Monday, October 12, 2009

In my life...

This is a list that was apparently doing the rounds some time last year. I've only just discovered it and thought it was interesting so I'm putting it up. The ones in bold are those things I have done.
There are many things on this list that I would love to do and hope to achieve one day so I decided to italicise those.
I'm not tagging anyone but feel free to try this yourself.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fatherly love

These are the photos I took for Luke's Father's Day present, I took some last year and it was a lot easier when my subject couldn't run off. It took a lot of cajoling and pleading to get Jacob to sit still and hold the letters but I finally got nice photos. Luke has a threefold silver photo frame on his desk so these will now be displayed there.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

We're blue

We went for the 18 week scan and we're found out we're having another boy.
It's exciting news, I was hoping for a girl but I'm sure Jacob will love a little brother and the two will hopefully be good mates

Thursday, August 13, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated 1st August - 7th August this year. The theme or topic was breastfeeding in an emergency which at a glance sounds strange or even humorous but when you consider how safe and convenient breastfeeding is and the disasters that have occurred in recent years it is an important issue.

You don't need to cart around bottles and cans of formula or worry about keeping them clean and dry. In an emergency situation, whether this be fire, flood or cyclone, finding fresh clean water is probably one of the most difficult and concerning problems. Finding boiled water is even harder, yet this is what is required to make up safe baby formula and then even more clean water is needed to wash and sterilise bottles.

It is a common problem in disaster areas for bottles and formula to be provided but no provision made for sterilisation or enough clean water.
Breastmilk is portable, clean, and always at the right temperature.

My local ABA group celebrated WBW with a morning tea at our playgroup morning. I made cupcakes and iced them as close to the ABA teal as I could get. Excuse the wonky lettering, it was just done with the corner snipped off a snaplock bag, in about 10 minutes.

Lovely surprise

Yesterday a delivery man unexpectedly knocked on my door with a big box.
In it was a fluffy white bathrobe, slippers and some Bio Oil so thanks Bio Oil and MotherInc for picking me as a winner in your June Mother's Day competition.
Here is Jacob modelling the bathrobe.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A big transition

On Friday night after some some discussion over the dinner table, it was decided that the time had come to convert Jacob's cot into a toddler bed. He had been attempting to scale the side any time it was lowered and Luke had caught him trying to scale it when it was not lowered!

We decided to do right there and then so Luke and I went upstairs to take off the sides and put on the two bars that turned it into a bed. It looked very grown up for our little boy but he was very excited about it. The other thing was he would no longer sleep in his sleeping bag so he would have to learn about sheets and blankets and how to mange the covers.

This all changed when it came time to actually go to sleep and he tearfully told Luke that it wasn't "his bed". We had little fingers creeping under the door, banging on the door with 2 hands, shouting and crying but eventually he calmed down in Luke's arms and went to sleep in his own bed. That night he woke up at 3am cold and unable to get back under the covers but went back to sleep as soon as Luke re-covered him. Then he woke at 5am because of "the birds" so I brought him back to our bed where he went back to sleep for another 1.5 hours.

Since then he has been going to sleep quickly and mostly staying asleep the whole night. Nap time is a little more challenging but I discovered I can fold myself into his bed to give him "na-nas" which is a nice way to go to sleep after a hard morning playing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coming clean

while I've posted a little recently, I have been hibernating for a while and there's a very good reason for that.
I'm pregnant and due early February.
I have had bad morning sickness again but not nearly as bad as last time and it almost seems to be gone.
Mum has been here helping out and consequently I have hardly had to lift a finger which I think has greatly contributed to how I've been feeling.

We went for the 12 week scan this morning and saw Baby no.2 wriggling around. No pictures unfortunately which I think is what happens when you go through the public system but he/she looked very cute.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More sourdough

I made bread today!
It turned out fairly well for a first attempt using my starter, it didn't rise as much as I hoped but I think that's usual for the first loaf.
The crust had the little bubbles you get with a sourdough loaf and the texture and taste were great.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sourdough beginning

I'm attempting to make sourdough bread by creating my own starter.
Sourdough doesn't use commercial yeast, you instead capture wild yeasts in a fermenting mixture of flour and water.
Once you have a fully active starter you then use this to make a sponge or active mix of more flour and water and after leaving this to activate you then turn this into your dough reserving some sponge to carry on as your starter or mother.

So far, day 5 after creating my starter I have a very sour fruity smell and bubbles. Overnight it has grown by a a third and in a couple of days I'm going to attempt to make bread. My first attempt probably won't look very impressive but should taste great.

I have been using a combination of strong flour, rye flour and filtered water as starter food and for the first few days you keep feeding every 24 hours but by day 4 when I had bubbles starting, you remove most of the starter and replace it with a greater volume of the same mixture and the small amount is enough to keep the starter growing. You do this for a couple of days until the starter is active enough to start making bread.
I have found this site invaluable and there are lots of other good places on the web as well .

Friday, May 22, 2009

Makes for interesting supermarket conversations

bodily functions, that is, when you have a toddler.

I caught a poo in the potty last week but felt it was a bit of a fluke; combination of catching the elimination signs and a quick moving mama.
Since then we've been talking about poo and pee a lot and DS has been examining pooey nappies and often telling me he wants to sit on the potty without any success.

The conversations have been a bit like this
Jacob: poo
Mama: do you need to do a poo?
Jacob: no *shakes head*
Mama: have you done a poo in your nappy?
Jacob: *thoughtful pause* no
Jacob: daddy poo
Mama: daddy's done a poo?
Jacob: yes
*big grin*

cheeky monkey!

But this afternoon even while really sick with gastro he insisted he needed to do a poo quite tearfully and so I sat him on the potty. After a while I asked if he was finished "no" so I asked if he needed to do a poo "no" so then I asked him why he was sitting on the potty and he started peeing Shocked I nearly fell off the couch. Laughing

Poor little man he's so sick, he's just lying on the couch a real change from the usual nonstop motion. Crying or Very sad

Sunday, May 03, 2009

a taste of summer

I just made some delicious sweetcorn soup in about 10 minutes.

I brought to the boil 4 cups of vegetable stock (I would normally use chicken stock but my vegetarian sister staying with us)
I then added one cubed potato and boiled it for 5 minutes.
I added some frozen corn kernels and brought it back to the boil and let it boil for another 5 minutes before taking it off the heat and whizzing it up with my stick blender (carefully)
Once it was fairly smooth, I added a swirl of cream but it wasn't really necessary.

It was very moreish but needed salt and pepper. I didn't add this to the pot as I tend to heavily salt soup and decided to allow everyone to season to their own tastes

Saturday, April 25, 2009

at the going down of the sun and in the morning

We went to the ANZAC dawn service this morning. It was a surreal experience getting up at 2.15am (yes you read that right) to catch the train at 3.11am.
There were not many on the train but by the time the service started at 4.30am, Martin Place was packed.

Jacob was very good but after about an hour of standing around he was pretty restless so Luke took him off to find some food. They then spent the next hour looking at shoes (his current obsession) and riding the escalators up and down.

I enjoyed the service, loudly sang the New Zealand national anthem and even knew most of the words to the Australian anthem.

I met up with my boys and we caught the train home. I caught sight of the sun rising as we sped away from the city and my son fell asleep on my lap.

Photo; Martin Place Dawn Service 2008

Friday, April 10, 2009

Start them young

Can you believe Jacob had a tantrum until I organised for him to wash the dishes. It's a shame I can't leave him unattended and come back to a pile of sparkling clean crockery :-)

A bit joy to brighten Good Friday

Apparently this is actually an ad campaign for a reality TV show but I like to think it's just a random musical number in the Central train station in Antwerp, Belgium.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

March Book Club Book

so I'm a few days late, what's new?

Extremely loud and incredibly close
/ Jonathan Safran Foer

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies, Beatles memorabilia, state quarters, miniature cacti and coral. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, his inward journey towards some kind of peace takes him on an odyssey through the five boroughs of New York, as he attempts to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. ~from the blurb

Did you like/dislike the book?
I really could not get into this book at all. I persevered for a while and ended up dipping in and out. I found both stories; that of Oskar's search across New York and of his grandparents, disjointed and confusing. For me a novel is all about the story, the narrative and it was hard to follow here. I also found the pictures, that others have commented on, off-putting because they disrupted the narrative. I find it difficult to read graphic novels or comics so obviously this is a personal quirk.
The book this reminded me of was 'The curious incident of the dog in the night time' by Mark Haddon. Oskar seemed to display some behaviour on the autistic scale and his 'voice' was similar to that of Christopher's.

Our next book is '
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto' by Michael Pollan. I hope I enjoy this more.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Isn't this just the greatest frame? I found it here but be warned it's addictive!

Blogosphere Book Circle Book of the Month: February

Blogosphere Book Circle Book of the Month

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.

About the Book

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways. (from the book's website)

Did you like/dislike the book, did it affect you in any way?:
I LOVED it, normally I find books written in the epistolary style (to steal the correct etymology from Mimbles) disjointed and difficult to read but this was very clear and well paced. The correspondence was witty and interesting and the story was lovely.

I cried at the end because I couldn't imagine being separated from my child as Elizabeth was and I don't think I ever would have had the strength of character to put my own life and my child's life in danger by helping an escaped prisoner.

The other aspect of this story that intrigued me was the correspondence and how the world has changed in terms of waiting for news or just idle chatter. Imagine how long it would have taken for a letter to get from Australia to London. Even the invitations to the theatre would normally be the territory of the telephone or even the text message today.
I'm sure I had a lot more to say about this but as the only time I have to write is while Jacob's napping and I also have washing to hang out, dishes to wash, floors to sweep, and minutes to write up, this is all for now.

I'm about to start our next book so hopefully I will enjoy this also.

You can read what the other book circle members wrote by visiting their blogs (<--- in the side bar)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sweet as pie

I've been teaching Jacob to call out for Luke when he's finished his last breastfeed of the day as he no longer feeds to sleep and Luke puts him to bed.
His little "Daddddeeeee" is too sweet for words and accompanied by lots of giggles.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Firstborn meme


Yes, we'd been married for 7 months

Disbelief, we got pregnant first try


I peed on a home pregnany test LOL

I jumped on Luke who was still in bed at 6am and demanded whether he too could see the line (it was very faint)

No but Luke did and so at the second scan I relented and we found out. I could actually tell without the technician's help.

12 November 2007

OH GOD YES 16 weeks of almost continuous vomiting and I went to hospital 3 times to be rehydrated.

peanuts (including peanut butter) and watermelon

the weird garlicky smell that emanated from Luke especially first thing in the morning. Poor boy had to keep Oddfellows (mints) on his bedside table


no we actually tried for a boy

none I was actually 5kgs lighter

no :-(

I wish

I have a list - hyperemesis (excessive vomiting), carpal tunnel, cellulitis, unstable pelvis, heartburn....

RPA, Sydney

Hmmmm lets see my waters broke 2am Tuesday morning and Jacob was born 8.46pm Friday. I had a hindwater leak but didn't go into established labour. Actually I was never in established labour as my contractions were never regular right up until the very end. I dilating very slowly but had to be induced Friday morning.


Luke, our doula, the midwife, the obstetric registrar and the peadiatric registrar (I think). It got a bit dramatic there at the end.


I used a TENS machine, gas, and finally an epidural

3685g or 8lb 2oz

8.46pm 2nd November 2007

Jacob Albert Dinko

15 months

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dear Victoria

I don't really know what to say...
Australia's worst bushfire disaster
So many people have died or had their entire homes and possessions destroyed.
Entire towns have been wiped out.
My heart goes out to all those affected especially those still waiting to hear if their loved ones have survived or unsure as to what has happened to beloved pets.

To contribute to the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund call the Red Cross on 1800 811 700

Hen's adventures in Oz were brought to you today by the letter M

10 Things I love beginning with the letter M
This has taken me an age to do but I finally realised I was being a perfectionist about it and let go

Milky - that's what we call breastfeeding. I love breastfeeding Jacob, I never thought I would be a lactivist activist but I am. I was determined to b/f to around 6 months but at 15 months we're still going strong and he's such a milky addict I don't think I could wean him. I'm now very involved with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and training to be a counsellor.
Some scary statistics - WHO recommend b/f until 2 years and beyond with exclusive b/f until 6 months. This is recommended for the health of the mother and child. The world average weaning age is just over 4 years however only 1% of of Australian children are b/f beyond 1 year. Ok off my soapbox now

Menus - I love food, eating it, cooking it, reading about it, growing it and watching it (love the food channel) and I love reading menus. Even BC (before child) we never ate out often enough to satisfy my lust for menus and dining out. I now write my own weekly menus to help with that five o'clock dilemma and also to help budget our weekly grocery bill. I live vicariously through Helen at Grab Your Fork and NotQuiteNigella as they eat their way around Sydney and occasionally Paris, London and Tokyo.

Mama - I love being a mama (most days). I have always loved babies and small children and the joy I experience every single day with Jacob is immense. He's such a happy, affectionate clever little boy and I'm very proud to have had at least some part of that.

Meat - I could never be a vegetarian; I love meat. I have even started eating pork more frequently, last Saturday we had Mustard pork chops a la Nigella and they were great. I actually do enjoy meat-free meals and if I didn't live with Luke I would probably eat a lot less meat but one of my favourite meals is a good steak medium rare.

Merlot - I love a good merlot or a shiraz or a chianti or even a lambrusco. I'm very fond of a good fruity NZ sauvignon blanc but not a fan of chardonnay.

Movies - I love movies. Not all movies and something not even the critically acclaimed movies but I do enjoy movies. I've just seen 'The Duchess' based on the life of Georgiana The Duchess of Devonshire.

Mummies - No not maternal people but genuine mummies as in Egyptian preserved dead. I love anything to do with Ancient Egypt. One day I will visit both Egypt and the London Museum which houses some of the best Egypt antiquities including the Rosetta Stone.

Milkshakes - I love a good milkshake or an iced coffee. I've been making my own at the moment. Block your ears any coffee purists but I've been using leftover coffee from the stovetop espresso maker and cold milk.

Mexican food - guacamole, tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, sangria Mmmmmmmmmm

Musicals - My parents took me to see Cats when I was about 8 and since then I've been hooked. I've seen Phantom of the Opera and Le Miserables twice. I have trouble watching ballet because I always feel the dancers should be singing.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuna and couscous salad

I found this recipe last week while I was looking for something easy to prepare and that required little or no cooking. Partly because it's been really hot here and partly because until just this very moment our oven's been out of commission which does limit what I can cook.

I was a bit dubious about it, I'm not a huge fan of fish although I know we need to eat more to help decrease Luke's cholesterol levels and I've had bad experiences with snow peas in the past but it was very very tasty and I'm going to add to my list of "Things we like" as even Luke thought so. There was enough for all of us and Luke's lunch and a small amount for my lunch to be supplemented with Jacob's leftover baked beans :-)

I forgot to buy the red onion at the greengrocers last week. *note to self - try to avoid shopping with Jacob at 5pm on a Friday so I added some chives I had in the fridge and I spiced it up slightly by adding half a teaspoon of minced red chilli (yes from a jar!).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Club

When we left NZ, one the of the things I sadly said goodbye to was my bookclub. It didn't matter that sometimes most of us hadn't read the book, it was an opportunity to get together and talk about everything and anything. We did discuss the book at some point during the night :-p

My brave friend Penny has organised a Blogosphere Book Circle, an online book club and I'm excited to be taking part. I'm especially excited about our first book as I was fondling it in a book shop the other day. Here's our list for the next 12 months.

  1. February: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society/Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  2. March: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close / Jonathan Safran Foer
  3. April: In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto / Michael Pollan
  4. May: The 19th Wife / David Ebershoff
  5. June: The zookeeper's wife / Diane Ackerman
  6. July: Letter to my daughter / Maya Angelou
  7. August: PS I love You / Cecelia Ahern
  8. September: Beautiful Boy/ David Sheeff
  9. October: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
  10. November: The girl with the dragon tattoo / Stieg Larson
  11. December: Love in the time of cholera / Gabriel García Márquez ; translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
  12. January 2010: The book thief / Markus Zusak

Friday, January 16, 2009

Puck's Adventure

Puck's our younger Siamese cat. He's almost 18 months old and is a Seal Point meaning that his points (legs, ears, tail and the mask on his face) are a dark brown and his coat is beige. He has bright blue eyes and is very curious.

Last night after 35 degree heat, a cool change came through in the early evening. I opened up all the windows upstairs and shut Loki and Puck in the guest room, which has screens, so I could open the ranch sliders downstairs. Loki and Puck are indoor cats but at any opportunity they like to explore outside.

Just before dinner the oven tripped the circuit breaker on the complex circuit board. An emergency electrician wasn't able to come until the next morning so we were stuck without power. Luckily I had just finished cooking so I got out all the candles, we all ate by the fading daylight and Luke took Jacob upstairs for a shower while there was still hot water. While he was up there I shut the ranch sliders and let the cats out as they were now pitifully meowing. I also opened up all the doors upstairs to get air moving. I forgot that one of the windows in our room hasn't got a screen on it.

Luke dried Jacob, dressed him in a singlet and nappy and put him in his sleeping bag. He read him a story or rather recited him "Kisses for Daddy" and then I took over to feed Jacob to sleep. Luke went downstairs to take out Jacob's dirty nappy and I started hearing this strange noise. It sounded like the ranch slider opening but that there was something terribly wrong with it. It happened again and again and I was wondering what on earth Luke was doing when I heard a very sad and scared meow.

Suddenly everything clicked, I put Jacob on the floor, ran through to our room and looked out the window. There was Puck out the window on the roof over our terrace. He was almost in the gutter and the noise I had been hearing was him trying to climb up the roof and sliding back down. I yelled for Luke, he ran upstairs and climbed out the window. He grabbed Puck by the scruff of his neck and hoisted him up to me and then climbed back in the window. Puck was very sorry for himself and to make matters worse very time he'd slid back down he'd been poked in the bottom by our overgrown bougainvillea.

After Jacob went to sleep, Luke and I read by candlelight. Puck is over his little adventure but hopefully he won't be quite so keen on outside. We now have power restored but the oven needs to be checked over.
I'll post some photos of the cats at another time. We have almost used up our data allowance this month so no more down or uploading for a little while. But you can check out early photos of Puck here and here

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Yesterday Jacob broke a glass, luckily he was not hurt and I swept up every shard or so I thought.

I've just pulled a .5cm shard out of my heel. I was twisting to step over the baby gate into the kitchen so it went in at strange angle and took me ten minutes and a pair of tweezers to remove. I will now resweeep the floor in case there are any more.