Thursday, December 28, 2006

Beans...

If you are a broad bean, you get to live in this comfy, soft pod. I like to squish it with my finger; it feels so nice.

Of course, the future of these beans is something rather less comfortable.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

369 days until Christmas

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

We had a nice quiet day - ate too much great food, and DS was thoroughly spoiled by all! Still - it was fun to see his delight in what Santa brought. I think the ride-on digger from Nan & Pop was the biggest hit!

I got the Queen of Swords by Sara Donati for my Mum and she (unbeknownst to me) got a copy for me! Yay! So I didn't have to borrow it off her! LOL! I've finished it already though and need another book. :-)

I had a midwife appt this morning and the good news is that I am well and baby is fine too. The bad news is that baby is posterior - the very thing I was hoping to avoid. If it doesn't turn before/during birth I'm in for a long labour with lots of back pain. To say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to explain my feelings! Poor DS saw me upset and was offering me arnica cream "to make you feel better". I have absolutely no signs of labour.

I was nervous about the birthing before, but it's been ramped up another level now because I've been down this posterior path business before with DS. My hopes for minimal intervention are more remote now; most likely I'll have an epidural at least. I realise this isn't a Bad Thing and I'm likely to be very grateful for it, but I did really want to try and do things "naturally" so my recovery would be a bit easier. At least my midwife has offered to get a specialist epi man to give me one that will allow me to be on my hands and knees rather than on my back with jelly-legs like last time. Pushing on my back was the worst for me; I felt like I wanted to squat or at least be upright so I hope that this will at least be possible.

I've been spending so much time on my hands and knees trying to turn this baby ever since I knew my placenta was anterior. My garden is virtually weed free - a highly unusual situation! My kitchen floor has never been so frequently scrubbed! I just find it hard to reconcile myself that all my preparation/carefulness has been in vain.

Still - must look on the bright side. At least my baby seems healthy and growing fine so far as we know. The friend I referred to in an earlier post has had her baby at 33 weeks. Somehow she caught toxoplasmosis and her baby has been affected. At this stage, they don't know how badly his brain will be affected; they already know his eyes have been. He has at least 12 months worth of treatment to face. Fortunately he is doing well in terms of growing and putting on weight. What his future holds remains to be seen. The Drs offered to terminate the pregnancy (at 33 weeks!!) but my friends refused for which I admire them immensely.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Naughty or nice?

Test yourself!

Apparently I've been:
Nice, but has naughty lapses. High marks in the good deeds department. Better than average manners. Hopefully, thoughtfulness will continue to be as good as last month. Neatness needs improvement!

hee hee!

Monday, December 18, 2006

38 weeks

Just to prove I'm still here.

Gnocchi

Made Potato Gnocchi the other night. It's one of my favourites! The good thing about it is you can make extra and freeze them (free flow) for those "can't-be-bothered-cooking" days. Making gnocchi is a bit time consuming, so take a seat and enjoy the process.

1 potato per person (use a floury potato - Agria seems to give the best results for me, but I've used Rua with success too)
Flour
Egg *
salt & pepper
little bit of ground nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until cooked. Boiling in their skins keeps them from getting water-logged.
2. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Cut in half and push through a potato ricer. Using a potato ricer will give you the best results because it doesn't break up the potato cells to release their starch making a glutinous, heavy texture. If you don't have a potato ricer, try pushing the potato through a large holed grater or colander.
4. Add salt & pepper, nutmeg to taste.
5. Add an egg and stir it all together. If you're making this for more than 5 people I'd add another egg.
6. Now add flour. I can't give you exact amounts because I do this bit "by feel". Basically, you add flour and knead it in until the dough feels velvety. You should be able to grab a bit of dough and roll it between your hands to make a "snake" without it falling apart.
7. On a floured board, roll out lots of dough "snakes" about 1.5 cm thick. Cut into 1 cm "pillows" and roll these into little balls.
8. Take a ball and press it onto the tines of a fork. Peel it off the times towards you so you have a kind of ridged grub. Place these on a floured tray.
9. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and turn down the heat so it's at a gentle simmer. Drop in the gnocchi one by one. When they rise to the surface, skim them off with a slotted spoon into a serving dish.
10. Pour over your pasta sauce of choice and enjoy!

* Gnocchi can be made without eggs for those who have egg-free households. They don't freeze as well as the egg ones though. If you do want to freeze non-egg gnocchi, you will have to place them still frozen into the sauce and warm the whole thing in the oven. If you use boiling water they will disintegrate. Egg-free gnocchi are best with simple sauce flavourings like melted butter and sage leaves.

I made a tomato sauce to have these because it is lower in fat. This sauce can be made in bulk and frozen into useful serving portions too. You can use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce but it will take longer to reduce, and you will probably want to skin the tomatoes first.

400g can of tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
fresh herbs to flavour eg. oregano, rosemary, basil
bit of tomato paste
slosh of olive oil

Put the tomato, garlic and herbs into a pot and blend with a stick-blender (or puree it all in a food processor before putting it into a pot).
Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer to reduce the sauce. Stir reasonably frequently. This sauce tends to "spit" so I keep the lid half over it to stop it making too much of a mess. When it's reduce to a thick sauce, add the tomato paste and olive oil. Pour over the gnocchi and serve with lashings of parmesan. Yum!

Blue Cheese Sauce

Melt together a wedge of blue cheese with a 300ml bottle of cream and a tablespoon of butter. Lovely rich and fattening!

Issues with comments...

According to the "known issues" Blogger blog, there is a problem with folks who're on the old version of Blogger leaving comments on beta-Blogger's blogs.
Logging in with an old Blogger account to post a comment on the new Blogger is giving a “please try again later” error. Until we fix this, it may work to log in first at http://www.blogger.com/login.g, and then go to the comments page on the new version of Blogger in beta.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quick update

I am still around (literally) and in one piece! Just been busy with the stuff that happens this time of year.

Baby & I are fine. No signs of imminent arrival but just progressing in the normal manner. The baby's head is 1/5th engaged and is lying with it's back towards my right side. I hope it will turn a little before birth so that I don't have so much back labour this time.

I was so happy to find a recipe for an Apricot and Walnut Loaf I'd thought I'd lost. I made it for our weekend away. It's a tangy, crunchy type of loaf. The orange juice and zest give it a little extra lift.

2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
3 teasp. baking powder
1 teasp. salt
1 cup castor sugar
200g dried apricots, chopped
150g walnuts/pecans/ pumpkin kernels, chopped (I use a mixture of walnuts and pumpkin kernels)
1 Tablesp. orange zest, grated
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablesp. oil (I used rice bran oil but any "flavourless" oil would be fine)
1 egg beaten

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C. Lightly butter and line a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 6 cm).

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add sugar.
Add apricots and nuts. Toss to coat.
Mix together orange zest, juice, milk, egg & oil.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour liquids in. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 10 mins then place on a rack to cool completely.

Great for morning tea.

If you have any spare "good thoughts", prayers, and other such like things, please send them up to the maternity unit at Auckland Hospital where a friend of mine is going through a tough time. Her little 33 week old boy has fluid on the brain, and she herself has cholestasis, and a number of other issues. She has 2 daughters who are 3 & 1 years old. She's on steriods to mature the baby's lungs etc but the outcome for him is uncertain.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The perfect chair?


How about this eh? Feel like kicking back with a good book? Bought to you from Popgadget - the Bibliochaise. Actually the other chair on this blog looks quite funky too.

Popgadget is a blog about personal technology and innovative lifestyle for women. :) Sounds like cool to me!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Preparation

  • Christmas puddings. Check. Yum, yum, wanted to eat them as soon as they were cooked!
  • Christmas cake. Check. Feeding it with rum now... hick.
  • Sew some breastfeeding tops. Check.
  • Take up second hand maternity skirts so they aren't around my ankles. Check.
  • Bassinette set up. Check. *sentimental sweet moment*
  • Drawers in spare room cleaned out. Check - 2 bags of rubbish removed! But what do I do with all this writing paper I never use anymore?
  • Baby clothes in cleaned out drawers. Check. *another sentimental sweet moment*
  • DS clothes weeded so the too small stuff is now in storage. Check.
  • Tidy up garage shelves. Check.
  • Clean out cupboard in spare room and store stuff on the garage shelves. Check.
  • Scrapbooking & sewing stuff packed away neatly in cupboard. Check. Boo hoo! But at least I can get it out easily enough.
  • Make extra at dinner time so I have some meals to freeze. Check. Should do some more though.

Stuff still to do
  • Christmas shopping - this week and next
  • Pack labour bag and DS's "going to Nan's house" bag
  • Clean kitchen cupboards and venetian blinds (ick ick ick)
  • Weed garden, plant more lettuce and radishes, stake tomatoes and get more netting for beans to climb on. Plant more veges.
  • Clean windows.
  • Wash baby clothes, sling and baby gym stuff.
  • Sterilise breast pump and accessories.
  • Take DS's kindy enrolment form in
Haven't been blogging much because of all this stuff to do.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thoughts on finishing work

Tomorrow is my last day at work... paid work that is. It's a bitter-sweet moment.

Sweet
  • I'm proud of what I've achieved while I've been working here. There's been a number of projects I have either been asked to run or have initiated.
  • I've developed as a librarian professionally and also in terms of my personal development.
  • I have enjoyed working with a variety of hard-working, friendly colleagues.
  • The tertiary institute who employs me has been a mostly benign and sometimes even generous employer for whom I would gladly work for again.
Bitter
  • I won't miss the various frustrating issues that have had me despairing of ever bringing this library into the Web 2.0 era
  • I won't miss the awful coffee in the staff room and the ludicrously priced food there. ($2.00 for a small pot of yoghurt? I don't think so!)
  • I will miss my pay packet and am not looking forward to having to live on one income
  • I will miss the interaction and intellectual stimulation from working with my colleagues and our clients.
  • I will miss the opportunities for career advancement and professional development
  • I will miss the validation and affirmation that paid employment brings to my sense of well-being
Sweet
  • I can look forward to meeting my new baby
  • My week will not be so stressful because I won't have just 2 days to run errands! Well, that's the theory.
  • I will be able to do stuff with my other SAHM friends that I've had to decline in the past
These last few days have been tricky. On one hand I've been a little bored because things are quiet. Obviously starting a new project is not really worth it because I can't follow it through and my replacement won't start immediately. At the same time, there are a few projects that will continue without me and I won't be around to see them come to fruition which makes me sad.

People mean well when they say, "Oh well, you won't have to worry about that" but I'm afraid I am a bit over sensitive about such comments. My brain doesn't just switch off. I am still a person capable of intellectual thought and reasoning. My focus and priorities are going to change, it is true, but I retain an interest in my profession.

On the whole I feel positive about the next 12 months. I don't think I'll be returning to work (it's not financially viable to work part time with 2 kids in daycare), but if necessary I could. In the meantime, I'm going to focus on my family, friends and try and enjoy the challenges life throws up!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A meme for fun

Feel free to do this meme I found ...

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
It wasn't a concious thought but would have been something like:"Get comb ... comb out wet hair".

2. Favorite planet?
Earth - never been anywhere else!

3. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
My Mum/Dad's number.

4. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
It's not a phone with fancy rings so I have it on a plain one.

5. Do you “label” yourself?
umm.. I s'pose I do. I stick myself in several boxes.

6. What does your watch look like?
Silvery. It was my engagement present from DH. It is at the jewellers getting a new brain right now.

7. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Possibly sleeping, possibly visiting the smallest room.

8. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
"Hi - just wondering how u r & how your day. Love N." From SIL.

9. What's a word that you say a lot?
Indeed.

10. Last furry thing you touched?
*snicker*

11. Favorite age you have been so far?
26 maybe. But I don't feel too much different from then so get surprised when I think about how old I am.

12. Your worst enemy?
Oh - me for sure.

13. What is your current desktop picture?
An old layout I did of DS.

14. What was the last thing you said to someone?
"Where?" *trying to see some suspected thieves in our library*

15. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
Give me ze money. Then I can fly whereever I like! LOL!

16. Do you like someone?
Well duh! yes!

17. The last song you listened to?
Something they were playing at daycare - probably something like Bob the builder.

18. What time of day were you born?
Around 3pm I think.

19. What's your favorite number?
Don't really have one - maybe 7.

20. Where did you live in 1987?
At the beginning of the year we were in Germany and then England, and then we came home to NZ.

21. Are you jealous of anyone?
Sometimes. It's usually a temporary thing. I have a pretty good life! LOL!

22. Is anyone jealous of you?
Dunno. I'd hardly think so.

23. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
Asleep. I heard about it on the radio going to work and we spent the a lot of the day at work glued to the TV and internet. After a while it just got too much and we turned the TV off. Everyone was subdued.

24. Do you consider yourself kind?
On the whole yes.

25. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
Somewhere where it could be covered like my butt. I'm not into tatts.

26. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
French/German/Chinese

27. Would you move for the person you loved?
Of course!

28. What's your life motto?
Not sure I have a permanent one. "It won't matter in 100 years" is sometimes helpful. "Do unto others etc" is a good 'un.

29. What's your favorite town/city?
I'm a homebod. I like Auckland. But I liked Wellington when I lived there for a while. I think I could be happy enough in most places in NZ. Indigenous people don't have a monopoly on "connection to the land". I've noticed that when I've been overseas and come back to NZ I always have this big feeling of relief to be back on NZ soil. However interesting the other country may have been, I feel displaced until I'm back. Another funny thing is I feel odd when I'm in a landlocked place... somehow the coastal areas always seem so much more comfortable.

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Do Christmas cards count? I sent a bunch on Friday last week. I used to write a lot of letters but now my communication medium of choice is email/IM/Txt etc.

31. Can you change the oil on a car?
Nup. I can change a tire though. And put petrol in the car. And drive it.

32. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
He got stranded hang gliding off some cliff.

33. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
Um - Mum's been doing some stuff on this and I think she's got back (so far) to the early 1800's. Not sure about the dates on Dad's side but we know where they came from in England so that would make it mid-1800's anyway. It's neat looking at the old photos - I have an interest in genetics, so I'm always comparing them with me.

34. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
Fancy? Depends on what you mean by fancy. I get dressed up for church on Sunday so if you count that it would be a maternity skirt I made plus a plain white maternity blouse. If you mean fancy/schmancy then it would be at my wedding in 1999! LOL!

35. Have you been burned by love?
Oh yes. Got to kiss a few frogs before getting the right one ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

T-layout

I was going to use this layout for the NZ Dare #10 but finished it too late for the submission date. Then I thought I might use it for the Kiwiscraps customer challenge but I don't think it fits all the criteria.

But never mind! I used some papers from my October Tarisota kit for this one.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On the countdown

I'm 32 weeks, coming up 33 weeks on Friday 10th Nov.
- 7 weeks until my due date
- 6 weeks until Christmas
- 3 weeks until my last day at work (13 days of actual work since I'm part-time)

I'm measuring on track though I do think I'm smaller this time around. I'm hoping that is because my eating habits have improved since my last pregnancy. I need to weigh myself at my appointment on Thursday but I'm pretty sure my weight gain has not been so significant like with DS.

My midwife has recommended drinking raspberry leaf tea now and has some other herbal/homeopathic remedies up her sleeve for later on. She says she likes to do this for second-timers, especially for those who had difficult births for their first. With DS I had some problems relating to the fact he was posterior. One day I might post his birth story, but basically it was quite a long labour (26 hours), my cxs were inefficient so I had to have syntocin, 2 x epidurals, 5 bags of IV fluids, and ended up with a ventouse extraction because I could not push him out.

I am so hoping that this time will be different. I don't know that I have the strength of character to go totally natural, but even if I can get away with no augmentation and a normal vaginal birth I'll be happy.

We have got 2 more things to borrow or buy - a changing table and a new pram. Our old pram is fine, but bulky and I'd like to sell it. DH would like a mountain buggy one which has a shorter wheel base and can be taken on bush walks more easily. Plus the accessories for it a easily obtainable here.

This pregnancy has gone so fast. Unlike the first one, I've no time to daydream about the new baby. I'm trying to savour the little moments now - the movements of the baby within, the stretching of my tummy, the calm before the storm!

I'm so lucky that I have had 2 easy pregnancies. Of course there are the normal aches, pains, irritating things. Like turning over in bed - it takes me about 3 movements! My hips go numb after a while and I am also getting leg cramps. But so far things have been textbook normal.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Banana Reviews

Some of you may know that the big online store, Amazon, is now selling groceries. The grocery side of the site has the same functionality just like the normal Amazon store, even down to the ability to review the goods and add them to your wedding or baby registry. Some of the reviews are very funny. Check out the banana ones. And some of the others. ;-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Walnut & Garlic Sauce

CW asked about the sauce I made for the pasta in the previous post. I saw a recipe on one of the food blogs I read, La Tavola and wanted to make it. Unfortunately it is in Italian and Babelfish had some trouble translating it for me.

Bablefish gives me:
200 grams of gherigli of walnuts
50 grams of pinoli
1 forelock of maggiorana toasts you to furnace
1/2 segment of garlic (or prezzemolo) 1
100 latte grams of curdled (or annealed)
1/2 oil glass.
IN ORDER TO FLAVOR:
60 grams of butter 8
80 grams of grattuggiato $parmesan

So I ended up doing this:

200g toasted walnuts
50g toasted pine nuts
Chopped parsley (2 tablespoons I think I put in)
3 cloves chopped garlic
cream (original recipe also suggests ricotta which is lower in fat)
olive oil
grated parmesan

I put all except the cream, oil and parmesan into a blender and whizzed it to a pesto consistency. Then I added the cream, oil and parmesan to my taste.

Then I drained the pasta and stirred it in.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Homemade Pasta

100g high grade flour
1 egg
(for 2 portions of pasta)

(Edited to add: This process took us about an hour I think. It took longer than otherwise because DS was "helping"!)
1. Break the eggs into the flour and stir with a fork.

2. Knead to a smooth dough.

3. Form into small "patties" and flour generously.

4. Unless you have an Italian grandmother & her rolling pin handy, pass the patties through a pasta machine.
5. Keep passing the dough through the machine on sucessively higher settings until you have a thin "tongue" of pasta dough. Lay on a floured surface and leave to dry a little. Continue with the remainder of the dough in the meantime.
6. Sprinkle some flour over the long tongues of pasta and pass through the pasta machine again using the fettucine blades.
7.Leave the noodles to dry slightly in little nests.


8. Bring a pot of salty water to the boil and cook pasta until al dente.
Serve with a sauce of your choice. The one displayed here is Walnut and Garlic Sauce.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Organic Veges

This is my second order of an organic fruit and vege box from Naturally Organic. Both times I've been really pleased with the quality of the fruit and vegetables, as well as the prompt service. It's a small family size box filled with random, seasonal produce. It cost me $39.50 (delivery cost of $6.95) so I think that is pretty good for a week and a half worth of produce.

This box has curly kale, mixed lettuce leaves, spinach, asparagus x2, bananas, golden kumara, carrots, apples, oranges, pumpkin, beans, beetroot, spring onions and kiwifruit. You can specify if there is any vege/fruit you don't want included.

If anyone is interested in ordering from them, I have a discount code for a new customer to get free delivery. It seems a shame to let it go to waste, so if you want to give it a go, send me an email and I'll send you the code! They sell more than just vege boxes; organic cheese, dry goods etc etc are all available too.

Oh - and just because it was on the same batch of photos I uploaded - here is a tag book I made for my uber boss who retired after 26 years of service.
I wish I'd taken pics of the inside now, but I was in a hurry that morning to take it in so people could sign it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Gorne....

The long weekend that is.

I did manage one solitary layout. I'm not super happy with it; the title did not work like I imagined it, but I'm not going to go back and change it.
This was done with the Basic Grey Lily Kate papers I got through Kiwiscraps after winning some credit in a monthly challenge. I also used a ghost clock I got from the Tarisota collection which happily came last week! Am very much in love with the papers in that pack!

It was a busy and tiring weekend. The neighbour's car alarm went off from 8.30pm to 4.30am every 2 mintues. Needless to say, our sleep was not restful on Friday night. Obviously, they had gone away for the weekend and set the alarm to be so sensitive that a cat peeing on it would set it off.

On Saturday we took a little train trip into Newmarket for DS's benefit. He's very interested in trains; it makes his day when we see one on the way to work/daycare. The station closest to us didn't have trains running that day, so after that discovery we drove to where they were running from. We waited 30 minutes and finally we were off! The look on DS's face was a treasure to behold.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing all those normal weekend things. I am happy to say that I managed to spring clean the lounge/dining room. A big job and one I've had bugging me for ages. Now I can move onto the next room. Is this nesting? Possibly too soon for that. But I know it won't get done once the baby is here!

Edited to add: Did anyone read the Canvas magazine in the Saturday Herald? In the article about SAHMs two scrapbookers are mentioned, Trina McClune and Nic Howard. I was so excited.. "I read their blogs!" I exclaimed to DH. "Uh-huh" he says, not looking up from the paper. He just didn't get it. LOL!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

International Breastfeeding Icon

I'm a big fan of breastfeeding and the promotion thereof.

Wanna vote for an international breastfeeding icon? It seems like theres one for parents room and stuff, but none for showing where there is a breastfeeding friendly place.

So - here ya go. Vote for an icon here.

Thanks to Amy for pointing this one out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Librarians of old

I just loved this old vocational movie about librarianship. I had to laugh at some of the commentary :-) Have we really changed since then? I think our objectives are the same even if the means by which we deliver them are different.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More on RSS

Janine's post reminded me - I've been meaning to post a link to an explanation of RSS that another librarian, CW, alerted me to:

How to explain RSS the Oprah way

or "how to stay sane in the blogosphere" ;-)

If you are still clicking side bar links to read blogs, then you may find using an RSS reader like Bloglines will make your life easier.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I feel like scrapping tonight!

Looking forward to my little group getting together tonight to scrap. Pity my Tarisota isn't here yet - I know, I know it's too soon but I'm getting anxious to fondle the stash!

Went to a primary school reunion on the weekend. It was actually quite interesting despite my initial misgivings about it. A few of our year turned up. It's funny how people look the same but somehow grow into their adult faces. I have some great memories from that school.

I was thinking about something that happened afterwards and now feel ashamed. One of the people from our year who turned up was someone who used to be a bit of a pariah. You know how cruel kids can be about people who are a little different. Well, this person was a bit different. The family were quite poor so this person didn't always have the nicest clothes, and sometimes cleanliness was a bit of an issue too. The silly thing was we found ourselves reacting to the presence of this person in exactly the same way as when we were 10 year olds. I don't think anyone of us said hello or anything either - not good, I should know better.

Interestingly, this person has obviously found a partner and has a child. If you had asked me if I thought this person would ever find a life partner I would have been sceptical. There's a verse in the Bible (Prov. 30:19) that talks about some things that are hard to understand, and one of them is "the way of a man with a maid"... and it's very true. We don't always understand what attracts one person to another, what other people see in someone else. But I'm glad to be proved wrong, and that they have found someone who can share in that special bond between two people.

eating humble pie....

Things are getting back to normal - Yay!

Thanks for the well wishes folks *heart* I'm happy to report that things seem to be back to normal for DS. He's certainly normal enough to return to ratbag behaviour! I forgot to post about my beanbag saga - heh.

During the course of the week the beanbag got puked on so I naturally wanted to wash the cover. So I filled 3 boxes & 2 nappy buckets with the beans and plonked the cover into the machine... simple you would think. Come to hang out the washing later and I discover that I *should* have zipped up the cover before washing it since there were beans still hiding inside. I hate to think of how many beans are now floating their way through the water ways courtesy of ME! *blush*

Fast forward another day.
DH staying home to look after our poor sick boy.
Witness another puke+beanbag incident.
DH thinking: "Must clean up bean bag again; how to do this efficiently?"
DH carrying bean bag outside. Turning on hose. Squirting beanbag to clean up!!!!
Me coming home: "Why is the beanbag on the back steps all wet?"
DH (sheepishly): "It seemed a good idea at the time!"
Beanbag gets emptied again of the now wet polystyrene beans. Cover goes in wash.
DS getting better. Decides that his Mobilo blocks should be buried in the boxes of beans.....

The result - I spend pretty much all morning cleaning up the mountain of beans that have escaped and coated our loungeroom. The beans are now back in the beanbag and they are staying there!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Need an energy injection

It's been a @%$&# of a week.

DS woke up 2.30am on Sunday morning vomiting, and as the day progressed, developed diarrhoea. This continued on Monday, and Tuesday morning I took him to the dr. A sample was taken and on Thursday the verdict came back... campylobacter. Which is a notifiable disease. So now I feel like the worst mother in the world. I've no idea where he's picked it up - could be daycare, could be some chicken we had, could be some bird poop he's got on his hands etc. DH and I have escaped it so far. Which is just as well. Ministry of Health is supposed to call me, but so far I've not heard from them.

My poor little boy has been lying around the house hardly knowing what to do with himself. He does seem to be on the mend thanks to the antibiotics.

Now I need something for the lethargy thats getting me. Sleepless nights, helping my folks move into their new place, low iron - it's all catching up on me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stuff about Blogger Beta

Good Things
  • The ability to add labels to my post... saves and extra step since I used del.icio.us before. I know it's the librarian in me to want to categorise!
  • The layout editing function is nice, sort of. I can't seem to add my gecko picture to the header yet. Will have to work that one out. Might ask my workmate who knows more about xml than me. But it is easier to add things like javascript etc to the sidebar now.
  • Dashboard is nicer and tells me how many posts I've made... only 66 so far.
  • Comment notifications in my email tell me which post the comment comes from - before I'd have to guess.
Not so good things
Karen tells me she can't comment. Karen - you can still comment by choosing the "other" category and pasting in your Wordpress address I believe.
I thought I had a problem commenting on non-beta-blogs earlier but now it seems fine. According to the Known Issues For Blogger in Beta Blog this bug has been fixed. But I don't know about non-blogger users.

If you're thinking of switching I'd say go for it if you're comfortable playing around with your blog a bit afterwards to customise it. If you're not so comfortable with the "playing" then I'd leave it a bit longer so they can iron out the issues.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NZ Dare #9 Challenge

This is my take on the NZ Dare # 9.

It's fairly simple like most of my layouts! I can't seem to get the scan saturation right - if I get the green the right colour, the orange looks wrong and vice versa!

PP is Basic Grey Oh Baby Boy, cardstock is Bazzill and some mysterious paper I had in my stash. I used some buttons from a RAK Scrappy Girl sent me (thanks Debs), and some clear page pebbles I've had for ages.

Incidentally - has anyone seen those clear page pebbles anywhere? My friend wants some and all we have seen are ones with patterns or writing in them. The ones I have are K&Company but they are ages old. Maybe they don't produce them anymore.

Monday, October 09, 2006

moved to the beta

I've made the move to beta blogger. Hope this doesn't mess up anyone's feed.....

Am off to discover the new things it offers.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Overheard from the kitchen

Today the Fulton Hogan folks have been doing works along our street much to the delight and amusement of DS. Here's what I've been hearing from the kitchen while he watches in the lounge.

"Come here digger!"
"Come to my house my digger!"
"I need you digger"
"Where's you gone digger?"
"He's coming"
"I got a digger in my sandpit"
"Come to my sandpit"

:-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crazy Christmas Card Day

My friend Rachel, (who has a little shop at her house and who is a stamper/scrapbooker), is holding an event some of you Aucklanders might be interested in. This is a shameless bit of advertising for her! LOL!

Christmas Card Making Extravaganza
Saturday 4th November 2006, 2-6pm
Mangere Bridge Memorial Hall, Domain Rd

Early Bird by 28 Oct $10.00, after that date $15.00

Basically it's an event where you can spend some time making Christmas cards. Rachel lists the following:
  • All afternoon to make your cards
  • Bring your own craft gear to try out the ideas
  • Lots of Christmas ideas with example cards on display
  • Demonstrations
  • A goody bag for all
  • Christmas Card Competition
  • Spot Prizes
  • Supplies to purchase for all card making needs with specials on the day
  • Christmas Stamps available to use
  • Christmas afternoon tea
  • Catalogues available for ordering
Rachel is an excellent demonstrator and she does lovely work. I'm hoping to attend to get a head start on my cards, and also to use some other stamps because I only have a few Christmas themed ones. Why not get together a table of friends and come along? :-)

If you'd like more info, or would like to come you can contact Rachel at:
CraftyR
I also have her phone numbers and address if you'd like to contact her that way... let me know.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Waiting for the 15th Oct!

Feeling excited and impatient!
I've finally succumbed and subscribed to this month's collection from Tarisota for the first time. I have been putting it off because of the money thing... trying to justify it to myself until DH came home with a pack of photo paper which cost him a fair sum. As he pointed out, I will use the paper from the kit so it's not like I'm wasting the money. And even with the exchange rate and postage, my package will cost less than his photo paper! heheheh

I didn't sign up for the 3 month/6 month though. I want to see if I will use all the paper in a reasonable time or not. Plus, there are a few other shops around that do this sort of thing, and I'd like to sample them too. Like this one...

I love online shopping! :-)

And I discovered from a friend that Woolworth's Online will give you a free delivery for a month (?) after the baby is born. How great is that!? Must consult their site and see how to set it up.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bridal Veil Falls

On Saturday (while I was at the craft fair) DH took DS and had a Father-son bonding day. They went to Bridal Veil falls and a few other places. Apparently it all went well, and DS was a really good boy waiting for DH to take photos (of which there were many) and walking along most of the tracks without assistance. Considering he was up at 4am with the rest of us and didn't go back to sleep like I expected him to I was most impressed and relieved. Apart from his nappy falling out his trouser leg on some steep steps, there were no disasters! LOL!

Dh was pretty pleased with his photos too.

Happy husband + Co-operative son = good.

Here is one of the photos DH took.

27 Weeks

The latest belly pictures. Looking at the photos I have of me pregnant with DS I can say I am larger this time. Must be those lax stomach muscles since I was the same weight to start with both times.

Everything is going well. I did the 1 hour glucose test on Friday, and should hear about the results at my midwife appointment this week. I'm not concerned about it as I've not had any problems before with gestational diabetes. I'm meeting the back up midwife this time; hopefully she will be nice. So far I have escaped the constant heartburn I had with DS which is great. Still having problems with sciatica though. Stretching helps.

Monday, September 18, 2006

3rd Birthday

DS turned 3 on Sunday. I just can hardly believe it's been 3 years since he came into our lives. I remember thinking how strange it was to have another being in the house after being just a couple. I spent ages staring at him in his cot just trying to get into my head the fact he existed, that he is a mixture of DH and I.

He's such a precious gift. Oh of course he knows how to stretch my patience to the limit! If there is anyone who can "press my buttons" it is him! But I tell you ... what they say about mother bears and their offspring applies to humans too. If you hurt my kid - be prepared to die. I can't imagine our life without him now.

There is a lot I could write about him. How today he told me he had a puppy at home that was blue and "covered all over with spots". How he thinks the letter "T" belongs to him because his name starts with "T". When I'm typing he tells me, "Don't touch my name!".

I could go on, but instead I'll share some photos of him and his birthday cake. DS is obsessed with power tools. I asked him if he wanted a digger cake or a chainsaw cake. Mistake #1. Of course he chose the more difficult option! Note to self: When giving choices to children, make sure they are reasonable! LOL! Still I think it turned out fine, and it tasted good too. His look of delight when I showed it to him was reward in itself.

Answering my own Library Week challenge

I'm going to answer my own challenge by posting about the books I've read recently or am reading.

Climbing the mango trees : a memoir of a childhood in India / Madhur Jaffrey. London : Ebury, 2005.

This is Ms Jaffrey's autobiography, at least the first volume anyway. I really enjoyed it. She writes in an engaging manner, and I found the differences in her life growing up very interesting. Don't read this one when you're hungry though... I had to make indian food for most of the week while I was reading it. One part of the book covers her experience of the division of India into Pakistan/India. I never thought much about the affect of Partition on the general population in India. It's not something we study at school here so I've not had much exposure to that time in history in that area. That part of the book made me think a little about how effective it is for outside nations to try and solve the problems of anothers.

The last days of Dogtown: a novel
/Diamant, Anita.
New York : Scribner, 2005.

From the author of The Red Tent. I found this one harder to engage with. The story is about the characters from a dying town in "the sticks" and their interactions. It's well written in terms of language and all, but I just found I didn't really engage with it. The characters were interesting and there was sufficient conflict to keep my attention, but at the end of the book I was thinking, "So, what was the point?".
Perhaps the plot went over my head. Having said that, I'm now reading another of her books called Good Harbour ( Rockland, MA : Wheeler Pub., 2001) which I'm enjoying much more. It's about the relationship between 2 women. One of them has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. There's a few other skeletons lurking around her life too. The other is a writer struggling with writing, her teenage daughter and her marriage. I'm finding it a much more engaging read.


It's Library Week! Toot Toot!

Get Connected for Library Week 2006!

It's Library Week (18th Sept-24th Sept). Do you know where your local library is?

If you have small children you might like to take them along to New Zealand's Biggest Storytime. On Wednesday 20 September 2006, award-winning Margaret Mahy's “Down the Back of the Chair” will be read at libraries all across New Zealand. There is a colouring competition associated with it too. Information can be found here.

If you don't have kids then my challenges to you are:
1. Get connected to a new author! Visit the public library and take out a book by an author you've never read before. If you are unsure about which one to try, most public libraries have a Who else writes like: a reader's guide to fiction authors or a publication similar. You could also be guided by the genre stickers on a book's spine. OR - be brave and ask a librarian. You might be pleasantly surprised.
2. Get connected to your library's web presence! Visit your library's online catalogue from the safety of your own home. Did you know you can check your account this way? Or even place a hold on a book that is out or at another branch?
3. Get connected to your community! Libraries aren't just about books. Most public libraries have access to the databases Fundview and Breakout. If you are looking for funding for a community project, or a scholarship for studying then check out these databases. They can help you connect with some very useful sources of funding.
4. Get connected to other people via your reading! Write a review about the book you are reading or have recently read and post about it on your blog. Many people like to read what another has recommended. If you like the sound of someone else's book, then go and get it out of the library. Libraries have more than books though. Visit the video/DVD section, the music selection, the talking book collection too.

My parents have just bought a new house. One of the comments they made about it was
"Those people haven't a book in the house! We're going to put in a wall to floor bookshelf in the family room once we're in".
This made me sad. So many other pursuits and sources of entertainment take up people's time now. Many folks just don't connect with books or their libraries. In our family it has always been a major past time to read. Up until we were in our mid-teens we would regularly go to the library as a family, usually once a week, and often on a Friday night. I don't mean to sound pompous about this. But I do think reading, books and libraries are Good Things.

I'm so glad DS is turning into a keen book fan like myself and DH. Boys are often tricky to "get into books". But I think it is worth persevering with them for a number of reasons.
  • Firstly, we're still very much a "reading" culture when it comes to studying at school and most tertiary courses. If you're not able to cope with that, you can be compromised.
  • Secondly, as a form of quiet relaxation and escapism, reading is something that can be a lifeline in a busy, noisy world. Sure - boys (and everyone really) need to be active, out and about. Other forms of entertainment have their place and value. But there is value in the skill of taking time to be quiet and read, contemplate and relax. It doesn't have to be fiction. Boys often prefer real life stuff like biographies or non-fiction treatises on travel, technology, animals and so on.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Eventful past few days

This month is normally a busy one for me. Check out the line up:
  • Father's Day 3rd Sept
  • Youngest sister's birthday 3rd Sept
  • Middle sister's birthday 10th Sept
  • SIL's birthday 14th Sept
  • DS's birthday 17th Sept
  • 23rd Sept Pirongia Craft show where I'm helping a friend with a stall, and also making some things to sell at it
  • KS dessert recipe swap deadline 30th Sept *done, done, done!
  • plus have to make a tag book for my uber-boss who's retiring (Oct 6, but need to do it this month)
So you see why I didn't want another baby in Sept.

To make life more exciting, DS woke up last Wednesday with a spotty face and torso. He's had a cold and cough but no fever. I immediately went into chicken-pox-alert-mode and made an appointment with the Dr. By the time the appt time came (12 o'clock) the spots had gone, with the exception of one suspicious one under his arm. The poor Dr. of course couldn't definitely say if it was chicky pox. So we went home none the wiser, and I rang daycare to alert them to the potential.

As it turns out, I was worried all for nothing and now feel like the boy who cried wolf. DS buzzed around doing his normal nearly 3-yr-old stuff. No fever. No spots.

The problem is, I've never had it. I've been exposed a number of times, but Mr Varicella hasn't ever caught me. Being pregnant I had no desire to be a victim now so I got sent for a blood test. Just as well it was a false alarm because the results say I have no antibodies. So guess who'll be getting a jab once this baby is born!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things that make me happy

Plum blossoms on our tree. The absence of bees is a bit of concern though. Might have to get out there with my soft bristle paint brush and pretend I've a stripy abdomen and pollinate some flowers!

More flowers indicating spring - this time broad beans...
















DS's portrait of me!


My picture of him!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Creativity & the myth of talent

DH is a keen photographer, particularly of landscapes. You can see some of his work here.

He is a regular listener of the podcasts produced by Craig M. Tanner of the Radiant Vista website. Recent episodes of the podcasts (#13 & #14) have been discussing a more philosophical aspect of photography and this sparked a conversation with DH and I about creativity. This is something I'm interested in on a number of levels.
  1. For myself, I would like to increase my creativity levels in my scrapbooking and ultimately in the form of art. I have plans to take up painting or some form of fine art some time in the future.
  2. For my professional life. Creativity in the workplace is something I feel passionate about and would like to see more of, experience more of and initiate more of.
  3. To support my husband. DH is a creative person but his natural tendancies to depression and self-criticism often stifle his ability to move or progress.
  4. For my son & unborn child. Children are naturally creative and I'd like to encourage it. One of the reasons is that I see it as a great motivator in education and learning, which is something else I'm passionate about.

What is creativity? Is it something we are born with? Is it something we can cultivate?

I think there are people who have a natural talent for certain activities including creative things. But I also think it's possible to cultivate creativity or at least encourage it. I find that I have times when I don't feel creative at all. Sometimes it's because I'm afraid of my own inability to acheive what I see in my mind.

In the podcasts, Tanner goes through a "creativity ritual" that he believes will enable photographers to get more creative. It's interesting to note that one part of the ritual is to create a journal, and to write down a mission statement to guide the photographer through this process. He does get quite evangelical in these podcasts (edited to add: and some of it is IMO a bit woo woo), but they are interesting to listen to, and I think they are quite relevant to people who want to be more creative in their chosen hobby.

He's also written an article called The Myth of Talent.
In it he talks about the process he went through to become a professional photographer. Much of what he says is also relevant to people who want to become more creative.
Long term, committed, practice powered by the purpose of love leads to amazing
transformations. The bumbling beginner becomes the exalted expert. The trapped anddepressed become the liberated and empowered. So why do we so easily buy into thelimiting mythical idea about talent being nothing but a birthright?

I like this concept that by being productive, I will be able to be more creative ultimately.

He also refers to an article from Psychology Today.
I found much of this article useful. One quote I particularly liked was:

People often fall back in their efforts because they are afraid of making mistakes, which can be embarrassing, even humiliating. But if you take no chances and make no mistakes, you fail to learn, let alone do anything unusual or innovative.

Research suggests that creative people make more mistakes than their less imaginative peers. They are less proficient-it's just that they make more attempts than most others. They spin out more ideas, come up with more possibilities, generate more schemes. They win some; they lose some.

Other quotes I like from this article:

Playfulness and humour encourage creativity.

And:

What we see every day becomes ordinary to us. People, sights, sounds, and smells seem to disappear from our awareness. They lose their distinctiveness. One way of dealing with this is to invent a brand-new pattern, a fresh way of seeing the commonplace.

o Begin with something as basic as water. The idea is to notice the number of times a day you come in contact with it and the extraordinary number of ways it appears in your life: from a hot shower or the delicate beads of mist on the leaves outside your window to the ice cubes clinking in your glass.

This technique of taking things out of their ordinary context and creating a new pattern for them is a way of making the familiar strange and opening them to a fresh and creative approach.

What do you think?


Monday, September 04, 2006

I like to move it move it!


Hee hee - can't resist these guys when I'm at the zoo. We went last weekend and a good time was had by all. Funnily enough DS was mostly fascinated by the rats at the children's zoo, but he did like the other animals as well. It's a shame that there were no tigers (coming this month) because he's very keen on them. He pretends to be one frequently. DH took a great pic of the new cheetahs which DS has now claimed and insisted it was put up on the wall in his room.

NB: Flickr seems to be playing up and won't display pics. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

Friday, September 01, 2006

List all the things you like to do when you are alone

Another one from Alison...

1. Read
2. "Beauty treatments" - you know the sort of thing... moisturise all parts, pluck eyebrows, nails dadedah
3. Scrap or some sort of craft
3. Sleep
4. Have a bath

Sometimes cleaning the house is best done alone. Though I can't say I "like" to do that.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fresh Spring Rolls

Some of the things I've craved this pregnancy are forbidden. Like smoked salmon sushi, blue cheese, and soft boiled eggs. But thankfully, some of my cravings are not on the banned list. We'll draw a veil over the naughty ones like coke flavoured lollies, nutella & peanut butter together on a teaspoon (aaarghdon'tlookatthecalories!!!) and cinnamon doughnuts. Actually that last one is, I confess, not really a pregnancy related one. *blush*

ANYWAY - on to the point of the post!

I love fresh spring rolls. There are lots of versions of these. I first had them in a Vietnamese restaurant in Melbourne on the recommendation of my friend C. It was love at first bite. I then tried them again at an excellent Thai restaurant, Mekong Neua in Kingsland. I was keen to make them myself so looked up the recipe somewhere.

Making these is easy but a little fiddly and time consuming. This doesn't bother me. I find such cooking quite meditative or soothing. There is something satisfying about spending the time and effort to create it. It's the same reason I like to make gnocchi or chinese dumplings from scratch.

This is my version. It makes about 20-22 rolls depending on how much filling you have.

Fresh Spring Rolls
  • 500g chicken tenderloins
  • 2 star anise
  • knob of ginger
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • soy sauce
  • water
  • mirin/sake/chinese cooking wine
Peel the garlic and ginger and chop coarsely. Place the chicken, garlic, ginger, star anise into a pot. Add water to cover the chicken and slosh in some soy sauce. How much depends on how dark the soy sauce, and how strong you like the flavour. Add a dash or two of the mirin/sake/chinese cooking wine. Bring to the boil and check to see if the chicken is cooked. Once cooked, drain and leave to cool.
  • Packet of rice "galettes" as they are called on the packet. I get them from my local chinese supermarket. I get the round ones, but they have square ones as well. They are normally near the noodles.
  • 1/3 of 1/2 a cabbage head
  • mung beans
  • 1 large carrot
  • chopped mint (use Vietnamese mint if you can find it)
  • chopped fresh coriander (not everyone likes this so just have the mint if you're one of those people)
Slice the cabbage and carrot very finely - julienne is the term here. If you have a mandoline or nifty Bamix grater then you'll find it handy here. I have to make do with a sharp knife.
Thinly slice the chicken. Boil the kettle so you have some hot water.

Now - the librarian in me forces me to set up my work station like this.
  • Put the cabbage in one pile and the carrot in another on a plate.
  • Plate 1: Fill with hot water from the kettle (I use a bread & butter plate)
  • Plate 2: Dampen with water but don't fill it (I use a bread & butter plate)
  • On the chopping board: A pile of chopped herbs and another separate pile of sliced chicken.
  • In it's bag close by: the mung beans & the rice galettes
The construction process

1. Take one rice galette and place it in Plate 1. Leave to soften which will take maybe 1-2 mins. It will go clear when it's soft.
2. Slide the softened galette off Plate 1 and place it nicely on Plate 2. Put another galette on to soak in Plate 1 while you fill the first one.
3. Place 2 slices of chicken in the middle of the galette lying horizontally. Then add pinches of cabbage, herbs and mung beans. Then add 2-3 carrot sticks.
4. Fold the sides of the galette over the filling. The vertical lines in the diagram below demonstrate which bits to fold over.




5. Now fold the top edge of the galette over the filling and roll the package over the final remaining exposed rice galette so you have a kind of cigar shape cylinder.

Continue constructing others until you've got enough rolls for your needs.


Dipping Sauce

  • Juice of 2 small limes
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • finely chopped fresh coriander & mint
  • finely chopped fresh chilli (if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped ginger

Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and see if the balance between salt/sour/sweet is to your taste; add more lime juice/fish sauce/sugar.

In case you are wondering, yes, DS loves these and eats them with gusto just like me. He doesn't like the filling by itself but when it's wrapped up and dipped in the sauce it somehow magically becomes yummy! ;-) Even though he tells me "I not like mungo beans".

P.S. The filling can be different. The Vietnamese one I had used shredded pork. I make vegetarian ones with marinaded tofu or egg omlette with black seasame seeds. You could use prawns or even thinly sliced beef. Many people use bean vermicelli noodles as a filling too.

Part 3: Keeping up with the blogs you read

In my last post I tried to explain how you can keep up with blogs that you read. In this post I'm going to show you how to use Bloglines (a web-based news aggregator) to subscribe to the blogs you read.

1. Go to Bloglines.

2. Create an account. This is free. Use an id/password that you can remember. You'll be sent a validation email that you need to reply to before your account is activated. 'Tis a matter of a moment...

3. Once your account is activated you can start adding feeds. Click on the ADD link (top left corner of the side bar).

4. Enter the URL of the blog you want to subscribe to. At this stage you can create a special folder if you want to organise your blogs a bit, but you can do this at a later stage if you want. Click on the subscribe button.




5. You'll often be given a choice of feeds. Pick one of them. I usually go for the atom version, which is the top one in this picture. Scroll down and click on the subscribe button.












Your newly subscribed feeds will turn up in the side bar.
As you see from my picture, I've organised my feeds into a bunch of different folders. Those folders contain a range of different blogs. The ones in bold have some feeds I haven't read yet. By expanding the folders I can see who has made a new post, and I'll be able to read it by clicking on the name of the blog. The post will be shown in the right hand frame of your browser.






Sometimes I find pictures don't show up in the post. I'm not sure why that is (maybe because I'm using Firefox) but in any case I can click on the Blog Title at the top of the page and go directly to the blog and see the pics.




I hope this series has helped at least one person! :-)

Part 2: Keeping up with your blogs

Aggregators

Freeware for your Desktop
Some of them are free and you can download them to your desktop. I've used FeedReader and found it quite good, though I now have moved on from it.
E.g. FeedReader , RSSReader

Web-based
Some aggregators are web based so you can access them anywhere there is an internet connection.
E.g. Bloglines, Google Reader

I personally use Bloglines now because I work at a number of different computers over the course of my week and I like to be able to read blogs from where I am at the time. (It also means I don't lose the program everytime DH decides to reload Windows or upgrade our motherboard on our home computer...).

Browser Based
There are 2 internet browsers (that I am aware of) that can deal with RSS feeds.

1) Firefox is an internet browser based on code produced by Mozilla. I use Firefox almost exclusively because I like many of it's features. Firefox uses "Live Bookmarks " to capture RSS feeds. If you use Firefox, each time you visit an RSS enabled site you will see a little orange cube to the left of the URL.



By clicking on the cube you can add the live bookmark to your Favourite folder. Once the bookmark is added, you'll see the new posts to a blog by placing the mouse over that bookmark.

2) The other internet browser is Flock. Flock is based on the same code used to make Firefox, but has a few interesting features particularly relevant to the social networking aspect of the web. It is still in a beta version. If you use Flock, you can click on that orange cube thingy, and it will automatically add the RSS feed to a side bar in your internet browser.

Email Client Based
I'm only aware of one email program that deals with RSS feeds, but I am happy to be enlightened to more!
Thunderbird is Firefox's email client and easily reads feeds. Thus you can have your email, RSS feeds and newsgroups all in one place.

Congratulations if you have made it this far! Moving on to using an RSS Reader.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Part 1: Keeping up with the blogs you read

Okay - sometimes I just can't help my inner teacher coming out. I'd like to make your life easier. I hope I can explain this via a post when I'm used to demonstrating this in a classroom. If you know all this... feel free to let your eyes glaze over.

This post is a heads up to my fellow scrapping blog readers. I've noticed as I read your posts that some of you use bookmarks or links on the blog side bar to browse around and read everyone's blogs. That's cool. But let me show you an easier way! ;-)

RSS Feeds


Have you heard of RSS? RSS stands for "really simple syndication". Well, that's one of the interpretations so we'll go with it. It is a type of file format called XML. That probably means very little to most people but that's okay - your computer can read it and that is all that matters. What is more relevant is what it can do for you.

Sites such as newspapers, some discussion forums, news communities and blogs use RSS (or a similar thing called Atom) to help their readers keep up with the ever changing content on their site. Instead of visiting many different blogs (or sites) each day, you can subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed, and get all the new content from one place. This can save you time and will also mean you don't miss a post from a blog.

To do this, you need to use an RSS aggregator (sometimes called news aggregators). This is just a little program that captures all your subscribed feeds and displays them for you in a nice organised format. It's a little like getting an email everytime something new is updated, but much better because a) you don't just get the alert, you get the content and b) you don't end up getting bombarded with emails. It periodically checks for new posts from the blogs you read and groups them according to your choice.

There are a number of different aggregators out there. See my next post for the next installment.

Do you have a dog?

One of our students who is doing a Bachelor of Applied Animal Technology is doing a research project on dog training techniques and is looking for dog owners to complete a brief survey online. Go to www.nzdogsurvey.co.nz if you want to take part.

Woof!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Belly at 22 weeks

Well - kind of between 21 to 22 weeks depending on which calculator you use!

Some growth there compared with the 14 week one. DS insisted on being in the picture :-)

Getting more movement happening now. On Sunday I saw a kick from the outside which always makes me laugh to see! Alien belly is baaaaaack!

So is pregnancy brain. I did an online order at Woolworths the other day since we were having visitors and I had to tidy up the bombsite.. er, house. I nearly managed to order 6 kgs of chicken tenderloins (about $70.00). Luckily I wondered why my total was so high before I put it through the checkout...

Monday, August 14, 2006

20 Weeks Ultrasound

Here's baby at 20 weeks. Everything is measuring on track which is a great reassurance. We did try and find out what flavour the baby is, but the tech wasn't 100% sure so I'm not committing myself to anything though we have some suspicions! Baby had it's legs very close together so it wasn't easy to see anything.

Shame really - I was intending to do some shopping! Well I still did, but for me this time. I had some birthday money so I bought myself some boots. It's been years since I had a pair of boots! ;-) I also got 2 new maternity bras - why do they make them so boring? I am going to have to make a trek to Mummy's Tummy in Ponsonby because they stock the HOTmilk brand of maternity bra.

Anyway, I'm halfway through this pregnancy. I haven't really "popped" yet though you can tell I'm pregnant for sure. I'm feeling well and I'm so glad I haven't had the heartburn like I did with DS - long may that last.

Powder Everywhere

I thought DS was a little quiet and investigating I discovered this!
The sponge mop is his attempt to clean up the mess.

Oh well, I suppose my vaccuum cleaner smells nice now.

My Stash of Cloth Nappies

Not everyone gets excited about this kind of picture. I'm trying to decide if I need more cloth nappies for the new baby. This is what I have in my stash.

I guess some people think it's crazy to use cloth in this age of disposable. But I like to use them for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there is the waste aspect. If I use disposables, the number of garbage bags I put out each Monday increases. I also find it mildly disgusting that I'm putting such stuff into the local Refuse Transfer Station instead of the sewerage system. I like to keep the amount of waste our household produces to a minimum, so doing things like composting our vege waste and using cloth nappies makes me feel virtuous.

Secondly, there is the cost factor. It costs me around $20.00 a week to buy disposable nappies. The initial outlay to buy cloth seems a little daunting, but if you work out how much you spend per year for disposables it does work out cheaper. Admittedly, you do have to factor in the washing costs. I use EcoStore washing powder which is possibly the most expensive one, but in my defense, it lasts me a lot longer than when I used Persil Sensitive because the scoop is smaller. When DS was a baby, I washed one load of washing every other day. That consisted of nappies, baby clothes and a few adult clothes, towels etc. I still think that cloth is cheaper even when the washing factor is added in.

Thirdly, there is the cute factor! I find it fun to make them out of funky fabrics. I've used blue stars, aeroplanes and even strawberry fabrics for the nappies I've sewn. Snazzipants produce some very cute prints (the cow print for example).

I'm not a disposable Nazi though. I intend to use them for the first week or so until the baby finishes passing meconium. I will probably use them at night for a while, because newborns are such heavy wetters. DS is still not potty trained and daycare is not keen on cloth, so he's mainly in 'sposies. This is a problem I am keen to resolve before the new baby comes. I shall have to take a week off in order to concentrate on that project!

First snow

The single photo we took of DS in the snow for the first time. Unfortunately, it isn't the best one of him.

We pointed out the mountain as we approached, and talked about the white stuff being snow. "My mountain!" he said. Once we got there and starting slipping about in the snow he wasn't too sure about the strange white stuff. "Cold." was his main comment as he tried to shake the ice off his gloves. We wanted to make a snowman, but the consistency wasn't that good; too icey, and I couldn't roll any snowball. We did find someone else's snowman, so at least he could say he saw one.

We shall have to go back one day and preferably not on a weekend! Parking was at a premium, the toilets had run out of toilet paper [yuk!], and the whole place just felt crowded and uncomfortable. I suppose it didn't help that we were all coming down with the lurgy.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Light at the end of the tunnel

I'm a bad blogger.

But I have an excuse - we've been really sick with the 'flu. Not cold, but 'flu with it's attending chills, fevers, aches, racking coughs... the only thing we didn't have was the vomiting and trots. Neither of us have been to work all week and I don't thing we'll be going back on Monday either. I am improving, but it is really slow and not aided by the fact I can't take anything because of being pregnant.

Maybe later...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Alison's List Challenge

List all the smells you recall from your childhood & the memories they bring back

Isn't it great how our mind makes connections like these.

1. Gum trees in summer, freshly cut grass & hot, wet ashphalt are three things that remind me of my primary school days. They take me back to sitting in the classroom with my bare feet rubbing on the smooth, cork tiles while the smells drift in the open window and door. I look out the window at the shimmering heat ripples above the school field.

2. Early Cheer always reminds me of an elderly friend of ours (now deceased) who would always have these in her flat when they came out in spring. She was like a grandma to me since my real grandparents lived in Australia.

3. Freshly peeled mandarins spark memories of playing outside in the yard on chilly, finger-aching autumn afternoons after school. The neighbour girl had a tree in her yard and she, my sisters and I would play together until it got dark or Mum would call us for tea. I can't understand how we didn't get cold but we must have been so active that it didn't bother us.

4. Musty, dank dirt smell triggers thoughts of our "clubhouse" - a small, cubby hole under the house we used as a playhouse as kids. You know the sort of thing. Secret girl meetings, no boys allowed, feasts, giggling, and other girly stuff. We even had a name for our "club" but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.

Weekend Score

Warehouse Stationary are having a sale. I didn't realise until I popped in to get some adhesive. Digging through the bins I discovered a bunch of stamp pads - the Archival Ink range, really useful for distressing and inking edges. The great thing was they were half price! Yay - 3 ink pads for about $6.00 each.

I was checking out their paper too since Lynda mentioned they had Wild Asparagus, but the girl was still putting it onto their racks so I thought I'd better let her get on with it. It wouldn't be a good look to be ratting through it while she was trying to put it out.

The anniversary album is nearly finished. I'm waiting on some journalling info from SIL who has to extract it out of the progenitors without them cottoning on to our little surprise! :-)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Walking in the park

Snapped this one while we were at the park the other weekend. Love the potential for a layout here. So sweet. The picture doesn't show that those two walk EXACTLY the same way. They definitely share some genes!

This is the park where DH and I used to visit in our lunch hour while we were courting. We'd find a private seat, eat lunch, have a quick snog ;-) Those were the days. Now we go there to feed the ducks... life moves on.







I love it how DH caught the delight on DS's face while he's feeding the ducks.

Tagger at work

I've been tagged... by Ruth!

Four Jobs I’ve Had :
1) Checkout chick (the worst job ever)
2) Stocktaking for an appliance company... can you say counting widgets!?
3) Librarian for a public library
4) Librarian for a small, private training institution; for a very large tertiary institution; for a medium sized polytechnic

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over :
dunno - I'm not really into repeating things. Maybe Pride and Prejudice so I can drool over Colin Firth.

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch :
Don't have a TV...

Four Important things to me :
1) My faith
2) My family & friends
3) Integrity
4) Environment

Four Tunes That Play In My Head :
1) Under attack... the ABBA one - not sure if that's the proper title
2) Fire engine song
3) There was a farmer had a dog
4) can't think of anymore

Favorite Food Dishes :
1) Custard Squares
2) Ethnic food like Indian, Thai, Italian....
3) I like food
4) Fruit

Four Websites I Visit Daily :
1) For Better or For Worse comic strip
2) my Pregnancy & Baby message board
3) Bloglines
4) not really a website but I do check my email everyday

Four Scrap company's I like : (only 4!!??)
1) Basic Grey
2) Chatterbox
3) Fancy Pants
4) Sassfras Lass

Hmmm... don't know who to tag really. If you're keen, have a go! :-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

When your friend gives you lemons

Preserve them!

Yes, I know they aren't covered in juice but the recipe claims they will release more as they pickle. As indeed they have over the past 3 days.

I can use them after a month.

Yum yum yum!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another list challenge

Alison S. has posted another list challenge

List those body parts you would like to change or replace

1. Probably my butt. Need I say more?
2. Sometimes I need a brain transplant. My one gets tired.
3. A metabolism (can that count as a "body part") that allows me to eat whatever I like without fearing for the load bearing capacity of my floor.

Mostly I'm happy with how I am.

New Urban Lily

Oh Yum!

Check out the new Urban Lily stuff.... love it all!

Visited my LSS on Friday and picked up a few things. I'm making an album for my parents-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary of their wedding photos. They are all scanned in now, and I've printed off the first lot to start tonight with my little scrapping group. I'm a little stumped as to how I'm going to do this album. It is hard to decide on the papers because I'm not sure if I should cater to my own tastes or my perception of what my MIL will like - because lets face it, she's the one who is going to appreciate it the most! ;-)

Trouble is, DH has had to stay in Chch unexpectedly so I don't have a baby sitter... so either I scrap by myself or I take DS with me. I've done that before and it was okay, but it is a late night for him. Decisions, decisions. If only my Mum didn't have her scrapping group on the same night.

Did a few other things over the weekend, but won't blog about them until I've uploaded photos!

Thursday, July 13, 2006