Monthly Archives: May 2007

Listening and remembering

Music can take you places.
I’m not sure why, but I am having an Aus rock week. Every song I play reminds me of somewhere or some time or someone. The other night I was listening to “Fathers’ Day” by Weddings Parties Anything which makes me think of my cousins, who were big fans. Before that I had some Australian Crawl and then various Cold Chisel songs playing: Saturday Night, Flame trees, Bow River, it was odd to hear them all again. That led me on to Midnight Oil which reminded me of concerts at the Sydney Entertainment Centre with my brother and his uni friends.

Last night it was Hunters and Collectors and Crowded House.

Tonight it is Paul Kelly and songs about places I know.

I know I’m showing my age with that list but that’s fine. We did receive this and this for Christmas so I’m not living in the past all the time.

Tooth Fairy protocol

I believe the job of the tooth fairy is getting a little complicated. I might be wrong; perhaps the tooth fairy is just not as focused on her job as she once was.

B6 recently lost his first tooth. He had been hoping for a loose tooth for 1½ years. When his tooth came out he put it in an orange plastic cup. The tooth fairy is accustomed to finding the tooth in a glass. He is sure he told the tooth fairy he wanted to keep the tooth; he wanted the money, but he wanted the tooth too, he said that. The tooth fairy has no recollection of that request.

Sadly, when he got up the morning after the first tooth came out, the tooth fairy had not dropped by. The tooth fairy felt dreadful, as you can imagine, missing a boy’s first lost tooth. So, she came in the the daytime, something she wouldn’t normally do. She took that tooth and replaced it with shiny coins. When the boy returned instead of being thrilled he was very unhappy. “Where is my tooth?” he demanded. “I wanted to keep it!” I explained that the tooth fairy was probably unaware of his wish, but this had no effect, he was inconsolable. He actually tossed the coins at me exclaiming that he just wanted his tooth back. (It was high drama for a minute there) We finally came to a compromise when I reminded him that the tooth next to the lost one was also loose, perhaps he could keep that one. Sigh.

On Saturday the next tooth came out. We were at a violin retreat all day so he wrapped it in a tissue and gave it to me for safe keeping. Yep, you guessed it, I forgot that tissue was holding the precious tooth and when I returned home I tossed it in the garbage. As Andrew said, I did what only a mother would do, I searched for the tooth and found it.  Enough said.

B6 left a note for the fairy this time. He doesn’t write his notes in words, he uses symbols. This note was stuck next to the cup holding the tooth and had his name, a picture of a cup with a tooth in it, a picture of a mouth with a gap, and a picture of a garbage bin with a cross through it. The tooth fairy may be lacking focus but I believe she got it right this time.

Summer dresses

v8180crop.jpgI have a very organised friend who has already sewn herself a collection of stylish new summer dresses. I know I should sew for summer in winter and vice versa, but I don’t seem to manage it. I am inspired though and I have fabric bought at the end of last summer and a pattern purchased the other day ready to go. The girls have decided they want to make Lucy’s and Susan’s dresses from Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. So there is no shortage of plans and patterns, just a lack of time. But that will change soon, won’t it?


In the cupboard

Last week Group of four did double duty: a morning field trip and an afternoon unit. When B6 realised this in the morning he declared, “Yay, no school today!” That’s what you think, my boy.

In the morning we headed off to a food bank in our city, the Kanata Food Cupboard, where we were given a tour and description of all the activities that go on there. We were also able to help sort three large collection bins that come in from local supermarkets and make up snack bags for school kids.

The food cupboard is staffed by 500 volunteers, some of whom had come in for an extra morning so that we could see them in action and have some guidance while we were working. We helped sort food into categories, some one else checked the use by date on every item sorted and then the items were shelved ready for another group to make family food packages. It was another reminder to all of us how richly blessed we are to always have enough food and often plenty to spare.

We then spent the afternoon looking at different components of fitness, breaking it down into muscle strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and endurance. We tried to emphasize the importance of setting personal goals rather than comparing yourself to others but our arm wrestling activity did bring the competitive side out in a few of us!



I was looking through our photos for a good picture of a bird on our feeders. I didn’t find a good one but I did find these photos that A10 took while we were at the Tulip Festival a week or so ago. She concentrated on locating the odd man out.


Sports update

A10 and B6 are enjoying their soccer twice a week and both Dragonflies and Sharks seem to be playing more as teams this week. B’s team is made up of 5 and 6 year olds who don’t really take the side lines seriously. Several times I have watched half the team race off after the ball continuing to kick it well into another game before a parent grabs the ball and directs them back. His team continues their winning streak while A10’s team has had 2 wins, 2 losses.

Our softball team has had two wins. I was not happy with any of my hits last week but this week I had a couple that looked decent. Andrew had some big hits this week, but as our field had no fence a home run was harder to achieve.

Our town has gone a little lot crazy as its hockey team is in has won the Eastern Conference final, so now they get their chance at the cup.


As promised B6 and I made an Australian food mentioned in Possum Magic. Lamingtons are blocks of butter cake or sponge cake dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. The cake is less likely to crumble if made a day ahead so I did that the night before. Making Lamingtons can be a fairly messy activity. I left B6 whisking the chocolate icing at one stage and came back to find it splattered on the wall. This just reminded me of the Lamington drives I participated in as a teen.

Our youth group did Lamington drives as fundraisers. We would collect orders for boxes of a dozen lamingtons and then gather on a Saturday to spend the day making them. The cake part was purchased from a bakery or supplier, then we mixed up the icing and rolled hundreds of squares of cake in icing, then in coconut. You can imagine what our church hall looked like at the end.

We have shared our lamingtons with a few friends and their responses were enthusiastic. If you would like to make them here is the recipe we followed:


img_2462crop.jpg 125g (4oz) butter
¾ cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
pinch salt
½ cup milk

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat well. Fold in sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Spoon into a greased and greased paper lined 18cmx28cm lamington tin (squares tin). Bake in moderate oven 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to stand in the tin for a few minutes before turning out on to cake cooler. It is best to make the cake the day before you want to cut and ice the lamingtons, as fresh cake will usually crumble. Cut the cake into squares about 4x5cm. Dip in chocolate icing, then toss in coconut. Place on grease proof paper while icing sets.

Chocolate icing for lamingtons: Sift 500g icing sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa into a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons melted butter to ½ cup warmed milk. Add sufficient milk mixture to icing sugar mixture to make a smooth consistency; beat well.

img_2465crop.jpgIt is quite a messy process rolling the lamingtons in chocolate icing. We used skewers to hold the pieces of cake and roll them in the icing. We also put our bowl of icing in a larger dish of hot water to keep it from setting too quickly. I didn’t pour all the icing into the bowl at the beginning because after a while it thickens and gets bits of coconut and cake floating in it. At the end you have some chocolate icing with cake and coconut in it so you can’t really use it for anything else. You also have some coconut with globs of icing in it so you can’t really use it for anything else. So you have to just eat it, really, don’t you?

Possum Magic

possum_cover.gifWhen I was teaching in Australian schools all those years ago Possum Magic was a classic, I’m sure it still is. I owned a Big Book version which I kept in the class room to read to the class. Today B6 and I read the big copy and enjoyed it very much. He knows many Australian animals but probably not as many as the girls did at his age. I think it made it a little more fun to read as he recognised some and puzzled over others.

Possum Magic is about Grandma Poss and Hush, her little grand-daughter. Grandma Poss has some basic magic skills, enough to make Hush invisible but not enough to change her back when the novelty wears off. She has a hunch that the magical remedy involves food.

In order to become visible Grandma and Hush set off around Australia in search of quintessential Aussie cuisine. B6 knew many of the foods mentioned (because we make them) but not all. He had never heard of a Mintie and wasn’t clear on what a mornay was either. Tomorrow we are going to make one of the foods which restored some of Hush’s visibility so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Julie Vivas’ watercolour pictures are beautiful. The rainbow serpent in particular caught our eyes, especially in the big book version as it takes up the whole double page spread. B6 recognised the famous landmarks dotted through the pages and was entertained by the whole book. It hasn’t changed his opinion of Vegemite though, it must be the Canadian coming out in him.

Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia

B6 has had a whirlwind tour through the above countries, I wish I had been organised enough to provide authentic cuisine for each of the stops but I wasn’t. We did read some good books to give us some glimpses of life in South East Asia. I didn’t plan it that way but for each country I had a book which featured the daily life of a child. In Thailand we read of a small village where elephants are trained as work animals and the children who own one particular elephant. The book An Elephant in my Backyard by Richard Sobol had great photos to give us an idea of a child’s life very different from B6’s.

While in Vietnam we read about the twins, Huy and Vinh, in A Child’s Day in a Vietnamese City. Both B6 and I thought it sounded cool to buy a spicy noodle dish for breakfast on the way to school and visit the beach each afternoon after school. We were introduced to Yati in Malaysia while reading Children of the World: Malaysia. B6 enjoyed the Malaysian folk tale Kancil and the Crocodiles where a little turtle and a mouse deer outsmart a river full of crocodiles.

He’s off to Australia next, although he is an Australian citizen he has only spent one month there, much of which he doesn’t remember, he told us the other day. Believe it or not, I do have a few books and photos so perhaps I can jog his memory.

Mothers’ Day blessings

How thankful I am for my mother, who I spoke to last night and for my children who showered me with a few extra treats this weekend. Yesterday morning I was able to sleep in, something which hasn’t happened a lot lately. I was reading in bed listening to the sounds of industry in the kitchen for a while before I was summoned to a delicious breakfast. Fresh flowers from the garden were in the middle of the table and L12 and A10 had prepared fruit salad, pancakes and bacon for all of us.

This morning I woke to find I had a very painful shoulder, I think from the digging I was doing in the garden yesterday. L12 massaged it, Andrew massaged it but it is still very painful hours later. I did not want to miss church, however, as Andrew and L12 were playing with the worship team, B6, A10 and L12 were singing with Junior Praise and then just the girls were singing with a girl’s ensemble. They all sang and played beautifully. There were also home made cards this morning and a little hand made bag and an original watercolour this afternoon. I have a lovely family, but it doesn’t take Mother’s day for me to realise that.