Friday, December 7, 2012

surfing with children

it's ridiculous how much is going on in our lives right now...the end of year is always a trying time as kids become tired and christmas approaches, but this year is extra crazy. We are sending one boy off to high school next year, another one starts primary school, and throw in a year fiver and a baby as well and you have one big busy family. And one very emotional mama. Lots of changes going on around me, I feel like we're on a giant wave being pushed along, and there's no getting off. You just have to go with it and try to keep your head above water. And try not to panic.
The pre-teen is handling the whole thing with so much maturity (more than me, I have to admit). He did us proud at presentation night, taking out the academic achievement...a lovely way to finish off primary school. He blitzed it in maths, willow took home the poetry award. Chalk and cheese. And now we begin the whole cycle again, with jasper just starting. We'll be riding this wave for many years yet.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

twenty four weeks

 it's been six months since we brought this tiny wee babe home. Yes, really. And she's not quite the tiny wee babe anymore. Not so snoozy now, awake more and more and calling mama more often. Watching all that goes on around her (and that's a lot), biding her time till she can join in the fun. Gooing and gaaing and trying to roll (not quite all the way over yet) and straining to sit up and see what's going on.
(jasper's vintage) bassinette served her well, it was just so cosy in there for the winter. But when little hands started banging on the sides I had to concede that it was time to move into the cot, still next to mama though. I really can't imagine throwing her in with the boys just yet.
Six months, and now we're onto food. It's bittersweet, knowing she needs more than just me now. Exciting too though, as we all crowd round her and watch her little face as she tries the new stuff. You'd think that after four kids the novelty would have worn off, but it hasn't. Every little thing is still just as fun, just as special as it was with the first. Maybe it's knowing that this is the last that makes it all the more so.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


the black wattles that are so abundant around here are out in full bloom, showing off for a brief but glorious little stint as they do each august. It's true they are considered weeds, but they are lovely nonetheless, and the bees are going nutty over them. Besides, I'll take whatever I can get when it comes to flowers. Not to mention welcome shade in the coming summer months.

and the view from my bedroom window isn't too bad either.

Monday, August 13, 2012

winter, be gone now

please. You've wowed us with your frosty frosts that numbed our fingers and toes. Our second time round, and we are still impressed.We have stayed so warm in this little shack of ours, but still there have been too many cold baby fingers and little boy coughs.
 now the august wind, it makes my ears hurt and my head ache. The august wind is no friend of mine, never has been. It's all blowy dust and static electricity and dry skin. I need to stay indoors at this time of year, or else I become unbearable. The dreaded lurgy is upon me, runny nose and stinging throat. Feels like razor blades when I have to talk, which is a problem when there are so many that need talking to. Thankfully, the weekend brought precious gifts of honey from a neighbour with bees and lemons from another neighbour with trees. So fresh and so good. Just what I needed.
so, winter, you can be on your way now, I'm sure you are needed elsewhere. I want to see blossoms on bare branches and free baby toes. And a little splash in the ocean wouldn't be so bad either.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

the omg cake

ok, so a food photographer I am not, but every now and then I manage to make something that justifies my many years spent toiling in the domestic science industry. Now, the likes of nigella and jamie have been trying to tell me for a long time now that baking cakes is indeed a science, the ingredients needing to be carefully measured and baked for a specified time in order for it all to work. But I'm here to tell you they are wrong. I have proven (to myself and my family at least) that it is indeed possible to take directions from several different recipes, mix them all up, alter the quantities to suit what you have on hand and also add whatever else might take your fancy, bake the concoction in your very old and very slow (but oh so good) caravan gas oven, and come up with a cake that not only defies the odds, but is absolutely delicious. I served it to the boys when they returned home from school.  "Aww mum" they said, "this is awesome". I served it to the mister in the sunshine on the front verandah for morning tea, "oh my god" he said, "this is amazing". I baked another one just to be sure. It rocks.
My totally awesome almond and berry cake.
175g softened unsalted butter
2/3 cup raw caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 free range eggs (straight from the chook if you have them)
3/4 cup whole almond meal (I buy the stuff with the skin still on, makes for a nuttier cake)
3/4 cup self raising flour
about 1 tblsp. milk
a good handful of frozen mixed berries, a handy thing I have found to keep in the freezer although most of them go straight in my kids mouths before I have a chance to cook with them.
a handful of chopped almonds
ok, you know the drill, this isn't rocket science (although nigella and jamie might argue the point). Cream the butter and sugar (living with solar power has meant that I have become an old school hand mixer of late, this may have some effect on the cake texture), add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Stir in the almond meal and flour, add milk, mix well. Add the berries, pour into greased and floured tin, sprinkle with the chopped almonds and bake until your particular oven decides it's had enough. Enjoy!

Friday, June 29, 2012

knitting outside the scarf

 for many years now, I have dreamed of knitting something other than a scarf...I have even gone so far as to purchase large quantities of wool with the intention of turning them into articles of clothing (for myself), but that is one dream that has never actually come to fruition. The thing is, knitting patterns elude me. I start reading them and my eyes glaze over and my head becomes all fuzzy, much the same as when my sweet husband is trying to explain our very confusing solar power set-up to me. I like to work things out as I go along, a habit which sometimes gets me into trouble, like when I'm halfway through a recipe and realise I'm missing a key ingredient.
so, I decided to have a little go at knitting something for daisy. There were two main reasons for this: one being the cuteness factor of a baby girl in a hand knitted cardigan and the second being that she desperately needed something that wasn't pink. What is it with the pink? I guess with three older brothers, people weren't really going to buy her something blue now, were they. Anyway, she now has a little red woollen cardigan, which was already too small for her before it came off the needles. Can you see that chubby tummy hanging out? It's an uncomplicated cardi (small steps here) but a cardi nonetheless, all knit in one piece and stitched up the sides. I loosely used this pattern, although somehow it turned out much smaller. It might have something to do with my tight knitting and my inability to count rows. Maybe.
So, even though this miniature cardi looks very cute and she does her best to look comfortable in it, there is another one on the go, this time in brown. Because, you know, pink looks good with brown.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

kids as far as the eye can see

you would be forgiven for thinking I have fallen off the blogging wagon words in three months. The reason is plain to see. I have kids, four of them. I'd like to be able to add a nice family portrait in which everyone is smiling and looking peachy, but I thought I'd keep it real. Getting four children in one spot at the same time, getting them all to look at the camera and then asking them to smile is virtually impossible. As is getting out the door in the morning with everything we need, getting through dinner without at least one drink being knocked over or one or three children deciding they don't like what's on their plates, and basically getting through the day without some kind of minor (or major) mishap occurring to each of them. Fair enough, daisy's not really in on the action just yet, but having her here has certainly added to the circus that is our life.
having four kids is awesome, we love it. We never intended to have this many, but we just couldn't resist it. They're so cute. And funny. We have permanent live entertainment. There's just no "off" button, and no volume switch either. And sometimes the performers forget which part they are playing and everything goes a little pear shaped. Mostly though, it's good times in this little shack of ours. Noisy, messy and tiring, but so much fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

we have baby!

 a baby girl no less! daisy rain decided to join us last tuesday, slipping quietly and contentedly into the world in the wee hours of the morning.  Three days past her due-by date, she was causing her mama a bit of concern, as she continued to make sure this pregnancy was unlike any other I'd had. With days and days of false contractions and discomfort, we tried every trick in the book to entice her out of hiding...finally a trip to a local lookout over a bumpy road and a little walk in the woods at the onset of a windy rain squall did the trick.
needless to say, we're all very much smitten with her, and are all getting used to saying "she", although Jasper is sticking to "he" for now. Everyone is "he" to him.
time will tell how having a little girl around will change this little family of ours, but I think that we are in for some fun times. For now I'm just making the most of all those yummy baby snuggles and inhaling as much of that sweet baby smell as I can. Wish I could bottle that stuff.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

these boys

sometimes, when I remind myself to stop and just see them for what they are, three boys at various stages of development, I realise how very wonderful they are. Because we really do have it all going on here. A thoughtful and very independant nearly twelve year old, an adventurous and sensitive nine year old and a tornado of a four year old. How can they all be so different?
 The other day was willow's birthday, he was worried that with the baby due to arrive any day that his birthday wouldn't be such a big deal. Needless to say, I kept my legs crossed all day, because although it's cute and quirky to share your birthday with someone you love (arran and I share ours), birthdays really should just be all about you. And, as it turns out, the baby wasn't planning on making an appearance that day anyway. Apparently, it wants to have it's own birthday too.
there are many emotions going on at the moment...I find it important to remind myself that I am not the only one here waiting expectantly to meet this new person. The boys are excited. Fin walks in the door every afternoon and asks me how I am, any signs yet? Willow spends most of his time on planet willow, but sometimes pops in to see how I am, and to give me a little foot rub. And then there's jasper. He's displaying all the signs of a boy who realises his days as the baby are numbered. I really have to watch him at the moment, because things are being sabotaged. The whale is drawn on the wall above his bed, and although the walls really need to be painted, I don't know if I can bring myself to lose it. Other people's belongings have been cut up or hidden as he does his best to wreak havoc on the entire household. Not to mention the fact that he won't let anyone but me do anything for him.
 But I wouldn't have it any other way. I've seen it all before, and I know it will pass. And before we know it, we will be living with at least one teenager and then we'll really be in for it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a quick little shop update

ok, the waiting is getting to me now...I'm not good at sitting around and doing nothing, not for any extended time anyway. But with very low energy levels and a pernicketty sciatic nerve stopping me from going too far, rest and relaxation it is as I wait for this baby to make it's appearance. So, in the interests of being "constructive", I've done a little shop update. Not my usual shop stuff, but a little vintage shop stuff. Oh, you didn't know I had a little vintage shop as well? Um, I'm not sure I ever got round to mentioning it. It's a wonder I ever sell anything really, with my lack of interest in advertising. I need a marketing assistant.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

bunny still in the oven

I thought it was high time, at 38 weeks, that we took some shots of the belly. I'm not good at organising photo shoots and it's pretty hard to pin down the mister these days as he seems to have an endless to-do list. I'm not sure who is nesting more at the moment, but he's certainly onto the "outside" stuff.
We're hanging out in the burbs for next couple of weeks as we wait for seemed to be the sensible thing to do with my tendency for quick labours. I'm well and truly into the last stage now, feeling oh-so tired and more than a little uncomfortable. This little one likes to spend the evenings and most of the night squirming away on my bladder and I am seriously lacking in sleep as a result. I find myself on the lounge watching abc kids shows most afternoons.
I think we're all just very keen to meet this little one now. I don't know how many more conversations I can take about whether it will be a boy or a girl (it's sitting differently to my others, so of course this is cause for much speculation). We'll soon find out, not long now.

Monday, February 27, 2012

and just when you thought my life couldn't get any sillier...

we went and found this. Meet "millie", my newest friend. She's a 1963 millard safari, in near original condition. Let's have a little look inside, shall we.ah yes, they would be the original lino tiles on the floor, and also original barkcloth seat covers. Not to mention the laminex table in perfect nick. Moving onto the kitchen...
benchtop and splashback also in lovely vintage condition, as well as original overhead cupboards. Ok, so the cupboards down below are new and not so attractive, but we can work on that. Off to the lounge room...
original fold down divan with old blue vinyl cover, which jasper pointed out feels like a balloon to sit on. Lovely.
Needless to say, work has begun on curtains and such, as I turn this into a little work space, something I've been seriously lacking over the past eight months or so. The new hazyjane HQ. Can you tell I'm just a little excited?
p.s. don't worry, the other van is still a work in's just going to take a little time to get that one any where near liveable.
Um, I think I have the beginnings of a collection.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

getting ready

the sun shone for just long enough the other day for me to do the first load of washing for baby. We've been lucky enough to have been given a whole heap of little tiny things, as well as a pram and car capsule (love the car capsule for moving sleeping babies) and 2 cots! Most of our friends are well and truly finished having babies now, so they were happy to offload this stuff.
of course, it's been raining ever since this one day of sunshine, so everything else in our life is wet, dirty and possibly even mouldy, but at least these little things are tucked away safely in a dry place waiting for a little someone to arrive and make them dirty again.
only 5 weeks to go...I'm excited.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

room with a view

it became apparent over the past few months that this little shack we are living in wasn't quite big enough for a family of nearly six, so some changes were made. The most urgent thing we needed was a bedroom so that we could stop sleeping on the fold-out lounge (not the best thing to sleep on when one is pregnant, after all) so plans were made to add a new "wing". This wing now houses a very comfortable parents retreat (more to come on that), and also a pretty awesome kitchen.the thing about building these things yourself is that you can get everything just the way you want it, or thereabouts. Everything here is recycled...old wood, tin, glass and enamel. Loving that sink. Oh, and those windows. A friend asked me recently how we find all this stuff, and to be honest, it's not something we really think about too much. We simply like old stuff better than new stuff, and we're willing to stop the car by the side of the road to pick up someone else's trash or go rummaging through junkyards to find just the right window or door. And people give us stuff too. Although that can sometimes be a problem. We have lots of stuff.the thing I love most about this kitchen, apart from all the sweet stuff in it, is the view through all those old windows. It's a pretty great place to make school lunches, prepare dinner, and sit down with a cup of tea. It's a pretty great place to just "be".

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

how to build a teepee in two days

1. don't start until you are sure that the timing is well and truly inappropriate for a project of this magnitude. I could have had this made four months ago, when the idea first came to me, but true to form I chose to leave it till the week before jasper's birthday, that being the week between christmas and new year, when the kids are on holidays and long lost friends seem to come out of the wood work. Not to mention the difference those four months make in terms of pregnancy.

2. after you have established that you don't remember much of the maths you learned at school, consult your husband for technical advice. They come in handy for some things crafty, it seems.

3. don't bother with a practice run. Cutting large pieces from precious vintage sheets and hoping that they will fit together in some semblance of the object you have in mind just adds to the thrill.
4. make sure you drop your tin of pins at least four times. Crawling around on all fours picking up pins is one of my favourite pasttimes, especially when seven months pregnant. Right up there with retrieving pieces of lego from the far corners under kids' beds.

5. swearing is optional, but at this stage, I would say go for it. I did.
6. after the piece has finally come together, and you're feeling quite proud of yourself for how well it actually turned out, hand it over to the four year old and watch while he tries to fold himself up in it, climb in and out through the window and generally do his best to make it look "lived in" (including adding small items of furniture). Let's just say it's been well and truly road-tested, and is still standing. Phew.

7. even though the whole process may seem a little like child birth...a lot of pain but with a truly magnificent result...don't even think about doing it again. No matter how many people say "will you be putting these in your shop...?"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

am I four yet, mum?

we celebrated this little boy's birthday this week. 4...not so little anymore. And soon to be a big brother too. I can't tell you how many times over the past six months or so he's asked me when he will be four, the magic number it seems. So, it was with great anticipation on the morning after his birthday that he asked me "am I still four, mum?" (a whole day had elapsed after all). When I replied yes, he sighed a big sigh of relief and told me" it's good to be four".needless to say, we are now talking about five. What's with all this wanting to grow up, or is it just the thought of more birthday cake? I think we'll just stick with four for now. And soon-to-be nine. And nearly twelve. Oh, and then there's bubba who will no doubt be in way too much of a hurry to grow up too.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year

after spending the last two weeks back on the coast for christmas and catching up with family (and washing!), it became absolutely necessary to get back to the farm, back home. The thought of spending new years eve with the drunken early morning stragglers and random fireworks going off all night, not to mention multiple doof doof parties around the neighbourhood, just didn't appeal to me. Don't get me wrong, in years gone by...well, long gone if the truth be told, I've enjoyed a good party as much as the next person. But not these days. To lie in bed and listen to the symphony of frogs and crickets is my idea of a good night (in!).
the past year has been interesting, inspiring and life-changing for us, and we are looking forward to many more good things to come in this new year that has just begun.