Someone stole my life!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've received quite a few emails lately from my sil in the US who had a baby girl in October with photo links and it has been somewhat disconcerting to discover that she is living in my dream house! Seriously, what happened there? She even has my rug, dear readers, my rug! If she lived closer I would have to organise a midnight raid. Although, it might be a bit tricky hiding the rug every time they came to visit. But I am sure I could work something out. She also has a beautiful fireplace, which has given me some ideas for redoing ours and an armchair in the nursery for late night feeds and reading bedtime stories. The loveliest thing I noticed is that she has a kitchen/family room that opens to the backyard. I love the idea of being inside baking (realistically I'd probably be cleaning up :-)) watching the kids play outside. Being able to supervise and get things done simultaneously would be awesome. In the house I grew up in the window in the kitchen looked into the garden and mum says that she'd spend a lot of time there watching us in the pool while she was making dinner, folding laundry or marking papers.
Hopefully, one day we'll be able to visit them and I can wander around pretending that it's mine. Have you ever done that? My sister and I used to go shopping, try clothes on, coordinate whole outfits, etc all the while imagining that we might actually buy something. We usually came home with a scarf or a nail polish each exhausted from our big day 'shopping'. It's a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We always have cherries at Christmas. We never buy them at any other time of the season but on Christmas day mum's best silver bowl comes out and is filled with cherries. Every year I think I should buy them more often because they are so delicious but I never do. So this is what Dec 25 tastes like to me.

A stylist would have removed the can of diet coke and the recorder but that would leave you thinking that Christmas day was much more high brow than it actually is. Soft drink was the beverage of choice and the squeal of recorders was the soundtrack for the day. I wouldn't want to mislead you, dear reader.

Boxing day

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our boxing day tradition - toys and clothes packed up for St Vincent de Paul after going through our goodies and deciding what things (old and new) we don't need and can give to those less fortunate than us.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've got a little crush on all the Nelson lamps. It might be turning into a long-term relationship.
Already have these chairs (in white). Doesn't the light look lovely with them? Ignore the recylced paper mobile in the foreground, that's made from old magazines and will cost you $240. That's not a typo, people. $240. I think I missed my calling.

Nelson apple lamp. For in the entry? When we have an entry, of course, but these are small details.

Here's the criss cross lamp in close up. So pretty!


Monday, December 22, 2008

We went to a friend's place for a bbq yesterday so I made some vegie skewers/kebabs/kabobs/whatever you want to call them. I always call them vegie kebabs but feel like I am getting it wrong. There's a little catch in my throat right before I say kebab but I never remember later to look it up to see what the right term is. Now would be an appropriate time to research it but I can't really be bothered to do it now either. I'm kind of tired but not for any good reason. I've done a little work in the garden but it's the thought of all the work that still needs to be done that's wearing me out. So my research will simply be to ask you, dear reader, what you would call these if I turned up at your house and brought these with me? Would you say;
'thanks for the kebabs'
'duyvken brought vegie sticks for the bbq'
'I really felt like chicken'


heat a little olive oil in a non-stick pan

cook the haloumi cubes until browned on two sides(2-3mins)

put the haloumi aside to cool slightly

brown sliced onion in the same pan and also put aside to cool

Chop mushrooms and red and green capsicum

Grab the bamboo skewers you've had soaking in cold water (did I mention that you should do that before you start cooking the haloumi?) and load them up with all the ingredients you've prepared. The haloumi and the onions should be cool enough to touch by now. Then they just need a few minutes on the bbq so heat up and to cook the mushroom and capsicum a little.
My kids love these so they never last very long but at yesterday's bbq the children were fed first and offered pretty ordinary looking little sausages and bread rolls. My kids were pretty hungry by the time they got home because they didn't like the sausages. So we ate up BIG at dinner and then walked around the neighbourhood admirning the christmas light.

Dinner time

Friday, December 19, 2008

There are some nights when I take a purely functional approach to dinner. I just want it to be quick to prepare and easy to eat. Last night was one of those nights.

I made (prepared would be a better verb because I really didn't do much) penne with homemade pesto (thanks to Greg making a batch on the weekend with some beautiful and very cheap basil from the markets), steamed carrot and zucchini and avocado in a white wine vinaigrette. The kids gobbled it up so quickly it was hard to get a photo. They seems to like the dinners that are the easiest to make better than anything else. Works for me!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just went down the hall to discover the price I paid for my trip to the museum.

All of these are normally on these two bookcases.

Guess what I'm doing now?

MoMA Love

I may be the last person with a net connection to discover this but the MoMA has a great website that allows you to view exhibitions and some of it's permanent collection online. I've been visiting the Van Gogh exhibition this morning. Life as a stay-at-home mum is pretty sweet these days. J and C are playing in their room with JW asleep in the cot in there too and I'm popping back and forth for a quick play, doing laundry and looking at beautiful paintings.
Nothing but blue skies....


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

G's class have been doing embroidery this past term with each child stitching a placemat they can give as a Christmas gift. I haven't been able to volunteer in G's classroom this year as much as I would have liked to because I don't like leaving the younger ones with a babysitter so when I heard that they needed someone to hem these I put my hand up. It turns out the other mum who volunteered also has 4 children and has also been stitching these late into the night when all the babies (and husbands) are asleep. We're getting quite a giggle out of our exhaustion mirrored in the other when we meet at school each morning. What were we thinking?! Luckily, our children are so thrilled that we're helping out in this way that they're smiles and cuddles are helping us to power on through. I am pleased to report that I finished my batch on Sunday.

Some of them are neater and more intricate than others but they have worked so hard on these little samplers and I know that each one of them will be presented to a lucky recipient very proudly on Christmas morning.

So that's my final school comittment for 2008. This year has just flown by and I am hoping that 2009 will be a little more leisurely. Don't tell me I'm dreamining... I have big plans for next year!

It's dinner time

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eleanor prompted me to post about dinner again. We happen to be having a celebratory dinner tonight because G will be receiving a special award at her school mass and presentation night tonight. She doesn't know that she's getting the award but her teacher rang to tell me a week ago so I have organised for her godparents to join us for dinner and my mum will also come along. I am looking forward to seeing her at the presentation. I know she will be so surprised and delighted at receiving the prize and then bringing her home to a little celebration in her honour will make her glow with pride.

The prize is given to a child in each class who has best lived by the rules and mission statement of the school during the year and who has also performed well academically. The school rules are very simple -

Care for others
Care for self
Care for the place we are in -

they are easy for the children to remember and are very straightforward but not necessarily easy to live by. I could go on and on about G and all the wonderful things about her but it should suffice to simply say that I am very proud of her and I am thrilled for her that she is being recognised in this way.

So, what could I make that would celebrate this special girl? I had to be able to make it during the day when the little ones were napping and then be able to heat it up and serve it shortyl after getting home from mass. I had a pumpkin sitting on the counter and some lovely fresh herbs from the markets so I decided to make a pumpkin and sage lasagne with steamed greens.
Michelle requested the recipe for the salad so I will do a recipe post soon. Right now I need to feed and bathe the younger ones before we leave and the clock is ticking!

So, what do we eat for dinner?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When people discover that we are vegetarian the first question they ask is, invariably, 'what do you eat?'. This always puzzles me because I don't know a single meat eater who doesn't also include vegetables, fruits and grains in their diets. On reflection I think they are picturing their evening meal without the meat and realising that it just wouldn't be enough to sustain them. So, I thought I would do a post every now and again about what we've been eating. They'll just be everyday dinners but they'll help me to document what my little family is eating and it might help to answer this question for those of you out there who may also have wondered what your vegetarian friends sit down to night after night.

Spinach and roasted kumera salad with caramelised balsamic vinaigrette

Ingredients: kumera, baby spinach leaves, alfalfa sprouts, goat's milk feta, pine nuts and mung beans sprouts.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

J's 4th birthday is just around the corner so we're gearing up for a very yellow weekend! The invitations above were sent out a week ago and I had some fun in the party section of the Hot Dollar Store yesterday. They have a huge selection of coloured plates, napkins, straws, table covers, etc. I was in heaven! I hadn't been in there before because it is not stroller friendly but now that I have been in and seen the narrow aisles, overstacked shelves and lot's of shiny, glittery, sparkly, kitschy stock I don't think it would be a good idea to take the kids in even when they are walking! Mum was with me yesterday so she stayed with J, C and JW outside while I went in. As usual, she looked a little disappointed when I returned - she loves pushing the stroller around telling then anyone who'll listen that they're her grandchidren.
The forecast is for sunny skies so it should be a fun weekend!

Well done Greg!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mr Duyvken competed the Ironman Australia race in Busselton yesterday and finished in a time of 10hrs 43mins. Pretty impressive given how little training he has managed to fit in over the last few months. I am simultaneously dismayed and impressed at how fit and healthy he is. My fitness level went through the floor during the last 2 pregnancies and it is not fun getting it back. It is not fun at all.
But that's about me and this post is about Greg so I really should get back to that. Way to go Mr Duyvken. You are an Ironman! (Again).

On meeting bloggers

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eleanorfromthecommentbox and Kim from Allconsuming came over on Tuesday morning for tea and I had so much fun. I had been really looking forward to it because they are such delightful women online and I hoped that we would all hit it off in person as well.
Eleanor arrived first and was immediately swamped by children eager to meet the newcomer. C did all her best daredevil stunts like running down the uneven paths at breakneck speed but somehow managing to stay upright, J coerced her into playing basketball and then t-ball and then JW was due for a feed so Eleanor volunteered/insisted/grabbed the baby and enjoyed some snuggles.

She was a very gracious guest and didn't seem to mind too much that I was still putting food on plates, making coffee and wrangling children. We ate and chatted, and chatted some more and then Kim arrived with her youngest two boys. She was late because she had been baking.
Who else do you know would get up early enough to get 2 boys to separate schools, bake and ice animal-shaped biscuits for the kids and bake a chocolate gingerbread cake for the grown-ups?

Surely Kim stand alone in her awesomeness. (Sorry, I may have seen Kung Fu Panda one too many times.)

The cake was incredible! Eleanor and I quickly put etiquette aside and got stuck in.

Eleanor brought with her some delicious bagels. I was quite taken with the bagels. I know this because when I looked at the photos later I realised that I had one photo of Eleanor, no photos of Kim and 4 photos of bagels.

Sad but true...

You'll be happy to know that I can report that the bagels were delicious.

I realised after they had both left that I had some many questions that I hadn't asked;
What is that picture in Eleanor's blog banner?
How did she meet her husband (of whom she speaks so lovingly) and what is the love story that they brought them together at such a tender age?
What is Kim cooking for Christmas? I bet it's going to be good.
What does she want to do with all her wonderfully laconic writings?
How do they keep their skin looking so good?
Yes I know that is shallow but you should see them. They're incredible!

Thanks to you both, I had a very fun morning and I look forward to doing it all again soon.

Things I love

I don't know which photo I prefer but I do know that I just can't get enough baby feet goodness.

Saturday Morning Walk

Monday, December 01, 2008

You know you're getting old when you take your camera with you on a morning walk and only take photos of fences. In my defence there are some beautiful fences in my neighbourhood.

I'm a sucker for a stone fence.

JW and I were so exhausted from all that fence admiring that we stopped at one of our local patisseries for a coffee and some people watching.

She's a wonderful observer.


We walked over a carpet of jacaranda on the way back home, enjoying the sunshine that had finally broken through.

J's favourite agapanthus were out in force.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

I love council workers with a sense of humour.

Well looky here

Friday, November 28, 2008

I found this on the Pottery Barn website when I was browsing their 'Shop By Room' feature. It seems that it's not so outrageous to think that I could get a hall runner to match my favourite take-away coffee cups. What a pity you can't get them here in Aus!

Tagged - 6 then 6

I've been tagged my Blackbird to do a picture meme and these are the rules:
* Go to your Sixth Picture Folder then pick your Sixth Picture.
* Pray that you remember the details.
* Tag 5 others.
The 6th folder in my photos file is 2006 and the 6th folder there is July06. There are plenty of photos of the kids and my godchildren but also plenty of pictures like this one. What a memory trip! I had completely forgotten about this. Let me explain.
My darling husband has more than a passing interest in bikes and cycling. He commutes to work (22kms each way), goes riding on weekends with friends, does track racing through the winter, moutain bikes when he can and loves triathlon and Ironman racing. This picture that he lovingly set up (that's our white doona the bike is sitting on top of - clearly I was out of the room when he did that!!) and took is of my old road bike. He took it apart, resprayed and rebuilt it so that he could have a single speed bike. He even had custom bike stickers made for it that read 'one less car' and 'singleton'. It was a project that I never really understood but then when I think about it some of my favourite hobbies don't make much sense either. eg patchwork quilting - why cut a piece of perfectly good fabric into little pieces and then sew it all back together again?
So, if you are ever reading my blog and think 'there's something not quite right about that woman' rest assured that I am not alone.
Now, who to tag? I don't want to leave anyone out but neither do I want to impose a task on someone that they have no interest in doing so let's do it this way. If you are reading and want to play along please do! I'd love to see where your 6 then 6 takes you.

Morning Coffee

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Since having JW I have gotten into the habit of getting a coffee in the mornings on the way home from dropping G at school. It's become a nice little routine and the people at the local bakery know my coffee order and always take a few seconds to chat to J and C which they adore.

Note to self - always take time to chat to little ones, it gives them such a thrill.

It's an indulgence I am making the most of because I have a rigorous budget planned for 2009 and 5 coffees a week isn't going to make the cut!

One of my strange little quirks is that when I get home I transfer the coffee into a mug with a thin rim before I drink it. The bakery has the prettiest plastic cups though, I'd love a runner for the hallway in this pattern. How kooky would I look taking it with me to the local rug shops to see if they can match it up for me?

And Blackbird has tagged me so that will be tomorrow's post. I am delighted to be tagged and look forward to looking through the photo file to see where the 6 then 6 takes me. Thank you dear Blackbird!

Names and Numbers

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When you stay at Bloomfield Wilderness Lodge you fly in from Cairns on a scarily small plane.

There are so few guests, you really feel that you have the whole place to yourself and the horizons are breathtaking in every direction - ocean, river, reef, rainforest, wilderness.

See how beautiful this is? And how remote? And how small? Can you even spot it in this picture below?

We had an amazing honeymoon. Amazing. We didn't live together before we were married. We didn't even have 'sleepovers' so being suddenly immersed in one another was astonishing and wonderful. I have such fond memories of those first few days of marriage. And having this backdrop for those memories makes them feel vast and timeless and cinematic.
We have never been back but I know that I will always love this little part of Far North Queensland. I don't think I need to capitalise far and north but it feels better so Far and North they will stay and I will Always Remember that.

We decided when we were still on our honeymoon that when we owned our own home we would name it 'Bloomfield' after our wonderful surroundings. All these years of renting and saving and plotting and then, finally, searching and negotiating and purchasing and we still want to name our home (which is terribly gauche) and we still want to name it Bloomfield.
I haven't spent much time on it but in the 12mths we have been living here I have kept my eyes open for name plaques and signs and I think I have a couple of genuine contenders.

Any thoughts?
*Enamel numbers from
Enamel name plate from
Stainless steel numbers and letters from

Almost 4!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Someone special will be turning 4 soon. He has been so patient all year waiting for his birthday and is thrilled that his turn has finally come around. We're compiling a bunch of his favourite yellow photos to use as an invitation and are planning some games we will play when his cousins and friends come over to celebrate. According to the birthday boy Duck Duck Goose is 'a must'.

We're also planning that all the guests will get a sunflower to take home. J has been caring for this one for the past month and is very proud of how well it is doing.

We'll be back soon

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elizabeth Beach 2003
I was looking through some of the older photo files on the computer today and came across this one. It is one of my favourites. Taken at a beautiful place on a beautiful day with my beautiful family at a beautiful time in our lives.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Blatant theft or sharing the love?
You decide.

1. Political Show - Insiders. Barry Cassidy is a bit irritating but it's very informative.
2. Picnic food - cheeses, crackers, fruit. I never quite know what to do when I am packing a picnic, other people are much better at it than I am.
3. Vodka, fresh lime, sugar syrup, soda water. YUM!
4. US president -I decided to make this a question about Australian prime ministers instead for obvious reasons :-) I'll say Harold Holt, his term was certainly memorable!
5. Kind of student to teach - enthusiastic, shy, and well-meaning. I like to think I'd be good with kids who need a lot of help but I don't think I would be.
6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - quilting falls into both those categories. I also am looking forward to taking up baking again. Our oven doesn't hold a steady temp so anything other than a basic slice is asking too much. I miss baking cupcakes!
7. Sports commentator - Murray Walker. I love watching F1 and he was always my fave. He could mix metaphors better than most!
8. Sport to watch on tv - F1 and tour de france. Greg adores cycling and watching the tour together each year is a lot of fun. I enjoy the scenery (which is breathtaking) more than the actual cycling but each year I get a little more into it.
9. Animal to have as a pet. Surely I have enough children to excuse me from pet ownership but if I have to pick something I'll say dog.
10. Halloween costume you have worn - I am sure my mum dressed us up beautifully when we lived in the US but I was so small I don't really remember. Sorry mum!
11. Kind of dessert - now this is my kind of question. I am a baked cheesecake girl. End of story. If that is on the menu I don't bother reading any further. I also love tart au citron and choux pastry stuffed with creme patissiere. I love it, love it, love it.
12. Comic strip - no idea.
13. Style or make of footwear - love shoes but don't tend to buy them. That said, stick glitter on something and I find it hard to resist. My feet would fit right in up on the Gold Coast.
14. Ice-cream flavour - vanilla. I'm so exciting.
15. College or university president - um, no. Going to uni was about all I could manage :-)
16. Internet news source - I love
17. Vacation spot - I'd go to Paris in a heartbeat, the US to see my sister and sister-in-law and their beautiful girls
18. Wine - I'm not a drinker at the best of times but wine is really not my thing.
19. Way to waste time instead of working - BLOGGING
20. Student excuse for late work - I really don't remember, wish I could, I am sure it was hopeless!
21. Reality show - home makeover programs. I would never leave the couch if we had the Lifestyle channel
22. Jewellery on a man - each to their own. Getting het up about how other people choose to adorn themselves would be such a waste of energy. I'm not a fan of looking for things to complain about.
23. Pizza topping - I don't like pizza. I am the only person I know who doesn't like it. Please tell me I am not alone!
24. Children's movie - current favourite would be Bee Movie. It's so delightful. And Princess Bride is always in my top 10.
25. Celebrity you wish would retire - just one? Shortlist would be Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Renee Zellwegger (yes, I know she's in Bee Movie. I'm allowed to be contrary!).... for some reason I can't suspend disbelief when watching films they are in and therefore don't really enjoy them as much. Surely, they've all made enough cash to see them through a nice, comfy retirement?


Friday, November 14, 2008

I have not been making much progress with my new niece's quilt. Each day I wake determined to spend a little time on it and each night I go to bed certain that tomorrow will have a little room in it for quilt making.
Which proves once and for all that I am an optimist.
I have had my sewing machine sitting on the table for a couple of weeks just waiting for the right moment but it has not yet arrived. It is constantly in the way of homework, dinner, breakfast, and crafting but I can't bring myself to put it back in the cupboard because that would be admitting defeat.

Seeing it all set up and ready to sew when I turn the lights out each evening makes me think of the fairy tale, The Shoemaker and the Elves. I can imagine the shoemaker's weariness each night as he falls asleep knowing how much work is waiting for him and his delight each morning when he sees the beautiful shoes all cobbled and ready to go. I half hope that one morning I will come out to find the quilt top all pieced and sandwiched and ready to be quilted. No luck so far but hopefully my real life little elves will entertain themselves well this weekend I will find the time and the energy to get it finished.

I Heart Bed Bath n Table

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bed Bath and Table have all their christmas stock out (yes, I know it's only November) and I have a very soft spot for ornaments that can only be on display for a month and then need to be stored for the rest of the year.
I'm all about practical.
I bought 3 of these beautiful (but difficult to photograph) mirrored stars to hang above the girl's beds. I'm going to leave them on the wall year round because I just adore them and I don't think they look too Christmas-y I love having the pocket money to buy the odd little thing like this. After a few very lean years these little indulgences feel extra special.

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