Sunday, November 29, 2009

Magic Moment


The only photo I took, I became too engrossed in the performances!

You know those moments in your parenting that will be indelibly etched in your 'treasured parenting memories part of the brain' for years to come? I had one yesterday at my boys little piano concert.

Now my little one, about 4 weeks ago, decided that he could not bare waiting one more second to start piano lessons, so we agreed that he could 'hijack' big brother's last 3 piano lessons of the year. Mrs P (piano teacher) sadly did not have any time slots left for 'new students' at this time of the year. Over the past few weeks, Little One has attacked his new instrument with gusto (twice daily) and has been furiously practising his one note pieces, accompanied by the groovy CD backing tracks. He happily volunteered to take part in Mrs P's student's piano concert at her home yesterday. Fearless!

19 little piano students all sat patiently waiting their turn to perform yesterday while their proud parents and grandparents looked on and applauded raucously (I was the raucous one.... I know what it is like to perform and receive one feeble clap at the end of a performance - aka my bushband at bushdances where everyone is too busy talking to have noticed the best version of Lucky Star's 'I've Been Everywhere Man' you'll ever hear in your life).

My Big Boy got up and performed the best rendition of 'Inspector Gadget' you'll ever hear from an 11 year old. Big statement... but I am his Mother! Not one mistake (despite the mistakes and 'almost tears' in practice earlier in the day). He did a dramatic bow at the end of it... the relief beaming from his face. Little One was introduced as Mrs P's newest student. The hijacked music lessons were mentioned and it was announced that he would be playing 3 pieces,' Rock on C', ' Groove on D' and 'Reggae on E' (the same piece. different notes)... he played and counted out loud and clapped the rests to perfection and then sat, on completion of his performance, with his back to the audience during the clapping and after! He didn't move! Mrs P announced that there could not possibly be 'an encore' as they were all the pieces he had been taught! He didn't move for ages, just sat with his back to us just soaking in the attention. I have never laughed so much in my life... and I was bursting with love for both my boys. When asked later why he didn't move, Little One said, "I just loved to hear everyone clapping for me, Mum. They clapped the loudest for me". Fearless!
A-M xx

Friday, November 27, 2009

Growing Up



First day of  Primary School - now for high school!

Ahhh, Friday already. Next week is the last week of school for the year, with a Piano Concert, Guitar Ensemble Concert, Christmas Pagent, Speech Night and break up parties all in the one week. My boys are exhausted. With one of their school motto's being 'Finish Hard', they are being pushed hard, right to the end. Big one got some great news this week, receiving the highest grade for his Trinity College Guitar Exam, and little one FINALLY received an 'Award Card' for 'always doing neat and tidy work' (he's been sweatin' on that one all year). We're off to the 'Middle School' orientation day tomorrow .... my big boy starts high school next year.... . it seems like just yesterday we spent our days in the park, feeding the ducks and swinging on the swings.


 
In the blink of an eye!
Have a great weekend!
A-M xx

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Perfect Porch


Well yes, it is possible to have a 'before and after' scenario in a new house! This was our NEW front porch deck, the finished product, handed over to us 6 months ago. Click on the photos to see real tragedy.


Yes the blue defect stickers have been there for 6 months, greeting every visitor to our front door. Great conversation starter!....especially the numbers that were just painted over. "What's with the number 24?", they would ask!




This is my deck today...... after six months of unanswered emails, Master Painter Reports and WHINGING. I've been such a high maintenance customer... expecting a new house!

 
We had our coffee out on the front porch this morning just marvelling over how beautiful the decking is now. You don't realise how really bad something was until you see the good version. For the record, builder, - I'm happy!



Excuse the 'bed hair' and 'bed attire'

... and then all was right with the world and a rainbow formed.... and at the end of it??... my perfect deck! Ha! Can you believe that!
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hmmm, for Christmas?......



Image Courtesy Atlanta Homes

... in a perfect world, after world peace and food for all, I'd love one of these for my front porch. It would look just like this too, except for the ocean in the background... oh and it would have to be white! Hubby and I have decided that I am buying him the soil for our pots for Christmas and he's buying me the plants...... and maybe after Christmas! No rush, the muscles have to heal first. Little one wants some sparkley pool fish that he can dive for and retrieve in the pool. Big one wants a new soccer ball and a totem tennis pole. Oh this is going to be so easy! A trip to Kmart for some outdoor toys and we're all done!
A-M xx

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Some Pots



My gorgeous front terrace urns waiting for green stuff. 
 
Oh it hurt. This pot task of ours. 8 sets of 4 and 4 sets of 3. What's that?....44 pots. We managed to move the urns, for the front terrace, into place last week.





Absolute dismay when we realised how heavy the square pot sets, for the pool area, were. The pots were all stacked inside each other like Russian dolls so we couldn't even shuffle the sets off the pallet they were so heavy. We painstakingly removed the 2 smaller inner pots. They were jammed inside each other, packed with rubber thong cutouts. Genius packaging. Not one breakage... all the way from Vietnam! We had to remove the third pot by tipping the bigger one (and it) on it's side, to drag it out. Carrying the biggest sized pot up the side of the house, up 24 steps? Well we did four of them in one session. I now have raw wounds all up my arms from the scrapes... .... I will have scars from this house! After four painful trips, we jumped fully clothed into the pool. Now that's what I call a reward. The other 4 biggies will have to wait until next weekend. I can't move today.... and all because of 4 large pots!


Down to the last pallet. Hubby was seriously contemplating giving up at this precise moment and 5 seconds after this photo was taken, we made an executive   decision to give up, jump in the pool and leave the rest to next weekend. We were tripping over the 'rubber thong cut out packaging thingy's' during the whole  painful process.

The soil to fill these things? ... I shudder... slowly, slowly... we have all school holidays to finish it all off and 2 little child slaves to help us!
A-M xx

Friday, November 20, 2009

Well It's Been 6 Months......


... and even the spiders are feeling right at home on my weathervane!

I thought I'd finish the week with our pool. The pots for the pool area and front terrace have arrived. 900kg of them! The big urns are in position on our front terrace but it was exhausting work so the pool ones will be carted up the side to the pool area on the weekend. Now for some greenery. Should make a big difference. A BBQ would be nice too. Slowly, slowly. After all it's only been 6 months!
Have a great weekend all.
A-M xx

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This......

 


Cue Johnny Nash music - I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.


 ....belongs to this! Sigh!  
Sotheby's again.

Bad idea showing it to hubby. Guess who wants to do fancy things with pavers up in our back lawn area. Noooo! Leave it for the little soccer players... they're joyous up there! A-M xx

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yep.....


....I'm a sucker for a simple pool and a fancy house. Like this one! I love a pool with a simple mediterranean blue waterline tile, a light inner so you can see the white sparkling water and a few loungers decorating the sides. Perfection. This gorgeous home is in Sagaponack and is courtesy of Sothebys. I should be on commission.

Guess what!.... I got IN.TO our pool for the first time yesterday, when no-one was watching, just before the kidlets came home from school. Yes it was hot enough to venture in. Just a few smick Esther Williams moves to cool off. It was rather glorious and a very foreign feeling to be swimming in a pool I didn't have to scheme to get into. You know.... the friends with pools you ring on a really hot day, bags packed and car keys in hand.."Hi, whatcha doin'?" "Oh nothin, kids are in the pool 'cause it's so hot, why don't you come over and have a swim". No scheming needed. Didn't have to ask anyone! Then my kids and the neighbourhood kids arrived and I was out. I'm a sucker for anyone who doesn't have a pool now and have done the neighbourhood open invitation. I might live to regret it but I've been there and I couldn't bare to make them scheme like I used to!

Have a great day! Brisbane forecast today - hot! No! Really?
A-M xx

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Undercover


Sothebys again! - click to enlarge image to see how clean the water is! Love sparkling clean pools!

It's really hot. We're going swimming inside today. Even at 5.30am this pool looks enticing. Good for sun protection too.... seeing we live in the skin cancer capital of the world!

Side track.... my little boy came to me concerned that the skin above his swimmers is now a bit darker than under his swimmers. "That's called a tan son. That's why we get you to wear sunscreen". It was just like a scene from the Aussie movie 'The Castle'... you know the scene? ..."they're called rissoles love". We've never had a pool and my boys have never been sunburnt so this 'colouring of the skin due to sun exposure' is quite a foreign concept!


The indoor pool above belongs to this gorgeous place.... probably someone's Southampton 'weekender'.

Now where was I?... oh yes.... it's hot here. Hubby and I laugh at the weather report in the evenings. They always seem so surprised that it has been a hot day... ra, ra... "5 degrees above average, unusual for this time of year". Hilarious.... it's always 'unusually hot' and then sometimes it's 'unusually cool', but most of the time it is hot and sticky..... because that's just where we live! So here I am going on just like the weather man and raving on about how hot it is when..... it's a given. Weather forecast for Brisbane today - sunny and hot. Ha!
Have a great day!
A-M xx

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Week Of Pools


We are having such gorgeous (soon to be stinkingly uncomfortable) weather here at the moment so I thought I would share some beautiful pools with you..... all associated with my favourite New England style of home. I have been real-estalking and have come to the conclusion that I am seriously living in the totally wrong hemisphere!
Have a great week.
A-M xx
Oh and thanks for your help with my post over the weekend. What would I have done without your advice! Mission is underway. I have removed the post now, just in case my Mum does some snooping while she is on holidays. You never know with these Mothers! 


'Be still heart' images from Sothebys (my favourite real estate website and my home page!) 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Library Love


 Image Courtesy Gluckstein Design

Now that's what I call a comfy home library. I think I'd only live in that room in the house. Look there's a bar, books, a real fireplace, blankets and pillows and a telephone .... no need to leave! Hope you have all had a great week. They go by fast don't they!
Have a great weekend.
A-Mxx

  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Morning Maths


I want to thank you for your lovely comments and messages following my post yesterday. I especially loved the quote Leigh, from Brabourne Farm, mentioned: "It's never too late to be who you might have been" (George Eliot). So true Leigh. This is so far from Paediatric Dietetics..... but it feels so right. I must admit, I am looking at trigonometry and calculus through different, wiser, 'more life experienced' eyes!...question is: are you ready to do this with me? Might get a bit tedious.....I'll try to make it exciting. I am very excited about the fact that I get to scrabble around on building sites with a hard hat on, wear steel capped boots, learn how to do a site survey, learn how to do CAD drawings, design timber frames, bracing, tie downs (oh how I would have liked to know more about all this 12 months ago!).

Right, I'm off to do my 'Morning Maths'. I am going to set aside a set block of time and find a different pretty place to sit each morning to tackle this stuff. I might even end up at the park down the road!
Have a great day.
A-M xx

Oh P.S. Message for Ian and Harry - 'good carpenters', if you are still following my blog! Subject number 4 requires me to have "intimate knowledge of timber framing techniques and terminology"..... ha! .....yikes! I will be giving you a call and possibly stalking you on whatever building site you are working on in the new year! I might have a few blonde questions for you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In The Beginning, There Was TAFE



Image Courtesy American Gables

Right, it's final. I have enrolled in the 'Cert IV Residential Drafting' Course at TAFE. One has to start somewhere. Firstly I have elected to complete the subject 'Complex Mathematical Concepts For Building and Construction'.... my choice.... after all, it's been a long 27 years since I did anything remotely resembling mathematics... except for some stats at Uni in my science degree, 24 years ago!

I am dying for this knowledge base. That's a good sign isn't it?! I think I am on the right path to where I want to go. Where do I want to go? I want to design houses. I want to do my own working drawings! I want to know all about construction technology, materials and building codes. I want to know what's going on on site. I love this stuff. I need this knowledge.

So I will start at the bottom step. I am slightly, very excited about this. I haven't studied for a while. My last attempt was a few Corporate Finance, Accounting subjects in an MBA, goodness!.. seven years ago now, when I was 8 months pregnant!  I loved it at the time but just for the challenge I think, not the content, ...blah... it just wasn't for me, I was still searching. Now I know what I want to do, so I'm gonna do it. Life is short. Just. Do. It. (mantra courtesy of Nike!)
A-M xx
PS Very excited about getting the sloping desk thingy and the drawing implement thingys too!.... and soon I'll even know what to call them!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ok, So Explain To Me....


Image Courtesy Eastern Builders Inc

1. Why this gorgeous, 7 bedroom, BEACHFRONT property, in North Carolina, is selling for $1.6mUS .......when you'd be lucky to get a basic boring box (with the dreaded skillion) here in inner city Brisbane for that price.... and 2. Even your (referring to any person in the US) basic builder's spec homes have so much attention to detail, cornices, panelling... when here if one requests a cornice, or anything other than an aluminium slider window, you are immediately labelled ' a princess'. I'm in the wrong country for my 'fancy' tastes (that's actually what one traddie said I had, when I tried to explain to him why my French doors had transoms!). Do I have the intestinal fortitude to do it again? Sigh!
A-M xx
P.S. Oh and why do all your homes have set price tags. Why aren't you dragged into the 'the price is a secret, you have to go to auction' process like we are here?????


Image Courtesy Eastern Builders Inc

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Nook



In a rush this morning so I will leave you with some pretties I had on my kitchen bench last week. It's a gorgeous day here in Brisbane this morning... overcast and drizzling... a little bit of rain at last.... but not too much.. which is perfect. Have a great week!
A-M xx

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What To Do With 'The Shack'


 Our very full pool (it rained lots) and the pool area - don't mind the pool equipment and toys....
 
....and the frolicking children
 

This is my 'Blank Canvas' - the pool area. Getting it this far was a challenge in itself... retaining, drainage, access to the upper soccer field lawn for landscaping, keeping 'Lloydy' fed and watered while creating the pool, painting the fences!..... did I mention drainage?... watching our drainage system work is just magical. We have channels, filled with pebbles, all around the edges, running next to the block walls. We even have one running under the glass fence at the front of the pool so the water never makes it near the terrace area. The water just disappears.... sorry I digress..... it's just poetry in motion when something works well!  We recently had a lot of rain and the pool overflowed....it's still pretty full......and the excess water disappearing down the drainage channels....I could have cried with joy.... small things when you build a house, small things!

Now, I am waiting on a beautiful big mirror and some outdoor curtains for the 'pool shack house' (they will be tied to the front posts to look a bit 'resort-ish'). Lots of lovely big pots of greenery will be placed along all the walls, to frame the pool with, a la 'Paul Bangay' style...... lots of repetition and lots of green.... quite formal and ordered. I haven't decided what we are actually going to have in 'the shack'. The chairs are just there at present to fill it somewhat. Any suggestions? Oh and here in sunny, hot, humid Queensland, what sort of plants should I have? I was picturing structured, formal looking plants ....yep I am sooo not a gardener, when it comes to gardening, I am a great fence painter!... so. yes. help. please.
A-M xx

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Now For Something Yummy


Image Courtesy Homely One - RECIPE BELOW!

I am not a baker, can't bake, scared of baking. I don't know why this is. To be honest, I'm not really much of a chef either. Too impatient I think. I don't have the patience for the fiddly bits. I'm so much more gross motor... potting plants, painting walls, things requiring more grandiose movements etc. Don't start me on sewing or mending. Anyway I had a 'Martha Moment' the other day, inspired by Amanda's (from Homely One) fabulous Mini Raspberry Melting Moments recipe. Oh they turned out beautifully! I was in total shock and offering them to anyone who walked through the front door. Lucky hubby had some home office appointments that day. When I toddled in with a tray of coffee and biscuits.... I knew they were fooled, impressed! You must visit Amanda's lovely blog HERE. Say Hi from me!
A-M xx

Mini Raspberry Melting Moments

Makes 15

Ingredients
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons custard powder
  • pure icing sugar, to serve

    Raspberry Filling
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 6 small frozen raspberries, thawed

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sift flour and custard powder over butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined and a soft dough forms.
  2. Using 1 heaped teaspoon of dough per ball, make 30 balls. Place on prepared trays, leaving room for spreading. Using a fork dipped in flour, lightly flatten each biscuit until 1cm thick. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden. Cool on tray for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make raspberry filling: Using a whisk, beat butter in a bowl until light and creamy. Add vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add icing sugar. Whisk until well combined. Stir in raspberries.
  4. Spread the flat side of 1 biscuit with 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich with 1 biscuit. Repeat with remaining biscuits and filling. Serve dusted with icing sugar.