29 January, 2011

Welcome home my darling!

What a blessing! My darling man was supposed to be working in Sydney for two whole weeks, but the parts didn't arrive to fix the pumps they were working on, so he is back. Yay! I missed him so much - didn't sleep well and heard every noise each night. Thursday was the worst..the power went out at about 8pm and didn't come back on till after 1 am. It had been 37  degrees and so the house was like a hot box and the only way to get cool was to wet a towel and lay it over me. I certainly didn't sleep well at all!

But he is home!! I'll sleep like a log tonight! Yay!!

Week 1, Term 1, 2011

I have:

1 Special Education Unit

16 Students with Disabilities

1.5 Special Education Teachers

2.5 Special Education Teacher Aides

11 Form class teachers

2 PE classes / week per form class

1 Music class / week per form class

3 Students with Physiotherapy programs

9 Students with Speech Therapy programs

My task:
To create a timetable in which all 16 students do not miss PE or Music, but recieve focused teaching in numeracy and literacy in the SEU, Social skilling, Life skills, Art, and Community Access as well as in class support from my 2.5 teacher aides.

The result:
An incredible headache.

3 days later, I have a timetable that I think is workable, now I'm trying to figure out the teacher aide timetables - figuring out when each student receives their speech, physio and in class support. I always figured that those who were responsible for timetables for whole schools must be insane, now I know they are. What I have come to realise is that you need a system otherwise it is sooo hard. So please take my advice and don't take those wonderful individuals who agonise over school timetables for granted. It is a seriously hard job!

20 January, 2011

Today's the day!!!

So the day we have been planning for, for over 3 years has finally arrived. Today is the day that my gorgeous husband will finally have the long anticipated vesectomy reversal that we have been saving for. He is so nervous! I was amazed at how nervous he is and mentioned it to my dad, who frowned at me and said "Of course he's nervous, it's his goodies". I've been so thoughtless - carried away with my excitement at the prospect of us having a baby sometime soon. We have, of course, been told that it isn't a sure thing, that it may not be successful, but we HAVE to try. We can't afford IVF, so this is the path for us. I believe in the power of positive thought and have no doubt in my mind that it will be a success and that sometime in the next year we will get the good news that we're expecting.

I'll keep you posted!!

Emily xoxo

19 January, 2011

A new year

Yes, I do realise that I'm a little behind here, but humour me! I'm not normally one for making new year's resolutions, and I guess this year is no different. I'm more of a goals orientated person. So these are my goals for 2011:

1. To find ways to show my darling husband how much I love him, without using the words - inspired by the song More than words...remember that song. Oh it's an old favourite of mine. But yes, I think the old 'actions speak louder than words' is an important way to live - obviously I have no problem telling him I love him, but sometimes it's nice to be shown.

2. To find some sneaky ways of showing my family and friends how much I love them - maybe one Random Act of Kindness per month....hmmm perhaps even annonomously.... will think more on that one.

3. To stay focused about becoming healthier, listening to my body and taking care of my mental health too.

4. To get pregnant (I wanted this to be number 1..but re-thought that!)

5. To find time for my hobbies (smocking and scrapbooking) and actually get Cassie's dress finished.

6. To be a better housekeeper.

7. To establish better garden beds and soil to grow as much of my own food as possible.

8. To have a garage sale to get rid of all the demonstrator tupperware I have sitting in my lounge room.

9. To try to find ways of living a thriftier life....recycling and not spending so much money - particularly finding ways of using all the food we buy and not letting it spoil before it is eaten.

10. Sort through the boxes in the shed (after all we did move here 12 months ago).

I think that is plenty for now.....I'll keep you posted on how I'm going.

Emily xoxo

18 January, 2011

Yummy Knot Rolls

I went searching for a recipe for bread rolls to make at home for my pal Becc, and found this one at http://www.taste.com.au/ and it is a real winner!!

Knot Rolls

Makes 8

7g sachet yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg


1. Place yeast, sugar and warm water in a jug. Whisk with a fork until yeast has dissolved. Stand in a warm place for 10mins or until frothy.

2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in salt, yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 10 -15 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place in a large lightly greased bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place or until doubled in size.

3. Using your fist, punch dough down. Knead until small.

4. Grease tray and preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Divide dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a 25cm long. Tie each log into a loose knot. Place, 5cm appart, on a prepared tray.

5. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size. Brush top with egg.

6. Dust with extra flour. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn bread, top side up, onto a wire rack to cool.

These rolls are just wonderful. They are nice and crusty on the outside with a yummy soft centre! I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you try them! I forgot to do the egg and flour on top but mine were still lovely.

Emily xoxo

17 January, 2011

Book vs Movie

I have always been an avid reader. As a teenager I read and read and read. These days I try to kill two birds with one stone, as they say, and listen to audio books while doing household chores and cooking. Whenever a movie is based on a book I have read, I always enjoy watching them and trying to pick out the differences to the book (there are always differences - how can you fit a book into a 2hr movie.

Obviously some movie studios do a better job of converting a book into a movie, than others. Some books to movie combos I have both read and watched include:

Black Beauty
Tomorrow when the war began
Looking for Alibrandi
Harry Potter (all 7)
Pride and Prejudice
Lord of the Rings

My very favourite audio books (ones that I listen to regularly) include: The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, Rousabout and Jillaroo.

So today, I decided I needed a new audio book to listen to while cooking. I went down to Chapters (our local bookstore) to look at the audio books and was devastated that none caught my eye. So then I decided to do something I should have done ages ago - get a membership with the local library. There I found two audio books - Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino and PS I Love you by Cecelia Ahern. Now you, as I have, may have seen the movie. I cried through most parts of the movie and didn't realise that it had been a book first. So in the great tradition of reading books that are movies, I borrowed it.

As expected it is very different but I'm loving it.

So try something new - listen to an audio book!!!

15 January, 2011

Playing in the Mud

One of the payoffs of a wet holiday, was seeing these pictures of my niece and nephew enjoying the chance to play in the mud and dirty water. Mum took them on the day that they arrived at the camping ground. They picked the kids up and took them to Caloundra (their parents arrived a few days later),it rained as they arrived, then on and off as they set up. Eleanor and Jonah had a ball playing in the dirt and mud while Mum and Dad set up the campsite.  

Eleanor and Jonah playing in the muddy water.

Walking back to the campsite, oh so muddy but happy!!

Showing off their dirty butts while Mormie (their g'mother) took pictures!

There is nothing better than seeing kids being kids!! Too many kids spend hours playing video games rather than getting outside and interacting with others. I love that about camping, I guess we are camping purists, we don't take tv's, dvd's or computers. Mum and Dad are the same, but my siblings bring computers and dvd's with them to entertain themselves and the kids. I love the fact that when camping your life falls into a more natural rhythm - getting up early, eating when hungry rather than at set times, going to bed when it's dark. It is a simpler life and although it isn't one I choose for my life, I do enjoy that simpler life for a few weeks. I just hope that camping grounds do not become a thing of the past as councils sell up their beachside land for big bucks.

I love camping!!!!

Emily xoxo

14 January, 2011

A town full of trucks!

Roma is currently a town full of trucks. Unhitched road trains line several streets of town and there are trucks without trailers parked all over town. I have heard that the show grounds is a sea of trucks, and I plan on walking down to check it out in the morning.

There are two reasons for Roma becoming a sea of trucks. 1 - the highways to the north, south and east are all cut, some at multiple places, so the trucks can't get to their destinations. 2 - The trucks that got as far as Roma have all fuelled up, draining the town of it's supply of diesel fuel. There is now no diesel fuel left for purchase in Roma.

So, there are trucks all over the place, yet not much food left in the shops. Marko said that he spoke to a truckie when he went to get fuel and he was saying that heaps of truckies are going to go broke. He said that big companies like woolies are refusing to pay the full amount due to the delivery being late - like they can help it - blame Mother Nature. This makes me so angry...as if Woolies can't afford to just pay them what they should.... anyway more trucks seem to arrive all the time and apparently Miles has even more! Certainly not a sight we see every day.

Emily xoxo

13 January, 2011

Baking Day!

Every now and then, usually on a weekend or during holidays, I get the baking bug. During these obsessive all consuming days, I bake a heap of 'stuff' then freeze it so that we don't eat it all at once. Like any good obsession I have a trigger - usually it is my husband asking me to make smoko for work or as a way of avoiding other things (housework and less fun activities). Today it was a combination of the two. I was so sick to my stomach watching the news about the horrific events in Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley and the rising water in Brisbane. I decided that for my sanity I would tune out from the TV. I put on an audio book and started a baking frenzy. I baked two cakes and one batch of biscuits.

I made the following simply scrumptious Banana Cake with Lemon Icing. My darling friend Becc (whose blog rocks) gave me the recipe.

Becc's Banana Cake

1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon of orange juice or lemon juice
250g Bananas (approx 2)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups SR Flour
2 eggs
60g butter

Combine milk and juice. Peel and mash bananas. Add sugar, flour, beaten eggs, softened butter and combined milk & lemon juice. Beat on low until combined then on medium for 2 minutes. Turn the mix into a greased 23 x 12cm loaf tin whic has the base lined with baking paper. Bake in a low to moderate oven (180 C) for 45 minutes.

1 1/4 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Sift icing sugar and add lemon juice gradually until icing is smooth. When cake is cool, ice.

Doesn't this look scrumptious!!!

I also baked a Cardamom cake and some delicious cookies! I'm planning to do some more baking tomorrow and we'll see what I can create then!!! The cake disappeared within only ten mins in Marko's work tea room. The guys almost inhaled it, so it must have been good.

Emily xoxo

12 January, 2011

On your marks, get set, go!

There are times when I find myself watching my darling husband Marko when he is playing with my nephew Jonah, when my heart swells and I fall more in love with him. These times also remind me how much his heart breaks every day at not having his two sons in our life.

The following series of photos were taken by my mum at Dicky Beach on one of the few days it didn't rain.

Marking the starting line

Showing Jonah how to line up for a race

On your marks, get set (Jona starts running on get set), GO!

And they race off down the beach

Until Marko catches Jonah and tickles him. Jonah laughs the whole way.

I love him so much!

11 January, 2011

A Special Christmas Gift

The dress below was a work in progress for a little over a year. I'm just glad I thought to make it in a larger size. I made this dress for my gorgeous niece Eleanor and had it finished in time to give to her for Christmas. She loved it, but due to the muddy and wet conditions she didn't get to wear it while we were camping. I'm hoping to get a picture of her wearing it soon.  

Like this dress, I have lots of unfinished smocking projects waiting for me to get my act together and sew them up. Mum and Dad bought me an overlocker for Christmas / birthday and once I know how to use it I'll whip through all those dresses!!

10 January, 2011

Secret Women's Business

While we were camping all the guys got together - Dad said it was secret men's business. For Christmas all was revealled. They had all conspired to buy us girls 2 hours worth of pampering at a massage palour at sunshine plaza. Each of them had paid for their partner and put money towards Erica's 2hr pampering session. So we had to choose how to use our two hours. I decided to have a one hour full body massage followed by a reflexology foot massage and detox.

Me sitting in the comfy massage chair getting the foot reflexology!

My darling sister, sitting beside me also getting a foot reflexology and foot detox.

On the other side of me, Jess - my brother Matt's girlfriend, having the foot reflexology only.

The foot detox was really interesting. It was a bucket of clear water to start with. There was some sort of electrical thing in the water and I had a wrist band which was also set up to the same controller box. I'm so not sure how it worked - but this is what it said in the brochure:

AOK Ion Clense (Body Detox foot bath) - It is a detox water foot bath which uses brass and stainless steel electrodes. A 30 minute treatment session can rebalance your body by safely mobilising residues and wastes stored within your body. It is a gentle, non-invasive therapy that detoxifies the body through your feet, helping restore your natural equilibrium and wellbeing. The array generates a stream of positive and negative ions. Through the process of osmosis and electrolysis these ions stimulate your body and organs, mobilising waste products. The machine does not cure any disease or condition but assists the body to detoxify different organs and tissues of the body. It may improve: liver and kidney function, general circluation and metabolism, arthritis, headaches and migraines, skin problems, menstrual pain, PMS and general wellbeing and balance of the whole body.

This is what the water looked like after 30 mins!!  Gross isn't it!! 

09 January, 2011

Bon Jovi Concert @ Suncorp Stadium

I have loved Bon Jovi since I was a teenager and I have often dreamed of seeing the band live. So when I heard that Bon Jovi would be coming to Australia, we moved heaven and earth to afford the tickets to be able to go. 

We arrived in Caloundra on the Saturday and had 3 days of rain. With a sunny day on Tuesday there was heaps we wanted to do to dry out the site. But it was also the day of the Bon Jovi concert. We met a lovely couple near us who were also going to the concert. Initially we were planning to drive to Caboolture to catch the train in to Suncorp Stadium. The people we met said that they were going to drive as far as Boondall station and catch the train from there and they offered to take us with them. So we had a lift!

I felt like a kid in a lolly shop, so excited I could hardly sit still. We got to Suncorp Stadium and I was disappointed to discover that our seats were second row from the top, but hey, we were there to experience it!

Walking to our seats, I was very worried I'd trip and fall, but I managed to make it safely to my seat.

We thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Going was like a dream come true for me. They played most of my favourite songs.

Oh yeah, and Jon Bon Jovi is still so HOT!!!!

08 January, 2011

A crazy adventure!!

This adventure started early in the week when my buddy Becc asked me if I knew when Garage Sales were advertised in the fair city of Roma (where we live). I told her what I knew, that she would have to wait until Friday's paper. She asked me if I was interested in going to any garage sales that might be on and I said yes, little did I know I was in for an interesting day.

I bought the paper on Friday and we were thrilled to see that there were two Garage Sales on, one in Roma and one on a back road near Wallumbilla. Now Wallumbilla is about 15 mins out of Roma along the main highway towards Miles. I tried to convince Becc that my Ford Territory (a fake 4wd) rather than her station wagon, but she insisted that it would be fine. If I had a dollar for each time I said - see I told you we should have brought my car - I'd be rich!!

So Becc picked me up at 6:30 and we headed to Maccas for coffee and my breakfast, then to the first garage sale, which was a HUGE disappointment. We quickly left and thought it would be good to get a head start getting out to the other sale. Little did we know that even with 40 minutes we'd still arrive after 8 am.

Through the week I'd thought about googling the address of the sale, but thought we'd be ok. Becc decided to use her non-NavMan (another brand and I can't remember what it was called.)

When the going was good!!!

All was going well, we were laughing and joking, then suddenly the nav system told Becc she had to go 100m then do a Uturn.... we were a little shocked, however we did as it said. At this point I decided to consult my maps app on my iPhone. It told me to head back the way we'd come then turn up a little side road. We decided to follow my iPhone after I correctly pointed out to Becc that her Nav system had left us in the middle of nowhere.

So we journeyed back the way we'd come - back through the water that had Becc freaking out - and we went to turn up the side road, only it was a bush track. Becc just looked at me and said "this can't be it" I said " Nope it isn't lets keep going." We came to the side road and bravely turned onto it. It was a dirt road.

We inched along the road - No I'm not kidding, it was like being driven BY Miss Daisy -  and we came to some water. I told Becc not to freak out and that we could easily go through it. I told her to just go slow and steady (and she did). We kept going until we came to quite a large body of water covering the road and Becc refused to even consider crossing it which was of course very sensible. She freaked out a little (get a load of her face) and I had to calm her down. I told her to back slowly back to a gate I'd seen and use the gateway to turn around.

So we turned around and slowly and steadily we drove back through the numerous large puddles on the dirt road and headed back into the thriving matropolis that is Wallumbilla (populations under 500). We followed my iPhone through town and out passed the hospital - the way the paper said to come *rolls eyes* and onto a very solid dirt road.

Becc was driving like Miss Daisy this whole time - I'm sure she didn't go over 10kms. And then we came to more water....YES MORE WATER!!!

So at this point Becc pulled over (there was a car behind us) and adamently refused to drive through the water. For the millionth time I said, "If we'd brought my car..." Anyway the guy behind us sped up and wizzed around us and through the water which really wasn't very deep. Brave ole Becc said "Well if he can do it in that car I think I can do it"...she wasn't confident though. I egged her on saying of couse you can do it!!! And through we went.

We drove on....slowly....until we came to our destination.

And we couldn't see a single item out for sale. Another car was just leaving and two other cars had arrived at the same time as us. We couldn't believe it. We'd been saying for about a half an hour "this had better be worth it" and it looked like it was going to be a disaster....


HAHA just joking!!!

It turned out that all the gear was inside. These people had packed up everything they wanted to take to their new house, and everything that was left was for sale. We wandered through and saw a few things we liked. I was busy admiring some beautiful china when Becc pounced on an amazing find. A beautiful rocking chair (I'll put a link to her blog with a pick when she loads one). She raved about how she'd looked everywhere for one when she was pregnant and how excited she was... I of couse was jealous as hell really happy for her!!! I didn't buy anything there, because while I was admiring the rocking chair some bird swooped in and took the pretty china I was going to buy.

Becc and the old dude selling his stuff, found a way to cram the rocking chair into the back of the car beside the pram. And here's the kicker - she only paid $35 for it!!!!

The old bloke told us to go another way back into town and as we drove along we were horrified to find ourselves back on the original road we'd been on, minus the water - except for one small crossing that was barely more than a puddle.

But our grand adventure did not stop there.

As we drove back to town, Becc suggested that we go to the second hand store while we were out but first we had to go back to her house, unload the rocking chair and give Charlie a bottle. At the second hand shop Becc drooled over bookcases and we both drooled over beautiful hutches. As we were wandering around we found some real bargains! Bottles 10c each and even an old vacola $48!!! A stove top one, just what I'd been looking for. It was quite exciting and did redeem my day.

And next time, WE ARE GOING IN MY CAR!!!!

Emily xoxo

05 January, 2011

A very wet holiday

When I last posted I was only a week or so away from finishing school and going on a camping trip to Caloundra with my family - yes my WHOLE family (Mum, Dad, James [my bro], his wife Sonia and their 3 kids, Matt [my other bro], his girlfriend Jess, Erica [my sister] and my adorable husband Marko).

The final weeks of school were seriously insane. Over the Christmas holidays the cleaners clean the wet area with a machine that scrubs it within an inch of it's life, and the carpet cleaners come. In the past all the furniture was moved onto the carpet so the wet area floor could be cleaned, but no one moved the furniture back so the carpets could be cleaned. So in amoungst the Christmas parties we were hosting for all the SEU students' teachers and parents I had a brainwave - why couldn't the cleaners do the floor at another time. I went and spoke to the two lovely ladies in question and they agreed to do it in the last week of school. This meant that we spent a  day moving furniture off the wet area floors and then after it was scrubbed we spent a day moving it off and then moving all the furniture off the carpetted areas for the carpet cleaning.

So yes school finished on a good but crazy note.

The last two weeks of school also saw a heap of rain. Roads were cut off and we started to get worried that we wouldn't be able to get to Caloundra for our holiday. On the Wednesday before school finished I text messaged Dad (who was already camping with Mum, Jonah and Eleanor - James' two older kids) to find out if our site was available a day early, it was, so we left early on Saturday morning. That decision in itself caused other issues - such as when to pack the trailer, but we managed and got away early!!.

Our trip went very smoothly, but it rained the whole way there. I took lots of pics on my iPhone but haven't downloaded them yet from my phone. We arrived at Dicky Beach Caravan Park at about 11 and quickly got frustrated setting up the camper trailer for the first time. We had borrowed it from my Aunt and due to the rain hadn't had a chance to practice putting it up.

We had the trailer set up and just got the tarp over it and it started to rain. And so began the wettest camping trip I have ever been on. I think we ended up with maybe 4 sunny days in two weeks and maybe 6 days without rain.

Inside our borrowed Camper trailer!!

Our bed

A river runs through it!!! This is Mum and Dad's kitchen, and the water and mud running through are coming from our site and Matt's site which are higher...

Plus water from the tarps was running off on the high side of the kitchen then running straight back down through it. The entire eating/cooking area became a muddy smelly mess. I was chatting to one of the regular campers and she suggested we go to bunnings and purchase some garden edging to create a gutter to divert the water....

And so we did! This is our gutter - it actually worked really well.

Our gutter was just 10 metres of garden edging held down with tent pegs.

It rained and rained and rained...

One plus was the copius amounts of rainwater available for drinking, cups of tea and coffee. Yes, I filled that whole kettle by holding it under the stream of water coming off mum and dad's tarp.

Probably a once in a life time shot - Dad in a santa hat AND a rain coat, handing out Christmas presents. We celebrated Christmas a week early due to the water everywhere and the fact that James' family were going home for actual Christmas day, and Matt and his girlfriend Jess were heading to her family's place for Christmas day too. It was quite an experience, we couldn't put anything on the ground in case it got wet and we couldn't really hear what anyone was saying because the rain was so loud.

Our Christmas tree!!

Our feet were constantly muddy and dirty for the whole two weeks. I told Marko we should all have beautifully soft feet because of all the mud treatments we got!!

And it rained some more!!

The worst part was the smell of the mud...just disgusting!!

We ended up packing up on the 24th and leaving the camping ground on Christmas day. All the flood water was rising and we were worried that we wouldn't be able to get home. But we did....phew!! The roads closed only a day or two later. I've spent the last week cleaning everything we took camping - washing down Matt's tent, the camper trailer and the tarps. Next on my list is the inside of the house. You'd never know to look at it that I did a huge clean up before we left. There are dead bugs everywhere....sigh...I think I'll leave the vacuuming until later this arvo when it is cool.

Emily xoxo