Monday, August 29, 2011

Trucks are Pretty

I like seeing trucks at night.

I do a lot of night driving (given that I finish work at midnight and have to drive home) and there are always a couple of trucks on the road.

Trucks are big and scary during the day, but like so many other things, they transform at night with pretty lights along their trailers and around their cabins. It's very magical. I like pretty lights. I like how lots of truckies give their truck a name too. Gives an insight into the driver's personality. And the artwork on some of the cabins is pretty amazing. Not that I can see those bits at night......

When I was a kid, our family did a fair amount of driving between Victoria (where we were living) and NSW (where both sets of grandparents lived) on school holidays. With 3 young kids, some of the driving would be done at night. I now realise it was to minimise the stress of my parents having to cope with bored and cooped up kids. Trucks would drive all night along the Hume Highway. I imagine me snuggled up on the back seat seeing the lights pass us by. Or us pass them by. I imagine it because I have barely any memory of my childhood. But I think this was a safe feeling. The trucks were always there. The trucks will always be there. And I still believe that truck drivers will stop & help if they find you broken down on the side of the road. They do have a reputation for helping damsels in distress!

Imagine seeing a truck like this!

image from here

Pretty lights and Christmas all rolled into one =  Bliss!

Do you find trucks pretty or big scary monsters?

Karen xx

Sunday, August 28, 2011

This Week's Menu @ Cafe A'la Leschnik

I seem to spend lots of time racking my brains trying to work out what to have for dinner. It is difficult to prepare just one meal that will be eaten by all of us, never mind trying to come up with an entire week's worth. And over and over again, not just once. It's only probably the last 12 months that I have tried to menu plan, in an effort to reduce the ridiculous amount of money we spend at the supermarket. And the amount of food that gets thrown out.

I also take into consideration my daytime commitments as to how much time I have to prepare & cook dinner. One of the pitfalls of working nights is that dinner has be on the table by 6pm if I am to leave at 6:30 to get there on time. So I prefer to get as much ready whilst the kids are at school as I can. We all know chaos reigns once the kids come home.

Here's what I've come up with for this week (I only plan dinners):

Monday - split chickens with baked pumpkin, potato & peas & corn

Tuesday - tight ass Tuesday pizzas (half price night)

Wednesday - schnitzels (crumbed by moi) with oven baked chips & peas & corn

Thursday - burger night (every week. 3 out of 4 kids have evening activities tonight so dinner has to be quick)

Friday - chilli fish with rice (probably fish fingers & chips for the youngest two kids).

I don't have anything for Saturday or Sunday nights yet. I'm working Sat night so was going to suggest a BBQ for Sun (especially if the weather is like today) but Sun is Father's Day & I don't want to put Ray to work.

What's on your plate this week? Can you suggest something for our Saturday & Sunday night dinners?

Karen xx

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I cry too

I read "So I cry" , a blog post at Tina Gray {dot} Me today, started to write my comment and realised that my comment would be a blog post in itself!

So, here's when I cry........

* sad news
* happy news
* when the kids perform at school assemblies (my crying buddies & I can be seen with tissues in hand discreetly drying our tears)
* when other people's kids perform at school assemblies
* baptisms
* weddings
* funerals
* when I'm sick
* when I have PMT
* when I have MT
* when someone raises their voice to me
* when I'm angry
* when I'm sad
* when I laugh
* anything that has the "cute factor" (yep, the Huggies ads, just like Tina cries)
* when it's kindy's first day at big school (every year, not just when I have one starting)
* when I see a child cry (I once helped a child at school who missed their afternoon bus & the pair of us went to the teacher holding hands & in tears)
* when I see a child help a child who is crying - they are doing something beautiful
* sad bits in movies
* sad bits in tv shows
* watching the Olympics / Commonwealth Games
* watching the school athletics carnival
* at Mass when they have the choir
* when one of my kids reads at school Mass
* with pride
* with excitement
* when The Wiggles come on stage

Heaven help me when we go to Cold Chisel!

Join in & share the times that you cry too......we all do it!

I'm sure there are many more occasions that I have missed too!

Karen xx

Pic/quote from here at We Heart It

Sunday, August 21, 2011

When a Baby turns 4........

Today our little princess Missy Megan turned 4. She's been counting down the days since we turned the calendar page over to August and was SO EXCITED this weekend.

Here are some snaps from her special occasion:

After last year's 3 attempts at baking a cake, I was determined to do better this year. We had some pretty cool teamwork going on.

Ray & Zac went & bought the new oven & installed it on Sat. Yay!!!!
However, this meant I didn't have a useable oven until 6pm & I had to leave for work at 6:30pm.

So Ray baked the choc cake last night & the vanilla cake when I took the kids to Mass this morning.

I made the pink frosting.

Charlotte decorated the cakes.

Liam had a friend over - that meant he was busy & we weren't tripping over him.

Megan played with her new toys. LOVES her Fisher Price Digital Camera - she has already learned how to video with it as well as take photos.

Family came over & helped eat the cakes!

Happy 4th Birthday baby girl!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

INSIDE OUT - review by a self-confessed magazine junkie

I have been known to buy a magazine or two in my time. That's one or two thousand, not just one or two magazines. I have been buying for over 20 years you know. Maybe it's even 3 thousand, I don't know. I am a magazine junkie.

Picture the smile on my face when I was offered a free issue of INSIDE OUT magazine's Sept/Oct edition. It's not a magazine I am familiar with. But they told me it had articles like Kitchen Craft (kitchen design) and Storage Solutions, among others. Hit me baby, this I MUST read. The storage bit I mean, I have no plans to redesign my kitchen. Yet. We did that at our first home & then sold it 12 months later - no, not because of the kitchen - the kitchen was great - a major selling point. We. needed. more. space. But, I digress. Now where was I?

Ahhh yes.....the magazine. INSIDE OUT.

Did I like it?

In a word....Yes. Very much. Okay, that's more than one word.


Because I like to look at pics of designer homes. The (to me) unattainable. They are clean, there is no clutter, the furniture is all in the perfect position, with the right ornaments. Bold coloured rug or cushions that compliment, not clash with the furniture. All that stuff's called decor isn't it? These homes have been designed, not simply built.

And, as the name suggests, these homes are beautiful inside and out. What used to be a concreted driveway has been converted to a gorgeous outdoor courtyard with a Japanese Maple ( I have one of these plants) canopy. And it's in inner-city Melbourne. There is no way my mind could picture a transformation like that.

I love what I call "gadgets" in this issue, including those in the ads. I have to say that the advertising is true to the style and theme of the magazine.

Picture the Sunday newspaper liftouts with redesigned homes and associated gadgetry (taps, fabrics, ceiling fans, laminates, lights, tiles, carpets, plates, chairs). You know, when you go "HOW much is that lamp?" Well, INSIDE OUT is a whole magazine (196 pages in this issue) of these kinds of articles and accessories. And it looks much classier and prettier than the newspaper liftouts too!

I also liked that not everything was designer priced. Sure, there is the bench that slides over the sink turning your kitchen island into a bar or extra workspace. That started at $75,559. However, to be fair to that company, they do have great priced kitchenware. Wanna check? Click here. Some of the furnishings are from Ikea. If you haven't heard of them, then I'm sorry to tell you that you have been living under a rock.

Some great tips in the Storage Solutions article. I am big on storage, I wish I had more of it. The downside of an open plan home. If I was building a home, I would be able to implement some of the ideas, like shelving built into the end of the kitchen island. Not the one with the sliding benchtop - that is out of my budget! Practical ideas to make your kitchen as user-friendly as possible.

Would I buy the magazine?

In a word.......No. (I feel mean having just written that nice stuff above).

Why not?

Because most of the products in there are out of my financial league. I do not move in designer circles. I don't have a designer home and none of my friends do either.
Because I am neither building nor renovating our home. Ours is a house & land package style house (by the previous owners), which leaves very little scope to change things around. Shelving built into walls would have to have been incorporated at the design & construction stage. I do not have a creative mind. I cannot picture the "finished product". One of the reasons we shied away from building and bought this home instead. I cannot do colour schemes. It's simply not my forte.

One feature article is about a family who were in the magazine 5 years ago. They have since had 2 children. They have a beautiful home designed by architects, but the only things I could see that suggested kids lived there were the 3 dinosaurs and the pipe cleaner mobile (which looks great, by the way) in the bathroom. No toy boxes, dolls, books, kids' bikes. Maybe the parents didn't want their kids rooms photographed for their privacy and that's fine. I just felt it didn't portray the home as a family home. "It needed to be a casual home that spoke of family life.....". Yeah? But that's more a crticism of the home and its residents, rather than the magazine. But if you want your home to speak of family life, put some toys in it!

INSIDE OUT may be a designer magazine, but it doesn't carry a designer price tag. $8.20 here in Australia ($9.20 if you are in New Zealand). Good as a coffee table book if you are into stylish stuff. Decor. The Sept/Oct issue is available now.

Here's what it looks like:

Me? I like my women's magazines that are all fluff and gossip. But I have caught myself leafing through INSIDE OUT more than once this past week........Oh, and you can check them out on Facebook too... So when you feel like an indulgence, go for a browse......

Why don't you grab a copy of the mag, a cuppa and take some time out?


Karen xx

Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this magazine to review. The opinions above are my own.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Stole My Week?

Wow - it's been over a week since I last posted on here. Where did that week go?

I know I worked for some of it. 5 shifts to be precise. 27 hours.

I know I wasn't at Blogopolis like so many of you were (I am just a touch envious here!).

I did volunteer one of the days at the high school canteen (hi kids).

I did chase up Zac's school tracksuit jacket that we have been trying to obtain since June 2010 (I kid you not - over 12 months to get a piece of school uniform).

I did a heap of grocery shopping (nothing new about that).

I did take Megan  to playgroup (always a highlight of my week - no, I'm serious).

I did take Charlotte to the orthodontist.

I did co-ordinate (instruct) my husband  to drive Zac to Army Cadet Camp for the weekend. And go back 2 days later to collect him.

I did attend a meeting at the primary school to enrol Liam in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

I did go to the primary school's athletics carnival and had a wonderful day (again, I am being serious).

I did spend Tuesday with Grandma at the nursing home.

I did lots of washing (nothing new about that either).

I did get everyone where they needed to be. When they needed to be there. With whatever they needed whilst they were there. With whatever money they needed to have at the time.

I think I cleaned both bathrooms. I must have. They look like they need a clean again now.

No wonder I haven't been reading many or writing many blog posts!

Note to self - must try harder this week.

Yeah, right.

Liam (3rd in 200m running) and Megan (participant in preschoolers' 70m race)