Although in my house we are not big on celebrating Valentine’s Day, it is a nice reminder of telling the important people in our lives how much they mean to us. After finding some online inspiration for handmade gifts I was able to put together a small gift for hubby with many things I already had at home. Oh, and I even had a card already. [I will admit that the card was one I bought for our wedding anniversary last October, however when our anniversary came around I forgot to write on the card. Terrible I know! But we did go out for lunch and a massage to celebrate. Luckily I remembered I had this card so I could finally use it. And I should had that hubby also had bought a card but hadn’t written on it.] I did end up getting something sweet as an extra to share as I couldn’t resist some yummy macarons (seeing as I am yet to master this recipe).


This sweet gift tag and the ‘you are my true north’ card are from Paper Scissors Twine.


I used coffee filters stitched in heart shapes and filled with some strawberry black tea I already had. I got the idea from A Subtle Revelry.


And here are some macarons from Moreish Macarons.


I am right now trying to resist the temptation of having another macaron or two, especially as hubby is out tonight so I should really wait and we can enjoy our treats together!


Last week I was back at work after the school holiday break. I often find having the 6 week break can mean I can feel a little nervous about getting back into the swing of things. However after the first day all is well. I must have been feeling quite relaxed by the end of my first day as I left my keys in my office, resulting in a crazy run around the morning of my second day back when I realised my keys were missing as I’m walking out the door for work. Alas, all’s well that ends well. And I did have to cancel my first appointment but the rest of the day was without further hitch.

This year I’m continuing to work two days, but instead of coming home to feed Baby J twice I’m just coming home once for a longer lunch and feed. I was a little unsure how it would go. But it’s great Baby J is fine with it as is my lactating body. Plus I now have some time at the office to do some paperwork rather than having to do all my paperwork at home. Oh and I may have even satiated my sweet tooth craving last week while writing up some notes.

It all sounds just peachy writing it down, but I must admit part time paid work, fulltime mummy work plus study can get pretty full on. But at the end of the week everything some how is done.

Catching up

A few days ago I caught up for some yummy brunch with a good friend who recently had a baby. Now I’m a parent, when those close to me are pregnant or give birth I definitely think differently about how I can support them and show them love during these times. Having a background in health and a little understanding of health sociology and the history of the health system I also have some views about the process of pregnancy and birth as well as how our society at large supports families during this time. With my friend having her baby four weeks ago, I have been thinking a lot about what things were like for me in the early days. I found it a privilege to be involved in conversations with my friend during pregnancy and following the birth of her baby and it highlighted to me that as humans we were never created to ‘go it alone’. In fact we need to love one another more and open discussions with others, particularly with regard to parenthood (but of course there are many areas of life that we should be more honest with one another about). It is amazing the transformation that happens in us when a baby comes along. And while all new parents have a learning curve I feel it is vital that this learning is a supported one. For me, having a support network made everything more manageable. Yes I did have some challenges in the early days (in fact it took about 14 weeks until I would say I was in the smooth sailing territory with our challenges overcome), but what made things easier were having prepared with appropriate information beforehand (especially with regard to normal infant behaviour and breastfeeding), being on the same page as my husband (very important to talk about general parenting issues and values before having children), having loved ones to check in on me every now and then, just listen to me.

I hope as a friend I can continue to be supportive to my friend. I’ll try to listen and not think I need to solve something, have the answer or get side-tracked with my own opinions. I’ll try to check in regularly (not too much, but just enough so if I can help out with anything my friend will just ask – even if it is doing a load of laundry). And I’ll try to take photos of my friend with her bubba when I see them because sometimes the everyday moments with mums and bubs don’t get photographed as often as we’d like.

Here is the cranberry and walnut bread with peaches, ricotta and honey from the Lewers Gallery Café.

Oh me, oh my, here are some macarons that my friend gave me with a beautiful card highlighting the importance of support networks for parents. After devouring the entire box with hubby over the long weekend I looked up Moreish Macarons and to me delight found that they are local! I think the favourite one (of my half) was the rocky road flavour.

 One of my favourite things to do is organise. And it doesn’t seem to generally matter what it is (although I’m more of an organise objects and not so much events person). Hubby will also attest to the fact that my favourite word is a toss-up between organise and re-organise (although we could argue that re-organise really doesn’t make sense as it is the same as organising, but it has become a bit of joke that I now like to ‘re-organise’ everything). Being January and not working during the school holidays, what a great time to organise some things. Of course my list of things to do is quite long, but doing small projects helps me feel like I am making a little progress (especially when I see the big projects take a long time to come to fruition).


Some jars (from my collection of old glass bottles) have finally been put to use as I change my mish-mash of tins for stationery items into a more themed array of containers. I’m hoping to eventual crochet some coverings and put some wire handles on the larger jars and use for tea light candles.


I bought this clock a while back for the bedroom. However the tick-tock was a little too loud for hubby so it has a new home in the office along with some other bits and pieces.


From my folks for Christmas I received these lovely Orla Keily tins (from here). Finally my extra spices that don’t fit in the spice rack have a place and adds a splash of colour in the kitchen.


Not only have I been enjoying reading The Simple Things, but I get to see some fab food images as I keep it one my book stand. A great place to remind me of any recipes I want to try when I’m making a pot of tea.


And the back yard is slowly getting sorted (and we are slowly getting organised to fix this back corner). Poor hubby needs to cut through some mega rocks to clear a better path around our back room and side of house to then rebuild some retaining walls that are falling down and finally a new fence can go up. Our patient neighbours have been waiting some time for us on this project. Hopefully sometime this year I’ll have a post with a nice clear area of yard with a fixed up wall, fence and garden area.

 Flashback 2, the main reason for our overseas holiday. As mentioned previously my father-in-law originally hails from the USA and has many extended family members who live in the States. Also, hubby’s grandparents have been following the summer months for many years now and would spend half the year in Australia and half in the US. Each year for 4th July the extended family get together at Bass Lake which is in Knox, Indiana. Some families have houses there and others rent for the vacation. So there was a bit of a family reunion last year. My folks travelled with us from New York to Niagra Falls, Canada and then to Indiana where we meet up and stayed with my in-laws. My folks stayed for part of the week at Bass Lake (to make sure they celebrated Baby J’s first birthday) and then headed off for some more sight seeing by themselves.


Now, for the most part of our trip travelling with a baby was great. Baby wearing with our most recommended baby product (our Ergo baby carrier), breastfeeding (anywhere, anytime is a sure fire way to make sure food and drink is plentiful for bubs plus a huge comfort) and co-sleeping (and fortunately for us mainly in king sized beds in all the hotels we stayed at) made travelling super easy. Oh and having some other family members around kept it fun and interesting for Baby J too. But we did have one day that was a little bit miserable as it involved a car. Baby J was never really a fan of the car. Initially we were planning to break up our car trip as we knew driving all day would not be fun. However we powered on as some family members were heading home from the lake so we wanted to make sure we could meet up with them. Despite being quite upset for the last two hours of the trip, having a break from cars for a week with swimming and playing ensured that Baby J seems to have forgotten that long, long drive.


Here is the house we stayed in. It was great (thanks to my in-laws for finding a super relaxing holiday house). The house slept 10 and had a great open living and kitchen area, with a nice glass atrium-style room.


Hubby’s grandfather (Papa) loves to make sure we always have some yummy treats on hand. One morning he stopped by very early (so early that only one person was up in the house) and left a box of fresh pastries he had gone out for that morning from a local bakery (Fingerhut Bun). So yes, you know me and my love of food (especially sweets) so I had to sample a few and share the photo. Oh look there is a gap where one pastry is already missing (no doubt that was me, the first one to get my pastry on that morning with a fresh pot of percolated coffee).


Here is the cake I made for Baby J’s first birthday. While not as extravagant as I had dreamt about making if we were at home. It was tasty and fun nonetheless. Being at a holiday house made baking a bit more difficult (plus factor in the conversion of metric to US measurements and it was a bit too much). So fortunately we borrowed a cake tin from hubby’s Nana’s house (which was just around the block) and Betty Crocker was my hero, especially as she had her pre-mix icing all ready for me to use. Add a bit of fun-fetti sprinkles and a plain old cake is fit for a first birthday party! As Baby J had never had any sweet cake foods or biscuits before I kind of didn’t want him to even have a piece of cake. Lucky for me when we gave him a sliver he really had no idea what it was and didn’t really like the texture of the icing. [Jump forward to today, and unfortunately Baby J sure knows what cake is now and loves it. Probably good as it makes me a little more careful as to what foods I eat in front of him.]


Here is our house again taken from the boat out on the lake. It worked out so well to have our middle week of the trip a bit more relaxed. It helped Baby J have more time to play and have less interrupted rest too. Our batteries were recharged for the final leg of the trip.

 Is Christmas over already? Yes, and New Years too? It always seems like such a whirlwind, but such a great time too. We celebrated Christmas with a Christmas Eve lunch with my family, a community fair and carols service at church, catching up with our neighbours for our annual late night Christmas Eve gathering in our typically quiet cul-de-sac, a couple of pressies Christmas morning, church, lunch at my in-laws with my mother-in-laws side of the family, and then still Baby J had to unwrap a few more gifts from hubby and me on Boxing Day.

Hmm, no wonder it always seems like a whirlwind. Boxing Day morning (following opening of the rest of the gifts – and I feel I need to here make a disclaimer that infact I felt I was very restrained in the gift buying department for Baby J with only a few gifts which were mainly puzzle type toys and books), we started and completed packing for our annual beach camping trip to North Narrabeen. Lucky for us, it is only a bit over an hour to get there so we could pack and arrive with plenry of time to set up tent.

We had a great time at the beach. For the first time Baby J was in the baby seat on the back of the bike. And after we finally found the smallest sized helmet that’s made (so he could actually see properly) he had a grand old time and infact fell asleep on one of our bike rides back from the beach. He no doubt was a little uncomfortable sleeping in this position, but was obviously all tuckered out from the morning at the surf. We even made a ferry trip from Manly to Circular Quay for Baby J’s first visit into Sydney. [Yes, crazy that he has been overseas before Sydney.]

After our beach week we came home for a night to then head west to Orange. Our friends who used to live in Tamworth (see previous post) now live about half an hour west of Orange. It was great to have another getaway and catch up with our friends. We also had an impromptu play at the park with another friend who moved to Orange just in the past couple of weeks. We took a drive to Millthorpe for breakfast at the Old Mill Café. Yummy! I was a bit envious of hubby’s semolina in almond milk with poached caramel and peanut pears. But my frittata was quite delish also. It was great to also get some local produce – a tray of fresh figs and a box of cherries. Baby J is now hooked on figs and we have made some caramelised fig ice-cream and I’ll make a cherry frangipane tart tomorrow of Friday.


See if you can spot Baby J in our friends’ garden. Of course he found the tap as he has been enjoying hosing our vegies and herbs with his daddy in all this hot weather we’ve been having.


At Cook Park in Orange when we saw the ducks and had a play date with another friend. Incidentally we met our friend at a Breastfeeding Education Class we took when pregnant with our now one and a half year olds.

We had to make a few car stops on the way back home. We found a nice shady spot to have stretch and feed in Hartley’s historic village.

Baking Day


Two weeks ago I was part of a festive season baking day with hubby’s Nana, my mother in law and two sisters in law. One of my sisters in law and I have often talked about having a baking day, especially for baking Christmas treats but never ended up getting ourselves organised. Finally this year we were organised enough to get together and bake some of Nana’s Christmas biscuits. It was great to spend some time together with family as well as learn some of the recipes. We baked oh so many cookies. But fortunately they were divided amongst the whole family.




On Saturday we kicked off our Christmas celebrations catching up with friends. It was great to get together, especially as finding time for all of us to be together is much more challenging now many have children or are travelling around. Here is Baby J being helped by my goddaughter with one of his presents.



And one of my friends made gingerbread play dough for all the children. Baby J had so much fun that afternoon at home trying out play dough for the first time. He was quite good with the not eating of the dough. Hubby noticed him try once and then had a sour kind of face (good to know he doesn’t yet have the taste for salt, despite all of our olive and anchovy eating).



Today is Christmas Eve and hubby is sleeping in (I had my turn on Saturday morning). We have a busy day of setting up sound at church for a family fair before the carols service tonight, lunch with my parents, brother and Nan, hopefully a little snooze somewhere in the afternoon before heading back to church for the fair and carols service. I’ve already wrapped the gifts, baked some spiced pear mini cakes and meringues for today, made custard and ice cream, and am making antipasto for Christmas Day so feel very organised.