Monday, April 25, 2016

Shopping Time

Here is where I finally show you what the shop I was making actually looks like. It's been finished for a while now, a few weeks actually. But it took me forever to get it painted and then set up to take photos.

I was also dreaming that I'd be able to put some kind of awning on, but my attempts and thoughts on that haven't progressed very far at all. My Dad did offer some solutions, but it's not really coming to reality yet. Maybe in another six months or so. 

Anyway, I did end up with leftover paint from Dad, so it's a cream colour. He also had some brown, which I did the bottom of the legs with. The black chalkboard paint was the part that took the longest, and the shop was actually in full use before I even had the first coat on. Just goes to show that the kids were keen to use it right?

Sorry for the unco-ness of these pictures, the girls were champing at the bit to wipe the chalk off and dismantle all the food stuffs. Steve was a champion and took the girls to Ikea to get that cash register last week. It's really cool because it's actually a calculator, so it works and makes no annoying noises. Totally worth it. 

Even though most of these photos are inside, the shop actually lives outside now and will probably continue to do so. The tricky thing with it living outside is having to make sure the shopping things inside each night, or they will quickly get ruined. Oh well. Challenge accepted. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016


I've added some tin can drums to the music wall. Now it's really loud. I hope the neighbours forgive us.

I'd bought tins of Milo in various sizes as we needed them and hoarded them for ages. They were inside being used as stacking tins, but the kids weren't doing that much any more, so I thought it was time to give them new life. Hammer some holes in with a nail, thread the wire through and then onto the fence and hello drums!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Wednesday night is bible study  night. Probably the highlight of the week really. It's great time of hanging out with people and sharing food and talking about God. I love it.

We usually all pitch in to help out with the meal, but this week there were a few people absent, and we were a bit last minute in deciding what we were actually going to have. So I said I'd make a pasta bake, thinking I'd pick up the things I'd need from woolies after taking the kids to the library on Wednesday morning.

But I forgot. I'd packed the kids back into the car and was on the way out when I remembered. Sigh. No way was I going to go back in, get another park, unload three kids and find a trolley. Let alone push them through woolies with no snack bribery on hand.

So I resign myself to making a pasta bake out of whatever I had on hand at home. Surely I could scrounge enough to feed eight to ten people right? Someone else was bringing garlic bread, so there would be that at least to fill up on. No pressure.

On getting home, I dig out 500 grams of mince and another box of pre made pasta sauce from the freezer. I've got pasta in the cupboard. I've got carrots and zuccini in the fridge. There are tins of tomato and tomato paste in the cupboard. I don't have enough pre grated cheese, but I do have a half a block in the fridge that is easy enough to grate.

I end up with enough pasta bake to feed fifteen people.

As I'm making this, I'm really struck by how God has provided for us. He has given enough to make a last minute meal with the stuff that is just in the cupboards and fridge already! There is enough pasta bake to feed everyone with left overs. And I still have cupboards and fridge with stuff in them. It's not as though I used my very last scrap of cheese or bit of pasta even. I've still got tins and packets of food, just waiting to be used.

We have been blessed to overflowing, and yet I've somehow missed it. I've gotten complacent and demanding. I want more all the time. What I have isn't enough for some reason.

I'm reminded of the Israelites after fleeing Egypt, when God gave them manna in the desert to eat. They were instructed that they didn't need to collect more than they would need for one day, because God would always provide. The bible tells us that there were some people who disobeyed this and did collect more, but that it went bad. It's like we doubt God and feel the need to hoard to survive, rather than trust our creator.

I'm unbelievable humbled by this simple experience of God's provision for our bible study. Thank you Lord for the abundance you give us every day.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Fighting Tears

So Sophie is three years old now, so we've started introducing her to Disney movies. It's a little hard, because they all have their scary moments, and some of them have some really tough things to explain (Lion King - Simba's Dad dying - perfect example). I'll want to show her those, but not just yet. Anyway, last week we bought the original 101 Dalmatians, the animated version. It's lovely.

The first time that Sophie sees a movie, you've really got to talk her through it, or her attention span ins't going to last, or she's going to miss something and give up. I don't mind because I like Disney movies too. I'm there explaining things and prompting her with questions. It's going great.

And then, I'm in tears.

That's right, even though I know the ending, there are tears streaming down my face and my voice is wobbly as I talk her through it. I know those puppies will be all right, but I'm suddenly feeling terrible emotion every time I see them, or Perdie and Pongo. Heck, just the entire movie. Tears.

Thankfully we made it through and the puppies were safe and the bad guys were dealt with. Sophie didn't even ask me what was wrong, whew, because even I don't know the answer to that one. I thought it was over and done, and I'd be perfectly normal from here on. Unfortunately not so. Last Sunday we were having a lazy afternoon and Steve suggested to Sophie that they watch a movie together. She choose 101 Dalmatians.

"This will be fine," I think. "I've seen it before and I don't have to talk her through it this time. Steve is here in case she has any questions. Nothing to worry about."

Not five minutes in, the tears had started. So I got up and did the washing up. There, tears are gone and I'm feeling much better. Sit down again and it's like a tap turns on. I look at Steve and he bursts out laughing. I almost don't blame him. It is ridiculous after all.

I couldn't sit through one more moment of this emotional roller coaster of a movie, so I went under the house and got out some wood and power tools and set my mind on something else instead.

I'm building a small shop front for the kids to play with in the yard. Entirely out of scrap wood that we already have. It's mostly done, but for one leg and a brace. I've used the power drill (so much power in that corded drill compared to the little battery operated one), the sander, the measuring tape, the saw, the saw horses, even the clamps.

So far, everything is going smoothly. I might even see if my Dad has some old paint lying around, so it doesn't end up being the same colour as the play wall and the sandpit. Just for variety, you know?

And while I did it, not one tear was shed. Whew.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Music Making

Steve and I have had this random branch that came off one of our trees under the house for a while now. We kept it because it was almost perfectly straight, and quite long. Surely it would have some future purpose in our garden, we rationalized. I don't know what happened really, but for some reason a few weeks ago now, in the afternoon, I was suddenly taken with the notion to use that long straightish branch.

I'd seen a bunch of music wall things on the internet and had been tossing the idea of making my own around in my head for a while. Where to put it and what would go on it were always the biggest stumbling blocks. Anyway, I ended up just taking hold of that long piece of wood and drilling some holes into it. I used some wire we had (I don't quite remember why we got it) to loop it up to the fence and then proceeded to raid all of the spare bits we had lying around near Steve's manly tool chest of manly tools.

It was really cool to see I could actually get things that would make noise out of stuff we had lying around. A lot of it came from our old bathroom that we reno-ed when we bought the house nearly five years ago now! Talk about saving things for the right moment. My favourite things are the old tap handles that actually ring when you spin them. So lovely.

The seed pods were from down the street - I think we had cracked them open that afternoon. I'm not sure how long they will last, but they are provided good contrast in sound and visuals at the moment. The next day I added the jingle bells onto things (that were a hand-me-on from my friend Melissa who went to Canada).

It was really a work in progress, because I didn't add the plastic Ikea knives until a few days after that too. I found them in a drawer and realised we'd never used them. The music wall needed some colour so on they went.

The kids like to play on it, but I'm thinking I need to add some tins down the bottom that they can bang on to really get some noise out of. There is another branch that has kind of come off a tree down the street that I've got my eye on. I went down on Sunday arvo to try to pull it off, but it's still hanging on by a thread.

I realise now that none of these photos really show you where this is in the backyard or in relation to the play wall or the sandpit. Sorry. It is up the back and I am planning on revamping the garden bed up there to make it into a fairy garden and add some stepping stones for the kids to sit on, so maybe if that comes to fruition, I'll take more photos and it will make more sense.

In any case, it's in the back corner, under the shade of a big tree and a tall fence. Win.