Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Traditions

All December I've been planning to do a big post (or even a series - how many times have I promised one of those here?) on our Christmas decorations & traditions this year. I read Noel Piper's Treasuring God in Our Traditions recently and I may have gone a little overboard. But it's now Christmas Eve and naptime is nearly over, so I'll have to be relatively brief.

Little things we're doing to try to keep the Christ in Christmas:
  • our Advent Calendar is a homemade version of the Noel Calendar from the above book. I had fun making the decorations and although SP doesn't always seem attentive, he can point to all the different nativity characters and sometimes points to a character moments BEFORE I get to that bit in the story. So it seems that he's taking it in. 
 December 6
  • I made a gingerbread nativity at our gingerbread house making event at church last month. It didn't come out looking quite like the picture in my head (blame my icing skills for that) but I like that I tried.
  • A new tradition I came up with: when we put up the Christmas Tree, Dave & I each took a little red slip of paper and wrote on it something that we're thankful for. We've added the date, paper-chained them together, with 'Thank you God for' as the first chain, and hope to add to them each year. 
  • Our Christmas cards are attached to our entryway blinds with pegs that spell out 'Thank you God for family and friends'. Yes, I think this is where I went a little overboard. 
Probably the biggest decision we've made is not to do Santa in our family. I don't have anything against Santa (he treated me VERY well as a kid ;) ), but I like to put him in the same category as Thomas the Tank Engine or the Green Sheep, and not confuse him with anybody real. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I've wondered worried how to explain to others (and in time to SP) why Santa doesn't come to our house. But I realised at the markets yesterday what a great opportunity it presents...

Stall-holder: (to SP) Are you ready for Santa to come?
Me: Actually, we don't do Santa. We want him to know that Christmas is all about Jesus.

And from that, we had a discussion about God and what this guy thought about church. Brief, and clumsy on my part, but a conversation nonetheless. Which wouldn't have come about if we'd been looking forward to Santa.

And I almost forgot: the article that prompted me to finally write this post. A brief biography of the real St Nicholas, parts 1 and 2. . I'll be keeping this one for when SP is a bit older.

Merry Christmas!

Random ramblings

Apologies to anyone who's still reading this for the lack of posts recently, it's been a busy few months.

I had one of the nicest dad moments the other week at church. Standing chatting afterwards, I feel a thud against the back of my knees. SP had seen me from across the hall somewhere and run over to give me a cuddle, and as I looked down, he was looking back up with this enormous grin on his face.

Now to get all festive for a minute, I'd heard the end of this song a couple of times on the radio. It's a great a-capella Christmas medley

And getting back to my usual fare, I came across this amazing story yesterday. Not many adults get published in peer-reviewed journals, let alone a bunch of 8 year olds. That's right, 8 year olds.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

C4K done for the year

Today was the last week of Church4Kids for 2010. We did a relay game as a review activity and it was encouraging to see the little kids remembering the words, titles and memory verses, and the big kids voluntarily checking their bibles when they were stuck on a clue.

Right now, I'm exhausted. Hopefully enthusiasm for next year's material will kick in soon.

My major stressor isn't the material though. It's leaders. Our oldest group could do with a 2nd leader so they can go and find their own space, and with more little ones being old enough for C4K next year, our littlest group will need a 2nd too. 6 leaders x 4 terms = 24 people per year. In a church of about 40 regular adults. Hmm...

Must trust God. Must trust God. Prayers appreciated. And volunteers ;)

First hairdressing

SP had his first official haircut yesterday (the few strands I snipped off a month ago don't really count...)

He watched, fascinated, while Daddy had his hair cut, then sat reasonably still to have his done.

Show photos


Friday, December 3, 2010


I was at the computer this afternoon when SP left his toys and came over. He tapped me on the arm to get my attention and signed 'eat'. We went to get afternoon tea.

No crying, no whingeing, no misunderstanding. Just communication.

I love signing!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This video made me all teary...

My Dad would have loved to have been surprised by this. Not to mention the joy of God's glory being proclaimed in the middle of all that consumerism...

Now that I've got you intrigued, watch it...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Can Change

We're hearing a short series of talks based on Tim Chester's book, You Can Change, at the moment. We've been working through it at Bible Study as well. I'm actually still waiting for my copy of the book to arrive, but I've been getting a lot out of the talks and studies anyway.

I was vaguely thinking about writing a post about my thinking from Tuesday's study, but then I read this one from Jean, which is actually a response to another Tim Chester book. She's captured my thinking far more elegantly than I ever could.

And I'll definitely be trying the 3 column thing. Remind me of it next time I'm getting snowed under.


Friday, October 8, 2010

At home

Being at home with SP has been tough this week. And we haven't really been home that much.

So this article is a good reminder of why I'm doing it: serving God & ministering to my husband and child.

Now I need to go & minister to SP by convincing him that one 45 min nap is not enough for the day... :s


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Advent Plans

There are Christmas decorations in the shops (yikes!) and a couple of other people have started blogging about advent-type things (Molly's post here and Cathy's post here). I'm thinking about it too.

My long-term super-ambitious plan is to make a pocket wall-hanging advent calendar. Actually, I just want to make one of these:


In my dreams, the letters on mine will be removable, and there will be numbers as well. So in December, it becomes an Advent Calendar. But as I've had this idea for a couple of years and have made no concrete steps towards it, I suspect it won't be ready by the start of December ;)
So in the last half hour or so, I've come up with this year's solution...

An Advent Book!

I'll make up a little A5 booklet with a page for each day, then during breakfast bible time, he'll get to open a special box and pull out his crayons, glue and a picture for the day. We'll "colour" it, stick it in, add some words, and have a bit more story to read endless times each day. On second thoughts, maybe not during breakfast bible time. Porridge and paper are not a good combination.

I like this idea because:
- it involves a box with a lid. SP loves boxes with lids.
- it involves a book. SP loves books.
- it involves crayons and glue. SP loves crayons and glue.
- it shouldn't cost anything. Fits my budget exactly!
- I don't have to have it all organised by December 1. Stapled pages and a vague idea of how I'm going to break up the story into 25 parts should be sufficient.
- it a simple, fun routine to do together each day. Routine and repetition are good.
- we can read the book multiple times during the day. More repetition.
- when we're done, we have a book to keep. Or toss if it's dodgy. We'll see.

We're coming...

We've booked flights to Melbourne for early next month. Sam & I will have 6 nights away, Dave 2.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Sign time

I'm so thankful that we've been doing some signing with SP. His expressive language may not be great at this point ('mama' is reliable and specific & he said 'gama' (grandma) and 'bub' for the first time yesterday), but with signing he can definitely get his message across. And I'm enjoying learning some Auslan too. Maybe it will come in useful someday.

His favourite signs are:
  • finished
  • bye bye
  • plane
  • car
  • milk
  • cheese (I think. We only started this one a couple of days ago, as cheese is his favourite food)
  • cuddles
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (twinkle hands & a 'diamond')
  • Away in a Manger (cuddle arms & a sleeping head)
  • me (especially when we're reading his God Loves Me Bible. "God loved [insert bible character here]. And God loves 'ME'". So cute!)
 I had some photos of Twinkle Twinkle and Me to share, but I just realised they're on Aunty Rachel's camera. I'll post them soon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We're home from helping with music at OMF's Asia Focus Weekend. Going in, I didn't have much clue what to expect, but we all had a good time, and I learnt so much.

So tired now though. Bed will be early tonight.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Children's Ministry Network

I went to a meeting last night with Children's Ministry workers from our church and 2 others. All wonderful people who love God, love kids and want to see them understand the Bible and come to know Jesus.

I'm so encouraged. And fired up for the coming term. I'm doing an airport run this morning & hopefully I'll have time on the way to drop into church and measure the noticeboard. I've got plans...


Friday, September 17, 2010

Junior Masterchef

Poor SP has got a viral rash at the moment, and a temp that goes up and down, but thankfully not the URTI or gastro the doctor warned us could happen next. It isn't dampening his spirits too much though.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Birthday Celebrations

Our little man turned one last week!
Click here for some details and lots of photos.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Romans series

Blogging through Romans is proving much more difficult than anticipated. I ended up substitute teaching at church4kids on Sunday morning, so I missed another sermon, and they don't seem to be on the website. But more than that, I've having trouble finding the time (and realistically, the inclination) to get my thoughts organised enough for blog posts.

I'll try to post a few random thoughts as the series goes on, but don't expect anything regular or profound. Just pray that I would gets lots out of the series, whether I blog about it or not.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home Alone

I'm alone in the house.

It's very strange.

I can probably count the time I've been at home alone in the last year on one hand. Today, Dave & SP have popped to the park for some fun, while I finish off a photobook.

It's lovely, but I miss them.


Friday, August 6, 2010

National Engineering Week - Special Edition

Over the last four days I've tried to share a little bit about the different facets of engineering and how it affects people on a day to day basis. What I hope you've gotten out of it is that engineers are very useful folk to have around, even if our contribution to society is not as immediately obvious as doctors and teachers.

To wrap up the series I want to try and give a brief introduction to microwave engineering, which is my field of professional interest. Microwave engineering is all about the generation, transmission, detection, and processing of signals at microwave frequencies. What are microwave frequencies you ask? Anything from 300 MHz to 30 GHz is considered microwave. 30 GHz to 300 GHz is considered millimetre wave. The reason for this is that at 30 GHz, the wavelength of the signal (i.e. the distance between one peak and the next) is 10 millimetres. Below microwave frequencies we have radio frequency in the 30-300 MHz range. Oh, and MHz is short for megahertz, which means the signal goes up and down one million times per second. GHz is short for gigahertz - one billion times per second. In perspective, humans can hear frequencies from around 80 Hz up to 40 kHz. Concert pitch, or A-440 is 440 cycles per second.

Some situations where people use microwaves:
- FM radio (RF, around the 100 MHz region)
- cordless phones, mobile phones, bluetooth and any of your wi-fi/wireless network connections (anywhere from 900 MHz to 5.4 GHz depending on what it is)
- GPS navigation (around 1.3-1.5 GHz)
- Microwave ovens
- Point to point communication links (the dishes that look like a squat grey cylinder on the side of buildings and TV towers)
- Police radar
- Weather radar
- Vehicle anti-collision radar
- Air traffic control radar
- Military radars

My work is mostly related to the last item on the list. In the military environment there are basically two groups of microwavers. Those on the radar side, who try to generate signals to find and track other ships/aircraft/whatever, and those on the countermeasures side, who try to pick up the radar before it sees you, or send out a fake signal to make the radar think you're somewhere else.

I don't actually build the systems that do those sort of things. The company where I work builds some of the components that go into those systems. It's interesting, and it's challenging because not only do you have to deal with very small spaces (I know aeroplanes look big on the outside, but there's not much space inside for this sort of thing) you also have to deal with severe environmental conditions like very high temperatures (85 Celsius is normal), very low temperatures (it gets down to below -40 Celsius at cruising altitude), dust, salt, vibration, and high shocks (like when a missile hits a few metres away, or when an aircraft launches from a catapult).

The observant among you would also have noted that I mentioned photonics a few days ago. Photonics is a branch of fibre optics, using light waves to transmit and process these signals. The cables that make international phone calls and the internet possible are all fibre optic cables now. The infamous national broadband network (which is a great concept turned into a stinking mound of sewerage by the government and beauraucrats) also uses fibre, lots of it.

Naturally I think all of the above are some of the great things that microwave engineers are involved in. When we get things wrong they're not usually as spectacular as a bridge falling down, but still worth acknowledging. The microwave mortuary has a lot reports, scroll down to an entry from late 2006 for one that I'm quite familiar with... Warning: this page has heaps of photos so will take a while to load, even over broadband.

So there you have it. Engineers are everywhere, doing all sorts of stuff. Like doctors, we're very useful unless we make a mistake, which tends to upset people.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

National Engineering Week - Electronics

In yesterday's post I said that electrical engineering is all about electricity - power stations, transmission grids and HVAC were my examples. Trying to sum up electronics engineering in a single word is like trying to dig the Panama canal with a forked stick - it just ain't gonna happen. Suffice to say, electronics is all the other stuff that uses electricity.

So examples that affect your daily life include: the computer or phone that you're reading this blog on, all the background stuff that makes the internet work, your TV, radio, wristwatch (unless you wind its mechanism every day by hand, it's got electronics in it), digital cameras/video cameras, portable DVD players, speed cameras, red light cameras, smoke alarms, just to name a few.

Although computers are ubiquitous, to the point that even a cheap calculator has more computing power than the Apollo program, and you can buy programmable calculators with more power than could be dreamt of 20 years ago, I think wristwatches are one of the coolest applications of electronics. That's mainly because of an article I read on a flight to Adelaide a few years ago. It was an interview with one of the senior designers at Seiko, talking about all the things they did to make their top end (think 5 figure price tag) watches work. The accuracy of the components, the efficiency of the circuit - most consumer batteries work at milli-amp current levels. This guy could tell you where every micro-amp was used! (There are 1000 micro-amps in a milli-amp if you didn't know). Like a lot of higher end watches these days, it had a small solar cell and other cool tricks to harvest energy from its environment. I wish I could remember more about it, but when you finished the article, you could understand why the watch cost so much, it's an engineering masterpiece.

But electronics engineers still make enough mistakes... like the unintended acceleration problem with Toyota vehicles earlier this year, or Dell's exploding laptop, or the famous calculation problem with early model Pentium chips from Intel.

If you've ever had trouble understanding what I do for a living, come back tomorrow and read our final post in this series. It might help. A little. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fruit & Veg

I went to the GP yesterday, with a variety of (non serious) complaints. We decided (pending further tests), that it's probably just down to depletion of my body's resources, after pregnancy and a year of breastfeeding.

So my primary treatment is to eat more and eat better. I thought I was doing pretty well, but apparently not.

I just checked out the Qld Government Nutrition Guidelines, and the standard whilst breastfeeding is 5 serves of fruit and 7 serves of veggies per day! I'm pretty sure I haven't been hitting that target very often...

Just as well we get on well with our local fruiterer.

National Engineering Week - Electrical

We're half way through National Engineering Week and now we're starting to get to the stuff that I actually know something about. Only starting to mind you, the chasm between electrical and microwave/photonics engineering is just as big as between electrical and civil engineering.

There's also a distinction that I'd like to make between electrical and electronics. Electrical is all about electricity - power generation and transmission from power stations to users are the big ones, I'll also lump HVAC (which stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) in here too, since they usually use 240V AC (i.e. mains power, the stuff running around in the walls of your house).

Power generation is obviously pretty important, especially in western society. You wouldn't be reading this blog, or catching an electric train without it.

The transmission side of things is just as important though. The big thing with transmission is the concept of loss. Crudely simplified, the power station puts a signal onto the line at their end, but it's smaller when it finally gets to your end. The difference is what we call loss, and it's power that in one way or another is wasted. Now for you to be able to use the energy that you want, the power station has to put extra on at their end to cover the loss in the middle. The more loss, the more they have to do extra, and the more it costs everyone - especially you and me!

Because of this loss, a lot of research is going on into technologies like high temperature superconductors. A superconductor has much less loss than the cables we use today, which would be much better for the power companies. But there's a problem. For a while scientists have been able to make superconductors at low temperature. Really low temperature. Like a couple of hundred degrees below zero temperature. Which is not very practical if you want to get electricity from Tarong to Brisbane. The aim of HTS research is to find a compound that first of all works at reasonable temperatures (say, anything about zero degrees C) and second of all can be manufactured in the quantities needed to replace the current grid.

So what's spectactular about electrical engineering? Aside from actually generating power and reliably hooking up multiple power stations to users who are constantly turning things on and off, but without having the whole system fall over? Well, one example would be the solar power towers in Spain. They were also featured in Richard Hammonds Engineering Connections, which I mentioned the other day.

What happens when things go wrong in electrical engineering? Well, if you happened to be in a small town in the Ukraine on 26 April 1986, you might not have been very happy with the local power company. That's when the Chernobyl disaster happened. In all fairness to the electrical guys, Chernobyl was a result of many, many things going wrong, but since it's a power plant, it fits with today's theme. Another example - the power grid in the north east US can be a bit unreliable, as massive blackouts in 1965 and 2003 showed.

Tomorrow, we'll find out what makes electronics distinct from electrical engineering.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

National Engineering Week - Mechanical

It's a coin toss to decide whether mechanical engineering is more or less prevalent than civil engineering. They have some definite overlap - both are dealing with concepts like static and dynamic forces (standing on a bridge versus walking on a bridge), bending moments (what happens if I put this much pressure on a beam which is so-many metres long, with a support at the other end? It bends...), and materials. I guess the easiest distinction is that mechanical engineers are usually more interested in things that move*. It's also been said that civil engineers build targets and mechanical engineers build weapons to break them.

Mechanical engineering shows up all over the place: cars, trucks, trains, aeroplanes, ships, bicycles, escalators, elevators, refrigerators, mining, just to name a handful.

Materials engineering is usually considered a subset of mechanical engineering, and is particularly interesting. Materials engineers do a couple of things. One, they take existing materials and work out what its characteristics are. That is, if I take a rod of material X, will it rust? Will it pass electricity? Will it pass light? How dense is it? Can I crush it? Will it bend or will it break immediately? When it breaks, does it send thousands of deadly projectiles across the workshop? Does it burn/explode/other cool but dangerous things?

Another thing that materials engineers do is to come up with improved compounds for existing materials, or brand new compounds that have certain desirable characteristics. The "composite materials" used in the new Boeing 787 are one example of this.

Like their civil cousins, mechanical engineers do some pretty spectacular things: aircraft carriers, ferraris, or my personal favourite, the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird.

Also like their civil cousins, mechanical failures can be difficult to hide, like the Hindenburg.

Tomorrow, electrical engineering.

*Not all mechanical engineers are interested in things that move. Where I work, things don't move but our mechanical engineers are very interested in things like how to get heat out, how to make it light but still strong enough to be bolted to an aeroplane, stuff like that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Engineering Week - Civil

Civil engineering is arguably the most long-standing of the engineering disciplines. I've been told that the name dates back to when they needed to make a distinction between military work and civilian work, but I don't have a citation for that.

You can't go a single day without relying on something done by a civil engineer. Roads, bridges, water supply, sewerage, shopping centres/office towers - they all fall under the civil umbrella. Even planning the sequence on the traffic lights to keep the traffic moving smoothly is usually a civil task.

Environmental engineering is a growing sub-set of civil engineering. As the name suggests, they usually deal with things like environmental impact statements and water quality.

Civil engineers do some pretty spectacular things, like the Milau Viaduct in Spain (featured in Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections, which just by the way is a fantastic show, even if you're not an engineer).

Of course, they're human and they don't always get things right... Footage of the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse in 1940 is something that almost every first year engineering student sees.

Tomorrow, mechanical engineering.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

National Engineering Week

This week is Australia's National Engineering Week. In honour of that, I'll be doing a few posts about the different things engineers do. Although my particular field is microwave & photonics I'll also be posting on the contributions of our friends in the civil and mechanical arenas, as well as more about electrical/electronics.

If you've got any questions about engineering, now is as good a time as any to ask them. I can't guarantee that I'll have an answer, but you never know ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Romans 1:1-17, Part 1

Key Verse: Romans 1:16-17
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
There's a lot in the first 17 verses of Romans! Some things we talked about at Bible Study:

Paul is an ambassador to the Romans, from God. He has the authority to bring them God's message. Which is...

The gospel. I discovered that I shouldn't criticise Paul's wordiness when I can't do any better. My supposedly 'simple statement' to summarise the gospel was:
'a powerful message, previously promised by the prophets, which Paul now preaches on behalf of God and his Son, about his Son, which reveals God's righteousness and plan for salvation for all.'
Yeah, not very simple. And there's lots that I missed. I guess that's why we have the whole book of Romans to fully explain it. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

I'm on creche on Sunday but I'll try very hard to listen to, or at least read, the sermon on Monday sometime. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blogging through Romans

We're just starting a series on Romans at church. I've been trying to think of ways to make sure I give it proper thought and attention, and after the success of this post in helping me think things through, I've decided to blog my way through.

Ideally, I'll be posting twice a week: after bible study and after church. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Child Modelling Update

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we were going for an interview with Bettina Child Modelling Agency, after they 'liked Sam's look' at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children's Expo.

We went to the interview, which was more like a sales pitch, but I guess the agent was watching Sam as well.

She must have liked what she saw, because we got a phone call the next day saying that they'd like to have him on their books.

But in those 24 hours, we'd already decided to say no if they asked. Apart from the $600ish per year sign-up fee, it seems like an industry that you really have to throw yourself into - there's no dabbling.

So, as cute and fun as it might have been, child modelling is not for us. Too many other, more worthwhile, opportunities in this season of life.


Monday, July 26, 2010

30 days of prayer for the muslim world

The prayer booklet I mentioned earlier is now available. You can buy a paper copy here or download the free pdf here (scroll down to '4 of 5: 30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World eBooks 2010'). There's even a kids version, and a single page summary for the busiest of us.

Ramadan is August 11 to September 9. Thanks to the prayer notes, I'm expecting to learn a lot about it and Islam in general during that time.


Bloggy Birthday

Our blog is one year old today! Happy birthday, little blog.

Sorry there haven't been many posts recently. I have many in my head, but they don't seem to be getting into the computer. Expect updates soon on Norwex, Nana May's, child modelling, and general life. Boy, I've got some writing to do...


Friday, July 23, 2010

Abigail Grace

Almost a year ago, a beautiful two-year-old friend of ours went to be with Jesus.

Today, I heard that some other (unconnected) friends have given their new baby girl the same name.

I have nothing profound to say, just a heavy sadness in my heart, for myself and for many loved ones grieving different deaths at the moment. And this song continuously in my head.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Praying in Ramadan

I meant to do this last year, but missed it. This year, I'm all ready. Well, as soon as the prayer booklet is released...

Care to join me (and however-many-thousands of others)?


Friday, July 9, 2010

5 reasons I love knitting

1. I can pick it up, knit 3 stitches, put it down and feel like I've accomplished something. Great for this season of life.
2. I can do something productive whilst breastfeeding (apart from the whole nourishing a baby thing)
3. It keeps my hands busy, which reduces the temptation to scratch my eczema.
4. It's useful. My knitted soakers (I'm currently working on the 4th) do a great job of keeping SPs pants dry, so I do less washing.
5. It gives me a sense of olde world charm, and somehow a connection with women of times past. Ah, the simple life.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Other people think he's cute too

On a whim, I entered SP into a competition with Bettina Child Modelling Agency at the PBC Expo. I had a phone call yesterday; he didn't win the competition, but they're interested in having SP on their books.

My general thought is that as long as SP has fun, it doesn't interfere with more important things, and the photos aren't sexualised, I'm happy with it. In reality, whether or not we sign up depends a lot on the membership price, which the website is suspiciously quiet about.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To the Trekkies

It would appear that SP is one of you ;)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Long arms and long legs make SP a tall boy

We've suspected since before birth that SP will end up very tall, and it still appears that way. He can now reach anything within about 3 inches of the edge of the kitchen table, which can make things a bit hairy at times. 

I couldn't quite believe that he could get a block this far from the edge of our chest freezer though. Yikes!

Family dinner (at 4:30pm)

No more corny titles, please...

It's been a few months since my first attempt at planting a decent bunch of crops. How did it go?
- The cayenne peppers were the best of the lot, growing fairly easily and although we only got half a dozen, they're good sized and pack a punch! Currently drying on the window sill, I'll need to grind them down soon...
- The lettuce did a few weeks of lunches...
- The carrots were all about as thick as a piece of string...
- The zucchini started well, then got some form of blight, and right when they were flowering I decided to cover them with mosquito netting to try and keep out whatever was eating things. What's that, zucchini needs bees to pollenate and turn flowers into fruit? Bother...
- The beans, and spinach just died...
- The onions are still in, watch this space...

But today's harvest was the corn - of the eight or ten original plants, only a few survived, and from them I managed to get four cobs.

As you can see (that's a teaspoon in the top photo by the way) it's not going to win prizes at the RNA any time soon. But after cooking, well, it tastes like corn, and the kernels are actually a much richer, deeper yellow than frozen corn from the supermarket. The store-bought stuff looks anaemic by comparison.

So as much as I love time in the country, it's probably best that I'm not trying to feed a family on home-grown produce just yet. Although there's quite probably a family or two of possums that are doing very well out of our little vegie patch.

Now I'm looking forward to spring and summer, and seeing if the grapevine or mulberry bush produce anything of interest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the mailbox this morning

... 2 HUGE toy sale catalogues.
SP's birthday and Christmas to buy for.
How much is too much? How much is too little?
How do I choose?

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Norwex love

I am a newly converted Norwex nut. Ridiculously, almost embarrassingly so. But I am not embarrassed, because I love Norwex. It makes it easy to keep my house clean.  

Thanks to last night’s Norwex party, I will soon have the following Norwex products in my house:

  • Green kitchen cloth – washing up and benches
  • Beige kitchen cloth – SP’s face and hands
  • Yellow kitchen cloth – spot-cleaning floor
I already have these three. They’ve converted me.
  • Green tea towel – drying dishes
  • Suede microtowel –drying hands
General cleaning:
  • Aqua envirocloth – cleaning pretty much any surface
  • Pink glass cloth – glass
  • Car wash mitt – flyscreens and car
  • Micro hand pad – getting marks off walls etc
  • Optic cloth – glasses, camera lenses etc

  • Antibac body cloths (pack of 3)

    • my face
    • SP in the bath
    • Spare (would Dave use one?)
  • Body wash mit -  in the shower
Out & About:
  • Envirocloth Travel pack (4)
    • Car
    • Nappy bag
    • Work bag
    • Downstairs for cleaning off the backyard muck before we come inside

    Ideally, one more lovely friend would agree to host a Norwex party and I could get a free mop to add to my collection. Anybody? See all the stuff I got for hosting?

    I’ll let you know if it all lives up to my (obviously quite high) expectations. Stay tuned.

    Norwex Party

    I hosted a Norwex party last night. In preparation, I'd been praying that I wouldn't get hung up on all the hostess rewards I could get.

    God answered my prayer by denying me the reward I really wanted.

    Fair enough.


    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Celebrating our 59th post

    I know, weird number to celebrate. But I'd been planning to celebrate at 50 and just realised I missed it.

    It'll soon be our blog's first birthday. Which means it'll soon be our son's first birthday! Yikes!!

    Nappy cover pics

    My first cover has now been completed, waterproofed and tested. I'm very happy with the results - a nice wet nappy & nice dry pants! And such a snuggly wooly boy to cuddle.

    I've got the body of the second cover knitted up; now to finish the i-cord and add the cuffs. The wool is a funky purple-plum mix - I'm a bit sorry it's designed to be covered by clothing :)

    I figure 5 covers is a good stash. I wonder if I'll get bored with knitting before then?

    A fun weekend

    Saturday morning: I baked brownies for our church's coffee shop stall at the EJ fete. Lots of brownies. Dave & SP had a trip to Toyworld and Spotlight, where SP got a helium balloon.

    Saturday afternoon: Dave helped his lovely sister buy a car, and SP & I checked out the Pregnancy, Babies & Children's Expo at the convention centre. I think it's worth making it an annual event just for the animal farm.

    Saturday night: Date night. Usually we go out one week then stay in & read a book together the next week. But we both have croaky voices at the moment so we watched a taped Masterchef Masterclass instead. Now I want to make bread.

    Sunday morning: Church. I was playing the piano & had fun incorporating some tips from Twist. Then we all headed down to the fete for morning tea.

    Sunday afternoon: Chilled out at Mum's while Dave did his shift at the fete. I mostly listened to Mum & SP playing while I knitted. Lovely :)

    Sunday night: Now that my work has switched to Mondays (from Thursdays), a relaxed do-nothing Sunday evening leads to an unnecessarily frantic Monday morning. Last night I was pleased to discover that half an hour is plenty to do all the 'getting ready for the week' bits & pieces that make such a difference.

    Into the week we go...

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Finished - sort of

    Nappy cover #1 is in use! I still want to put cuffs around the legs but I need a shorter circular needle for that & I'm stuck in with a sick baby and no car today.

    I was going to post a photo but SP celebrated the occasion by doing a mammoth, leaky poo which dirtied said cover. Another time.


    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Our not-so-perfect life

    It's occurred to me lately that life according to this blog probably sounds really good and easy and straightforward. Particularly after posts like this.

    Rest assured, you're not alone*. Most days aren't like that. If I remember rightly, me hitting the 'post' button on that particular post and SP waking from his 20 minute nap were simultaneous, and while I don't remember exactly what I did for the rest of the day, I'm pretty sure I didn't do any knitting.

    There are plenty of days when the house is a mess, the washing piles up, SP seems to spend the whole day either attached to my leg or getting into things he shouldn't, dinner is scrambled eggs or freezer leftovers AGAIN, and Dave's return home is marked by a cry of 'Yay, Daddy's come to rescue us!' But on those days, the last thing I feel like doing is blogging, even if I could find the time and brainspace to do so.

    Life is messy, complicated and exhausting. I'm lazy, I'm selfish, I'm annoying. I let people down, I hurt them, I disappoint them and I take them for granted, especially those I love most. This is real life in a sinful world.

    Next time I look like I've got it all together, please stop me. I need help to let down my mask of perfection and show the real me.

    * Hat-tip to


    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Knitting Update

    My nappy cover is coming along beautifully! I've learned to use circular needles, to do a 2x2 rib, to make eyelet holes, to use a stitch holder and to decrease for shaping. There are lots of mistakes in my knitting, especially in the ribbing, but I'm immensely proud of what I've achieved so far.

    Next steps: finish my decreasing, weave in the stitches from the stitch holder (no idea how to do this - I'm hoping youtube will be helpful), knit an i-cord to tie through the eyelets, and maybe do some cuffs.

    I'm getting a real buzz from all this craftiness, but I suspect my housework is suffering. Hmm, how to find a balance... Any ideas?


    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    A good start to the day

    It's 9:05am. The baby is asleep, the house is tidy, the sun is drying the washing and I've sent the emails I forgot yesterday.

    I foresee lots of knitting today :)


    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Getting the message across

    Situation: Bible study this morning. There were things in the passage (1 Samuel 15-19) that I needed to hear.

    Problem: I’ve been pretty disengaged from bible study this term:
    • we’re not in a part of the bible that I know really well
    • I haven’t often been in church to hear the sermons, and haven’t made the effort to read or listen to them later. 
    • I haven’t been reading the passages in my own time or making any real effort to process them after bible study 
    … all of which means that, while I have some understanding of the bare bones plot, because I’ve still been turning up each week, I’ve been taking very little away in terms of broader themes and application. 

    God’s Solution: My turn to lead the group this week! Which meant...
    • I had to read the passage beforehand 
    • when I got confused with the plot and characters, I couldn’t just zone out 
    • when I felt young and inexperienced, ill-equipped to deal with the deeper themes on the same level as others in the group, I had to keep grappling 
    Outcome: I learnt that:
    • sin makes life messy. I’m been feeling annoyed with the after-effects of sin in my own family, but I need to accept the situation, trust that God knows the way forward even when I don’t, and work on loving people anyway. 
    • sin is serious. I need to stop ignoring, stop making excuses and fight temptation. 

    As it turned out, I did a shocking job of leading the study (and no, I’m not looking for warm fuzzies from those who were there), but I suspect I learnt a lot more than I would have otherwise.

    God is good.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Knitting Update

    Acquire wool: check! I'll be using Basic Spotlight 8 ply, 100% wool, in a groovy dark turquoise. I've got 2 50g balls to start with, don't really have any idea how much I'll need.

    Acquire needles: not yet.

    But this afternoon I have started actual knitting! With some old wool, a couple of paintbrushes (yes, very sad), a book from the library and this video, I've learnt to cast on & do a basic knit stitch. Yay! Already I can see why people get addicted - there's something relaxing yet satisfying about turning a strand of wool into a piece of fabric. I wonder how long the enthusiasm will hold out...


    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    A photo

     SP decided not to have an afternoon sleep today. After an hour or so of listening to him chat to his teddy bear, I went to get him up so he could have a Skype chat to his dad :)

    Somehow, it was hard to be annoyed about the lack of sleep...

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Another hairbrained scheme

    I love cloth nappies and use them almost exclusively at home (including overnight), but I'm not 100% happy with my methods at the moment. We seem to be getting a lot of wet shorts (and pants now that the weather is colder).

    In an attempt to satisfy my recent creative streak and to solve a problem, I'm going to give these knitted soakers a go. Yes, I may well be insane. I've never knitted anything more than a dolls-house size blanket in my life. Much help is likely to be required from the other females in the family.

    First step, acquire wool and a circular needle. 

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    A fruitful fete day

    I usually have a little list running in my head, if not on paper, of things I'm on the look out to buy. As of yesterday morning, at the top of my list for Sam was:
    • small (baby hand size) blocks
    • an alphabet book
    • a lift-the-flap book
    I got quite excited when we turned up at Sam's Grandma's school fete yesterday and the first thing we saw was a car boot sale with... the perfect little blocks, just like I'd been looking for.

    After getting settled, we had a look around the book stall. And what did I find? An alphabet lift-the-flap book. And a variety of other interesting-looking things - I'm terrible at book stalls. But for $1 a book, I figure you can't go too far wrong.

    The rest of the day was a lot of fun too, especially the couple of hours in the afternoon when we just hung out on the grass, listened to some great live musicians (aka the school kids) and Sam got to play in the dirt.


    Things we broke yesterday

    • A bowl
    • A brand new lightbulb
    • A glass
    • The kitchen table
    Oh dear.


    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Nana May's Update

    Briefly: Love it! 

    It hasn't magically cured everything, but I'm less itchy, less red and some patches on my hands that I'd assumed would be red & scarred forever are starting to return to their previous colour.

    Highly recommended.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010


    It was brought to my attention recently that I haven't posted any photos in a while. So here's some of the things our little boy has been up to.

    Nana May's Magic Hands

    My eczema has been playing up lately. Not fun. I hate being itchy, and I don't love looking red and inflamed either.


    So when Dave noticed a stall offering free 60 second hand treatments at the South Bank markets last night, I gave it a go. Rubbing a salty, oily solution over my dry hands felt very odd, but when it was washed off… heaven!


    After a bit more wandering, we went back and bought a tub of Nana May's Magic Hands. I'd like to think this was a considered decision, and not jumping on some bandwagon out of desperation. I'm not in the habit of buying anything that a guru tells me will work.


    Jeanie told me to use it morning and night until my eczema clears (about 7 days) and then twice a week. She was very optimistic. And after just 2 treatments on my hands and 1 on other areas, so am I. But 7 days to clear skin seems a little unrealistic.


    I'll post again in a week's time.