Tag Archives: children

Planting our babies

28 May

We had another clear sky sunny autumn weekend.  No rain to complain about, a bit of a chill in the air, but perfect weather for vegetable garden creation.  While we’re waiting out my garden design and construction procrastination phase, I’ve been creating little bits of gardens, filling in some gaps with herbs and vegetables, and the odd flower.  The rest of the time the garden is pretty well occupied by weeds and whatever opportunistic plant species decide they need a new home.  Without the rain (take a look here) I had no excuse left to put it off, it was time to find a permanent home for the Drama Queen’s seedlings.

While I always dream about gardening in style, the reality is that we put on the daggiest clothes we could find, collected our tools and equipment and hit the courtyard.  I had assembled my rag tag team of three.  Two of them wanted to be there, and the other one just wanted to avoid too much carnage.  The Daredevil got to put his new birthday garden tools to the test and the Drama Queen helped him while I got stuck into the hard work of turning the soil and preparing the beds, and Mr Perfect supervised to make sure that no one and nothing came to too much harm.

Before we started

We had built some trellises for the pea plants to trail over, and the Drama Queen was so proud of them when they actually stood up in the newly prepared beds.

Pea trellises are in

The Peas ready to plant on their new trellises

Small plants and small children are not always a great combination, but as the Daredevil bored of the fiddly work, the Drama Queen took over and started giving the plants names and calling them her “babies”.

The Drama Queen and Daredevil hard at work

Everything is in the ground

We planted three kinds of Peas – Sweet Peas, Snow Peas and normal peas, broccoli and gourds.  All the peas should do well, we had a pretty good result from the snow peas last winter, so I’m pretty optimistic.  The gourds already look like they’re about to jump out of their skin, so I’m hoping they don’t take over completely.  The broccoli I’m not so optimistic about.  We planted some last year, and it didn’t survive the insects or creatures who feasted on its new shoots, and to be honest we didn’t give it the most delicate planting into the ground – they were the last, and the attention span was waning.  Plus they probably should have been a little bit bigger before we put them in the ground, but you never know your luck in the big city, fingers are crossed.

Finished pea trellises

Sweet pea plants ready to take on their trellis

After a covering of sugar cane mulch and a drink of seaweed fertiliser, it was time to pack up, clean up and let our babies get used to their new home.

The Drama Queen and her dirty behind!

I checked on them today, and everything is still alive, the broccoli is even looking happy.  I’m looking forward to our harvest!



Oliver Jeffers at Sydney Writers’ Festival

21 May

Last week Sydney hosted it’s annual Writers’ Festival.  It’s the largest writers’ festival in Australia (which isn’t too hard), and the fifth largest in the world, which is kind of impressive given how far away we are from everyone else.  I have always watched the festival from afar.  I’ve never managed to get myself there, just wished and regretted when I hadn’t quite made it.  This year there was a reason to go.  My favourite children’s author was talking.  He also happens to be the Drama Queen’s favourite author too.  Every time she has to choose a present for a friend or cousin she goes straight to his books.

Oliver Jeffers creates beautiful children’s books.  I’m so glad I had children because without them I might not have discovered his books.  When I saw him listed as part of the festival I knew that I had to go and see him talk.  Fortunately Mr Perfect gave me a day off, so I ventured out on my own, such a rare treat.  Another bonus was that the Festival is held in Sydney’s Walsh Bay, on the historic finger wharves.  I love this part of Sydney.  To reach Walsh Bay from the bus I had to walk through the Rocks.  I’m not sure if its the historic architecture and atmosphere or the memory of too many nights mis spent in the pubs, but I always feel happy in The Rocks.  I love imagining the society that grew up around this area, Sydney’s oldest and probably most interesting.

There was a buzz around Walsh Bay that I hadn’t witnessed before.  With a diverse collection of writers speaking, I witnessed the whole spectrum of the book loving community.  There were babies, kids, adults and seniors, all equally as excited to soak up a little piece of knowledge and inspiration.  I wish I could have seen some more writers, Roddy Doyle was also speaking, but he clashed with the Daredevil’s birthday, so I had to give him a miss.

After queuing in the rain, which was so much fun as I taught people how to make hats out of newspaper, the doors were opened and we filed into the space that would provide us with an hour of Oliver Jeffers’ time and inspiration.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I knew he was and Irishman living in New York, kinda cool, but when I saw a very creative looking soul in a hat, vest and jacket I knew I was in for an interesting hour.

I wish I had the memory to recall Oliver’s stories word for word, but I was too mesmerised by his Irish accent tinged with the slightest little bit of New York, and can only remember the feeling of happiness that I felt as he told us how his stories are created.  He doesn’t consider himself a writer, he is an artist first, and it’s the weaving of words and images that make his books so interesting and attractive.  It may be the fact the the books are not created for children, not really created for any audience besides himself that might be the real reason that they work so well.  Oliver Jeffers doesn’t write children’s stories, he creates picture books, picture books he would like to read, and I’m another reader who is hooked.

The best part of my day was that I got to take a little piece of Oliver Jeffers home to the Drama Queen.  I picked up two of his books and got them signed for the munchkins. When she opened the book and saw her name, she couldn’t believe that Oliver Jeffers had signed a book just for her.  She asked me to say thank you to him and tell him that he wrote her favourite books.  The good news was that I had already told him.  So, if by the odd chance that you happen to read this post Oliver Jeffers, you made a 4 year old and her much older Mum’s day.

If you haven’t read any of Oliver Jeffers books, you really should.  You can find them on his website here.  The Drama Queen’s favourites are Lost and Found and Up and Down (she has a bit of a thing for the penguin), though she is also rather fond of The Heart in the Bottle and the Incredible Book Eating Boy as well.


Party like a 2 year old

19 May

Happy birthday to my little Daredevil.  He has made it to two despite every attempt to jump, fall, climb, and run into the face of danger.  Although I had fantastic plans for a gorgeously themed second birthday party, we settled for a “theme” of good food, good friends and good fun out in the late autumn sun.

Utilising a big open common area within our villa complex we were able to have enough room for munchkins to run and adults to relax and soak up the blue sky sun.  I realised how good it is to have a big garden space that is able to be adapted and utilised as an extension to your inside living space.  If we had tried to have the 30 odd people fit into our place it just would not have worked.  While the space is nothing special, there is a lot of potential, and the potential is the best part about it.  It is almost a blank canvas waiting for users to shape it.

It has been a very big day, I’m exhausted and ready for bed, so thought I would just share some of our photos from today.

Time to blow out the candles and go to bed!


Friday Finds – the growingest kids party

18 May

As you know, We’ve been putting together the Daredevil’s second birthday party for tomorrow, so I have been spending a bit of time trawling the interweb for kids party ideas.  I found one that I’m putting in the memory banks for when my munchkins are just a little bit older.  The Green Thumb Barbers Blog had the absolute best birthday party idea – “My first herb garden”.  I love the idea of teaching kids about growing their own in a fun party atmosphere.  I’ve borrowed a few of their photos to give you an idea of how fantastic it looks.  The best bit was that the kids were given food that could be made from things growing in their own garden which closed the food loop.  Check out the full story here.

Can’t wait until I can host one of these parties for my kids!


There are fairies in my garden

27 Jan


How do you entertain a 4 year old who can only use the thumb and forefinger on one hand? This is my current dilemma. The Drama Queen (who currently has cause to live up to her name) and I have temporarily set up residence at the Sydney Children’s Hospital while we eradicate the nasty infection she has picked up on the fingers of her right hand. Not much fun for a 4 year old or her Mum, but the opportunity to be a little creative and dream up some new ways to whittle away the hours. I have to admit that I’m glad it’s not the Daredevil that’s tied to the hospital bed, he would be climbing the walls and I think I might be curled up in the corner…

The Children’s Hospital has created an amazing environment for their small patients, and we’re really lucky to have a view over the magical space that is the fairy garden. From the Drama Queens window we can see Snow White, a couple of Dwarves and a few toadstools and twinkling lights. Unfortunately, due to the rain, and the fact that she’s in isolation, we can’t venture down there, only imagine and make up fairy stories.


I’ve started doing a little bit of research for a future blog post about what makes a great healing garden. So many hospitals are now incorporating interesting design for their outdoors spaces to encourage patients to step outside and find a calm place to enjoy while they’re confined and probably a little bit worse for wear. It’s a way designers seem to be using their powers for good.

For now we’re hoping to escape from here some time soon so we can get back to life as we know it. But I have never been so grateful as I have been to a single piece of technology. Our iPad has not only kept a little girl entertained for hours, but kept her mum sane and in touch with the outside world, it’s forgiven for eating my blog post!


Glad that one’s over!

11 Dec

I’m not a big believer in wishing your life away or being grateful that something’s done and never wanting to go back, but we’ve just had a week.  What a week.  If we were a garden we would have been hit with a flooding rain, ravaging drought, a powerful frost and then a searing dry heat, and then when it was all over a minor landslide would have wiped out just a small section, something akin to an tomato patch or a flower bed (for me it was my ankle and the Drama Queen’s bottom!).

What do you do to recover and how do you pull yourself back up onto your feet after a week that knocks you not only for six, but for a whole baker’s dozen??

I like to think of myself as an optimist.  Nothing can be really that bad, and there’s generally a bit of a silver lining somewhere if you can just manage to scratch that tarnished surface enough.  We have achieved.  Santa photos for this year have been taken.  Unfortunately the Daredevil hasn’t worked out the deal with the fat man in the red suit, so was a bit apprehensive (read frantically unwilling)

So we now have the whole family posing with Santa…

We have set up and decorated the christmas tree, one of the Drama Queen’s favourite things (apparently it’s perfect!), and now the Daredevil’s play thing.  I think he feels there are too many ornaments on the tree, how else could you explain the constant ornament removal process he is currently perfecting?

And for dinner tonight we have roast pork with triple chocolate brownies for desert (yum!).

Sorry for another quiet week, but in between doctors x 4,  antibiotics x3, pain killers x 2, mixed up medications x 1 and a rather spectacular plummet from a kerb, I’ve finally mustered up the energy to blog, ahhh.. another silver lining.

So tell me, where do you find your silver linings when the karmic gods throw you some pretty crappy storm clouds?


Drawn Outdoors with Sesame Street

10 Nov







The things you find when you have little people that need entertaining on a wet day!  This might just have to be Drawn Outdoors theme song!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we have this morning.  Are you smiling now??


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