us!  He looves cars and trucks and trains and anything boyish and will just lay on the floor watching their wheels go round and round.  He loves to talk, and some of his favourite lines/words are: "NOT FUNNY", "MY DO IT", "DELICIOUS", "DISGUSTING".  He loves to have fun with his siblings and is just a bundle of joy.  We are so thankful for this little guy (we are thankful, of course, for all our children)!



 So many wonderful blessings from the hand of a Gracious God. What a wonderful way to go forward into 2014...knowing that His Hand is All-Powerful and that He knows what He is doing.  Always.  And it is always for our good even when we fail to understand it.  May He bless us all in 2014!














Wednesday, October 16, 2013

'Mirror Mirror on the Wall...'

'....who is the fairest of them all?' 
Okay, so our son is not a Queen, let alone a wicked one -as he is so gorgeous- but, the title just seemed to fit the scene perfectly. Lucas loves to look at himself in the mirror, and pulls faces at himself, calling himself 'Kukas.' 




Just a few more photos for good measure: 

Lucas loves to try and 'fix' things...

What a handsome little boy!=) 



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Birthday time...

Birthday time again in our household.  Ashlyn Elise - 8 years old on 24 August...and this is what we did...

Awake at 6am in the attempt to put together the trampoline birthday present before she awoke. Unsuccessful.  What was I thinking?  That our birthday girl would actually sleep in on her birthday?  Yeah, right.  So outside at 6:30, with birthday girl inside watching movie, under the guise that there was something to be readied for the party (to be held later in the day).  No.  'twas not a lie. 'twas something they would use on the party, right?!

Well, aforementioned trampoline was erected and birthday child was duly surprised by her Dad, by being dumped on it with her eyes closed.  The safety net, etc, was erected some time later in the day...just so you know that we are safety conscious here ahem ...


...other presents were received with joy...



...and given with joy...initially...


...until it was realised that none of them were for him, which resulted in a few tears and understanding cuddles from a  giggling sympathetic Mum...



'twas (I think that's my word today) going to be a simple affair with just 4 friends, but somehow it evolved into a colour coordinated beauty salon (run by Shiana and her friend, Chloe) followed by a raclette/gourmet dinner (under the control of Kirilee and yours truly).  Birthday cake (shhh....stolen from my cousin's cake photo on her facebook page - thanks, Erica!) was made by Kirilee.  Balloons, though all helium-held-up looking, are actually taped to the ceiling (also not my idea, but borrowed from my sister - thanks, Denise - who I think borrowed it from someone else - thanks, someone else!).  When will I ever have an original idea??


And here are the princesses...
Dinner was followed by the cake for dessert, and the sparkling candle was pretty cool...


...and then it was home time (driving time for Lucas - as a back seat driver, of course - and me, and clean up time for the rest of them)  worked that out well, hey? - thanks, family!

'twas (there it is again) a lovely day!  We are blessed!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Some bits

Just sharing some things we've been busy with around here in between the daily things that go on around here...

I love that the girls do their own little projects often with very little input from me (apart from the encouragement and complimenting!)

Shiana painted this butterfly for Ashlyn's wall... She painted it across 4 square canvases and then we hung it up with a 1 cm gap in between all of them.  ahem.. grrr... please don't come and measure.  When I suggested to her to paint one picture across 4 canvases, I did not think about the fun I would have hanging them (don't tell anyone about the extra holes behind those pictures) and that was with a measuring tape and all.  Who built this house? I'm sure those walls and ceilings are out by about a foot - it wouldn't have anything to do with my measuring skills.  Surely... I know what you're thinking...poor woman can't even take a photo straight :)


Then she painted these for her purple loving older sister.  The uneven hanging is not me.  Really.  This time the canvases were out.  Honest...


And this painting mistake masterpiece became an earring holder for Ashlyn...


Kirilee loves to sew and crochet and often comes out of our study   sewing room with a project or two like this one:



or this addition to some old shorts/or was that jeans???...

                                      

                                      
 or a beanie for her brother...

                                      
which he is very reluctant to wear...

                                     

I recently picked up some clearance upholstery fabric with an extra 40% off from Spotlight and this meant I could recover our dining chairs.  It was really easy to do, much easier than I thought, especially since the base of the chairs is removable with just 4 screws.  The most labour-intensive thing was removing the old staples, but after that it was super easy and the chairs look so much better for less than $20!  My sister recently (well some time ago, now) did her chairs and I figured that if she could, so could I!  (Well that works with some things, but not all :) )

The old vinyl...tearing and ripping and well, just old...

                                                


...aah, much better...




And with a bit of leftover material, the old ikea chair that we bought from a garage sale a few years back, with a white-turned-brown-and-ripping cover, could be recovered too.  I even used the old zippers.  Not difficult either (I just pulled the old one apart to use as a pattern) and what an improvement (though I did not take a before photo, so you'll have to imagine the old one)...

 

And now I've just wasted too much time posting these photos.  Just think of what I could have been accomplishing otherwise.  Sigh.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

They did come..and left

...actually they left a couple of weeks ago...but they were here, they did leave and we have many happy memories as we hope they do :)...

Lucas loved his Grandpa and Grandma and spent hours getting them to follow him around and play with him...


...we could enjoy a meal out.  Don't you hate how some people just can't be normal on photos?.. For me it's kind of a defense mechanism - you know, distort your face on the photos so no one thinks you look permanently odd, but that it is all an act which disguises the hidden beauty underneath... 



We shared the beauty of the Albany coastline with them (again) on the boardwalk...



Many lollies   lollos were handed out to a pleading grandson...


Lots of goodnight peek-a-boo games in bed to the begging "more, more, more" from the boy...


Cups of tea and coffee around the table coupled with conversations...


Visits from Uncle Stuart where some more lollo bribing for friendship was in order...



more relaxing together...

Bath time fun...


playing with Grandpa in the play room...


...and then came the goodbyes... Of course I closed my eyes for the photo.  You know the old childish "shut your eyes and you can't find me" kind of thing.  Didn't work.


Grandma and her little boy!


Grandpa and his little boy!


Thanks for the visit Grandpa and Grandma.  We loved it!