Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Uncle Andy arrived before Christmas bearing gifts or more importantly a gift for Jack that's been a big hit. It's a playgym with a slide and a sprinkler bar. Within minutes of his arrival the gym was assembled, the hose attached and Jack was in business. The picture below is a video.

Driver Malfunction

Last night we went to my friend Narelle's for NYE. We (S, Uncle Andy and I) thought it would be a pretty early night, but took the portacot along anyway. We also took my new whizzbang-bells-and-whistles- whoopdedoo ice cream machine with built in sprinkle dispenser. It was prepared for its maiden voyage. I'd made the ice cream mixture (do you really have to ask what flavour?), chilled the freezer bowl, filled the sprinkler compartments, bought the ice cream cones and took along the instructions. The only flaw in my cunning plan was to drink several glasses of champagne before I attempted to read the aforementioned instructions and operate the machine. I poured the soon to be ice cream mixture into the machine only to watch in horror as it all started to pour out again. Ack. All down Narelle's lovely white cupboards. Some of the mixture was rescued and it made just enough for the kids that were there. Not sure how it tasted as the adults didn't get to try it but it seemed to be a hit.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Oh Carol!

The next day we went to Wagga Library for their Christmas storytime which Sharon did and it was fantastic as always. I had called the previous day to check on the time and had made a comment about Santa only to be told,"We don't do Santa." Apparently they got complaints (not due to Santa's behaviour) but rather due to the Santa Saturation Factor which is very high in the main shopping district of Wagga. Over 4 Santas within 3 blocks. Too many Santas and too confusing for the kids.
Anyway when we went into the library I ran into Carol, who I used to work with at the Library. Carol has a great eye whether it be for fashion, books or piratical rubber duckies. She showed me this which I thought was very funny.
When I left the library to go on maternity leave she gave me a little book she'd made full of the most bizarre names I could possibly want to call my child. It also had this attached as I had a reputation for being a bit of an enthusiastic knitter.

I thought it was hilarious and thank goodness I'm not out of control like that and then six months later I made this outfit for Jack. Knitted the whole damn thing. He thought the booties (they made a noise) were much more interesting.

Another Christmas party!

And so to the last playgroup Christmas Party! I knew this one would be different to the Wednesday one. For a start I had a feeling there wouldn't be much fruit on offer. I was told not to go to too much trouble and a plate of fairy bread would do very nicely thank you. So I cut them into the shape of Xmas trees and stars. I made up little bags of reindeer food made with oats and edible sparkly sprinkles that had a matching poem that goes like this :
Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home.
I got some funny looks from some people but never mind. Easier to clean up than munched up bits of carrots (what my parents used to do - very impressive) or what one playgroup mum was going to do - make prints in the dirt with horseshoes. Am interested to see how that turned out as I supplied the horseshoes. And Jack and I dressed accordingly. I wore one red thong and one green thong and Jack did the same colour combo with his socks. Nice. We didn't want to go overboard.
And I was right about the food. There were cupcakes, butterfly cakes, rolly cakes, chocolate cakes, lollies, cheezels and chips and fairy bread which started to look the worse for wear quite quickly after I noticed that Jack was taking a piece and sucking a corner then putting it back. Ugh.
There were lots of blow ins, johnny -come-latelys and freddie's and people who had never been to playgroup. I got a running commentary on them all from Barb (including who was pregnant but hadn't told anyone) but as I was concentrating on funnelling oats into bags I didn't take it all in. One mum arrived on crutches but still managed to bring her mini frankfurts. They even had a special container to keep them at just the right temperature. They were the culinary hit of the day, though Jack wasn't keen.
Santa arrived at eleven and I thought he looked familiar. Apparently there's one man in Junee who does all the Santa gigs. He even has his own suit. He does a good job and most of the kids seem pretty relaxed with him. Even Jack. Though some were still not sure. After Santa had given out the presents and the reindeer food most of the kids went outside for a play as it was getting pretty feral inside. I got a ball from the car, when the original ball was monopolised by one little boy. He's a funny kid, a few weeks back I overheard him say,
" Can you read? I can read and I eat all my vegetables."
I hope Santa heard that. Straight onto the nice list. On the day of the party he didn't want to share the ball and kept on running away with it. His mother grabbed him by the arm as he ran past yet again with the ball. He yelled out, "that hurts Mummy (she dropped his arm like she'd been scalded) You always hurt me Mummy!" She looked like she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her and I think he got bumped back onto the naughty list. It probably didn't help matters that I laughed.The second ball helped but Jack just wanted to climb up and down a set of stairs. Over and over and over again. With me.The original need to visit the gym that day, except for all the fairy bread and cupcakes I ate.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Santa comes early

Santa came early to our place this year. Jack is still nutting out the whole dude in the red suit situation so we thought we could get away with an early delivery if it meant peace and quiet for us.
So Santa very kindly delivered a trampoline (though the crafty old devil did not put it together). We very wisely got one of those trampolines with the sides so Jack can't go flying off. What are the chances of that happening? Pretty high I'd say. And it's a trampoline that holds up to 90kg so as Jack weighs 15kg (c'mon you can do the maths) I can hop on or S or Uncle Andy. And we all have too. Such larks....
And yes, that's what we in the mummy business call a VNL. Similar to the VPL (visible panty line) it's when your nappy pops out over the top of your pants. Hard for it not to when you're bouncing like a demon.

the chocolate advent calendar and the concept of delayed gratification

Mum found Jack an advent calendar that was right up his alley. It had pictures of Thomas (the tank engine) and behind each door was a chocolate. Perfect.
I guess the problem was that I forgot about it till the third of December so when I produced it and explained the concept of opening it one day at a time (ie one piece of chocolate a day) I spoiled this somewhat by then giving him three days worth in one sitting. We went okay for a few days and then all hell broke loose. All thoughts of Thomas were thrown out the window as the cardboard was ripped and the chocolates revealed and a fair number consumed before the whole sticky thing was removed. There's always next year.

Fixing a leak

Jack has become so adept at helping S fix leaks that he decided to do one all by himself. He located a piece of pipe that fortuitously already had a joiner attached and set out to do the job. S said it took awhile for him to work out that he had to hold the pipe vertically instead of horizontally to get it through the doorway. Sometimes we see him walking through the house purposefully with a piece of pipe or a chair or something and we stand back and watch just to see what he's going to do.The only problem was that there was no leak, just a puddle from the 40mm of rain that we got that week. Is it time to get new pipes when our less than two year old son sees a puddle and assumes it's a leak?

Early Christmas

I'm a little behind so forgive me while I get things up to date. My sister in law Kate and her hubby Gaz and their little girl Lily came to visit in December for an early Christmas. Many a fine meal was eaten at Mudgeegong and we had a barbie here complete with christmas kebabs. Not on purpose I'm sure but when you put zucchini and red capsicum on a skewer it does look festive. Lots of fun was had by all and Jack and Lily got some early practice at unwrapping presents. Lily took to it like a champion and whilst Jack has been rather circumspect in this department he's beginning to get more enthusiastic. Especially when you unwrap a tricycle with a mummy/daddy stick. Noel put the whole thing together but by that stage Jack (possibly weighed down with potato chips) was not up for a ride. The next day we had a hoon around the perimeter fences and he had a lovely time. I enjoyed it too especially once I convinced him to steer straight so we didn't go in circles and I'd adjusted the pole so it was long enough that I didn't have to stoop over.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Age of Innocence

Jack knows that something is up. His mum keeps singing really cheesy songs about reindeers and snow and there's a guy in a red suit with a beard that just keeps turning up like a bad penny, but he's still not at the GIMMEGIMMEGIMME stage where Christmas = loot.
We've been going to a few playgroup Christmas parties and Jack got presents. In fact at the one on Tuesday, we both got presents. I got one and he got three... now is it just me or is three completely out of control? This is the strange playgroup that is unfriendly and I feel like saying not so many presents, I'd just prefer that you were nice to me for the rest of the year. And I took cupcakes (of course) and they were barely touched. Too fancy? Cooties? I think people were too busy getting stuck into the little boys (aka footy franks aka party saveloys etc) except for Jack who was cramming chocolate into his face. I thought he might hurl on Santa - cleaning that beard would be a nightmare. They just kept on calling Jack's name to get presents and I thought they made a mistake. I actually tried arguing with Santa. Now that's a good idea. I'll be regifting one or two of them (actually they'll be going under the Kmart wishing tree with some other pressies I've got). I also saw a woman who I haven't seen in ages. Didn't recognise her so she had to come up and say hi and I couldn't remember her name. All I could think was it's the tart! When I was doing some restaurant reviews I did training and then a review with her. I remember her telling a story about a waiter who as he served her entree said, "madam, you're the tart..." . She had already been feeling self conscious because she was dining with a man (not her husband) and people might talk. I thought all of this was very funny and henceforth knew her as the tart but as a result still cannot tell you her name.
The playgroup party on Wednesday was a whole other kettle of reindeer. Jack got a present (a popup thomas tent which is a huge hit) but the vibe is friendlier and more relaxed. This time I took gingerbread christmas trees and stars which were very subtle and understated(icing those suckers was a nightmare) but the green food colouring was a hit. I also took watermelon and cherries because I am so healthy. Jack of course ignored the fruit on his plate and ate cupcakes and had a lovely time playing. Then the kids played what's the time mr wolf? and we sang songs and listened to a story.When the pressies were handed out the kids were told to wait till they got home to unwrap them. Soon the sound of ripping paper was heard as this advice was rejected and presents were revealed. Jack didn't want to open his as he was happy playing but the other kids wanted to see what he got. A few people opened their tents then were faced with the problem of how to fold them up again.
The playgroup on Thursdays is having their party next week and I have to take a present this time (a book under $5) which is fine. I also have to take fairy bread. I am under strict instructions not to go to any trouble. This week I took along my leftover uniced trees and stars and the kids had a great time icing and sprinkling and eating. Mmmm...sugar.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Lamb Aversion Therapy

When it comes to ladders and climbing things Jack is fearless, but when it comes to animals he's more circumspect. Maybe it's a Darwinian thing. He's not sure about sheep. They're okay from a distance, not so good up close. Noel and Diane have a poddy called Tiger that they're raising and Jack patted it on the head last night, which is big progress. Then we all went inside and ate slow roasted lamb.
When it came time for dessert Jack suddenly took off and scooted around the table to Noel and clambered onto his lap. We were all thinking how cute this was till he whipped out Noel's dessert spoon and got stuck into the ice cream punnet which was right in front of Noel. You can't fight that ice cream gene. It comes from both sides of the family.

Friday, 5 December 2008


We've had problems lately with bandicoots and locusts. The locusts are real (and plentiful) but the bandicooting that's going on is to do with the potato plants in the veggie patch. S is very proud of his plants and had a strictly no bandicooting policy but I managed to talk him round. Bandicooting is when you don't wait to harvest all the spuds at once (because let's face it that's going to be alot of potatoes) but you just dig in and take them as you need them. The first time he did this I baked them in the oven and we ate them with sour cream and spring onions (also from the veggie patch), freshly shelled peas (our own) and a nice sirloin. A very satisfying meal, particularly now we're no longer at the Manor and eating potatoes with every meal.
The locusts however are horrible. We don't really have a problem with them eating everything here (they like green food) but they are everywhere and the car ends up covered in locust guts and legs and other bits and always has that barbecued locust aroma. S told me that I'm supposed to drive slowly through a swarm of locusts so I don't damage the car. This came as a surprise to me. I thought it was my civic duty to drive quickly so I killed as many of the suckers as possible. When they first turned up at out place Jack though they were hilarious as he ran through them causing them to fly all over the place pinging off his forehead. We make our own fun in the country.


Yesterday we went to see Santa. When I was little I was very scared of Santa (and really who could blame me?) so for a few weeks now I've been talking about Santa in glowing terms and pointing him out to Jack in books and the like. I was hoping that we would avoid my santaphobia. Actually there's probably a proper word for it (not santa claustrophobia). We even took Narelle and the other Jack for moral support and we knew the photographer, the lovely Belinda.
But as soon as we got close to Santa Jack froze and clung on to me. Would not countenance going near Santa, let alone sitting on his lap. What to do? Santa suggested I sit on his lap. Now as you can see he kind of looks like the real deal. His eyebrows were drawn on in white pencil. I figure this is his favourite gig of the year and he's maybe nearly eighty so when he suggested I sit on his knee I was worried about snapping one of his geriatric limbs but he was quite enthusiastic about the idea. Everyone gave me the nod so after he fluffed his beard, I sighed and sat on his knee. Jack had his legs pincered around me like a koala and a freaked out one at that. And no he wasn't trying to advertise the DVD he's holding. Just didn't want to let go of it (I think Peppa's presence reassured him). Once I'd turned him around to face the camera we were set to go. A lot of effort went into getting Jack to smile but that was asking alot. I'm laughing, a nervous kind of laugh because Santa started saying he felt like Clint Eastwood. And my hair is once again insane because I'd spent the previous hour chasing Jack around the library and the park. So we got our first Santa photo and it's a cracker. We had to go and play with the trains on the Thomas table to recover. Maybe next year I'll send S.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The toy library strikes again

Another month has come and gone and Jack's latest items from the toy library had to go back. I was keen to pick this time but I had to try my luck selling my wares at the Jiant Junee Jarage sale (more on that later). So S and Jack headed into Wagga and fortuitously ran into Noel and Diane. The oven and the tractor was returned and they came home with this monster. I think Jack is planning on helping with the harvest this weekend.

Helping out

Ever since Jack helped fix the leak he's been doing all sorts of chores around the house. Cleaning up, sweeping and doing the washing (well someone has to). When S decided to cut back the wisteria he was a willing helper. It was getting a little crowded on that top step. He also dragged the offcuts into the yard for the sheep to eat. And after a job well done he and S both had a reward.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Swimming Lessons

Before the sewing marathon Jack started swimming lessons. We didn't think he'd learn much, just wanted him to have fun and not hate lessons like S and I both did. I hated them so much that I was excited when I got an ear infection and couldn't swim for awhile. I was afraid of being bitten by a blue ringed octopus.
So fun was on the agenda and was mostly what we had. I also had an excellent tricep and bicep workout from hefting Jack out of the water and into the air, which was Jack's favourite trick. Lessons seem to have changed since I was little (you know back in my day) and Jack's involved singing and games. The kids ran along floating rubber mats on the water, collected plastic sea critters, played aquatic basketball and waded through 'seaweed'. The class was a mix of people. There were three well dressed country wives with their suitably named blonde daughters, another Jack always clad in wet and clingy underpants (I hope he was toilet trained), two friendly mums and a very unfriendly mum with her unfriendly mother and her unfriendly child. Brrr.
All the kids reacted differently to the water, some loved it and others cried. Jack had a bet each way depending on his mood and how much sleep he'd had beforehand.
One day I turned up and a Mum remarked that we mustn't have got the memo. Memo? I thought and then realised. All the mums had been replaced by WDCW grazier husbands. And the change in the blonde princesses was amazing. Trying it on? Big time. Tantrums and tears and the Dad's looked exhausted. Then they got competitive. One's daughter put her head under water, so another had to dunk his daughter. To say she was surprised was an understatement. And so it went on, with the little blonde princesses looking increasingly more startled by the second.
The other Jack was always accompanied by his father, a most unfortunate man who always referred to our Jack as 'that little girl'. Finally I could bear it no longer and I told him Jack was a boy. He told me that he had the same problem, but wouldn't that make you more circumspect about making that mistake? Then the week after he called Jack a little girl again. Sigh.
So after five weeks Jack finished. He can't swim as such but he can do the monkey and the crocodile and likes going to the pool. Success.

Oh Christmas tree

Today Jack and I purchased a Christmas tree. Not one of those lovely, resiny ones but a horrible, plasticky one with a built in fibre optic light show. It is fabulous. Especially now that I've added the Christmas ornaments that Garn gave me. Some are cool, some tacky and some bizarre. Crocheted snowflake anyone? But I think along with tinsel and other tree trimming essentials it looks great. I feel festive already. When I was in retail this was a season I dreaded. That fake smile really got a workout. Now I'm hoping that Jack has a ball. We've already done some craft for presents. I'm sure everyone will be pleased to hear that. And I've got some really kitschy DVDs at the ready. The ones I used to watch when I was little with the weird puppets. Childhood trauma here we come. And we're planning on a photo with Santa any day now (hope he copes better than I did).
And the tree? Well apart from the danger of him destroying it, it's a big hit. Particularly Garn's duck and pig ornaments (you don't see those everyday) which he points at and alternates between saying guck!guck! and oinking. I have told him the tree is just for looking, not touching so he blew on it. Oh yes, the pinging noise (jingle bells!) is Jack's head connecting with the book case. He's fine. Not sure if the duck will survive the season though. And how to achieve the authentic Christmas tree smell? S suggested I cut some branches off the pine trees outside and hide them around the base of the fabulous fake. That was refreshing in itself - I thought he was going to suggest one of those pine tree car deodorisers.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Jack boots

But of course who am I kidding. You really just want to see how Jack is. Yesterday as the weather was much warmer the clam shell got a workout. As Jack likes to hop in and out and the grass is quite prickly I put his gumboots on which made for a very interesting look indeed.

Arctic Market

I began to feel nervous when I heard the weather forecast for the weekend. Rain with hailstorms on Saturday - the day of the market. But then Wednesday and Thursday came and went with quite pleasant weather and I hoped that the weather people had got their balloons mixed up and it would be fine. I got a call on Friday night, when the one woman sweatshop had expanded to two women with one very reluctant elephant stuffer. The call was from Elise discussing weather contingency plans. Hmmm. Still I thought we would be fine. The theme of the stalls was black and white chosen for its classic simplicity (something it shares with Collingwood supporters?) and Mum had decided we should also dress in black and white. So on Saturday morning I donned my summery black and white ensemble and at the last minute threw on a jacket thinking I wouldn't need it for long. I loaded the car (S was loading the oven with pork for a slow roasted pork dinner that night - bless his cotton socks).
The spot I had on Wallendoon street would have been a prime spot on a sunny day, but on a freakily miserable day in Cootamundra (not sure but was there a sheep grazier's warning issued that day?) it was bloody freezing. Setting up was a challenge but we battled on. We had the stall set up between my parents, Maddy (S' cousin who was selling her beautiful cards), Diane and me. I had cut out the letters of the stall (Jack and Scarlett) in red felt and Mum and I adhered these to the fabric And then we stood and hoped the punters would come in spite of the rain and the wind. Any sensible person would have still been in bed. Maddy made the first sale of the day. And then there was a brief lull. We tried to warm up with bacon and egg rolls and hot chocolates, though that nearly ended in disaster when I knocked mine over on the table. Lucky those bags were covered in plastic. It did start to get busier in spite of the rain squalls when Mum and Dad would leap in to action with a tarp and a blanket to try and shield the cards and the animals. Mum was perfecting her sales technique of the doting grandma with other grandmas which worked well. One bought our favourite quilt. Jackie and Jeannie and Bella were a welcome sight, arriving at the same time as a shower, and purchasing. A woman almost purchased my favourite bag but her husband did the pussybum face and she decided against it. It was interesting to see what was popular. The giraffes and toddler hats were very popular. Only one sad giraffe was left. The elephants were popular too. But the monkeys, maybe because they were green, were not so popular. The aprons were not. People looked at them and said what a lovely idea and then walked off, probably to go home and whip up a quick kiddy apron with pencils in the pocket. And one woman walked off with two t's from the sign so for awhile there we were Jack and Scarle. She did bring them back but only one t was salvageable.
The cold got the better of Maddy and Diane and they left sometime around lunch. We stayed closer to two and headed off. The other stalls outside were doing the same except for the food lady next to me who did so well that she sold out by lunchtime and disappeared. There was only so many times I could listen to her describing slow roasted lamb wraps. Roasted for 6 hours. You call that slow roasted? In this house we slow roast for a least 12!
So we packed up and had a look inside one last time. I headed home with almost as many monkeys as I started with as well as gourmet ice cream (for S), an almond croissant and a pain au chocolat, butter lettuce seedlings, sage, basil and a new ironing board cover.
A big thank you to Mum and Dad who flew down to help (and all those fabric donations and the lovely library bags from Mum), Noel and Diane for the extra babysitting, the hat stand and bubble wrap, S for babysitting and support, Maddy and her lovely cards, Bek and her tarp and Elise for organising the market day. Hopefully the weather will be better this weekend in Junee when once again I will try to sell my wares.
And yes, the slow roasted pork was fabulous.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sew and Sew

Sorry for the lack of posts and photos but I'm in a sewing frenzy. This is the sewing desk looking actually quite tidy. It's a production line for 20 toddler hats. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in my head really.
There are little (who am I kidding they are enormous) piles of fabric all over the house and patterns and thread and stuffing and after a couple of close calls the scissors have been banished to very, very high hiding places.
We will resume normal service soon and I apologise for the inconvenience of being deprived of Jack's adventures. I'm storing them up in my head (oh-oh better change it from sieve mode) and hope to post lots soon. Well in just over a week anyway.
And yes that is a cage around my sewing desk. Doesn't everyone have one?