Mama Chameleon

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ah hello my little blog....I have starved you! hehe....I am only briefly on to note yesterday's events as they are significant to me.
Yesterday I saw professional portraits of a friend's children. This time last year, I saw earlier photos of the same kids by the same photographer and I thought "Wow, I could never EVER do that.'
Well, yesterday I still thought 'Wow!', but I also thought things like:
'Hey,I know how he edited that!.....'
'I have a photograph like that!...'
I think if I did it at the same time of day, I could do that pic!...' and even:
'Sheesh, ease on the vignetting already!'

This encouraged me and got me to thinking. So as I drove the kids to school at 3:00pm, I chatted away to God, as I can be prone to do.....
'Lord, I have really come quite a way this last 11 months in with my knowledge of photography and editing and I only desire to know more about it. You know I am timid and would NEVER seek photography work (This is true.....I have had 5 jobs in my life, and never asked for a single one....they have all just been handed to me! Timidity is not a good quality I know, and I am not endorsing it...simply demonstrating it)
Lord, I will never go looking for anyone to photograph, but if this is something I am meant to be doing in any capacity, please let someone ask me.'
Why was I having this chat? Well, really the editing and the photography does take a bit of time, and even though I have learnt a lot, I didn't want it to overtake other things God might have me do....if that makes sense....
So anyway, got home with the kids, fed the kids, went for a run, came back and checked messages. And guess what? At 4:03 a friend from church had sent me the following request on behalf of her parents:

I have sort of a favour to ask. Our grandparents wanted to have a nice family picture of us to give to us for Christmas. They haven't got a nice one of all of us and they thought if they paid to have a "professional" one done a meyer or one of those places they could give it to us for Christmas.The problem is we are not too keen on the whole portriat studio type thing especially with all the kids. and seeing so many of your fantasic photos you do, we were wondering if you would like to come to the park somewhere and take a few family shots?? Please note that we will be PAYing you as the grandparents just really want to do this for our presents. If you can possibly do it we would be very excited, your photography is so lovely!!!! If you can't do it though please say as we understand and no pressure, bek

Isn't that awesome? Such a quick response as far as I was concerned! So I am saying 'Thanks God' and 'Thanks Griffiths' family!'

Posted by michelle :: 1:01 pm :: 7 comments links to this post

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

A beautiful gift

This morning, a couple of ladies and I were chatting innocently away, when I said to one of them "Judy, I love your scarf. It looks like it might be from Kenya...." as I tend to do when I spot African-looking things.
'You can have it.' she said, touching it threateningly (a very African thing to do actually. Never admire something belonging to an African, as, depending on the culture, you are likely to have just unwittingly forced them to give it to you!)
I protested in much horror, but Judy deliberately unwound the scarf and pressed into my hands.
"I was really moved by today's sermon on giving. And I determined that if anyone admired this scarf today, I would give it to them." she insisted.
There was no dissuading her. So now I own this gorgeous Kenyan scarf. (yes it is from Kenya!)
I decided to try to and do it justice photographically it in my friend's honour. Thanks Judy, it is extra special because of the story behind it!!!

Posted by michelle :: 9:33 pm :: 4 comments links to this post

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roly, Roly, Roly......It was one of those nights at church. *sigh* We go to the evening service as well as the morning service where there is Sunday School. The evening service is more relaxed, there are more musicians, and while there is no Sunday school, the service itself is shorter, only about an hour long.

I bring along a little bag of quiet Crayola activites for Topsy to do, but well, I forgot that bag tonight....

You might have forgot your Crayola bag of crafts too:

1. if you had dinner (Italian spagetti and beef meatballs and Thai pork meatballs in satay sauce with rice) to pack into the car as well as the four kids (plus drop one girl home), as well as picking up an extra kid on the way!

2. if you were trying to be 10 minutes earlier than normal because you needed to buy the coriander (cilantro) that was to be part of the Thai pork meatballs in satay sauce.

3. if, just as you had the car packed with food and kids, you realized you could not find the keys to the car anymore (yes the ones that you had used to get into the car in the first place)

4. if after looking for the stupid key for ten futile minutes in the dark and rain, (there went the coriander dream) you had to drag your sopping wet self back insideto call Hubby out of church to come home with the other key, and then call the other kid's parents to tell them we couldn't pick him up..... ( no, i was not feeling in the least bit godly after that!)

So..... no Crayola bag to tide Topsy over.

Now, you have to understand that Topsy is the musical one in the family. He is also a big News Boys fan.

He often 'becomes' Peter from the Newsboys at home ( 'Hi, I am Peter from the Newsboys. I have no hair, I have black eyes and black nails.' )

At the evening service during the singing, sometimes he will go up to the musos and quietly open his imaginary guitar case; sling it over his shoulder, tune the thing and then play the song with them. He just does what they do and is fine.

It is only really a worry when we sing 'Blessed Be Your Name". You see, the Newsboys cover that song, and we have them on DVD covering that song.

Topsy does a mean imitation of Peter dancing to 'Blessed Be Your Name' . It is a very odd knee-wobbling dance, and seeing as we are no dancers, that is the only dancing Topsy sees. So when the song 'Blessed Be Your Name' comes up, Topsy snaps into Peter mode, and does this dance which makes him look like he needs an exorcism and fast!

That is when the plug is pulled, and he becomes Flynn working on his Crayola activities again.

Tonight Topsy was doing the drums, but then some song set him off into Peter mode, so he had to get his guitar. Then drums again, then guitar; here, there, here again.....

Whatever was going on, it was distracting me from concentration on praising God, so I pulled the plug.

But then he wriggled, he sighed, he tried to wipe my face with his spare T-shirt. He started to whine about wanting to go to the quiet room.........

I would have taken him to the quiet room when it was time for the sermon, but now I was not about to reward his behaviour. Instead, he spent some time in a temporary wrong choice corner in the cold car (punished me as well, shivering out there)

He came back and was fine, but grrrr, sometimes..........sometimes.....

Anyways, guess what?

Last night I had one of my big crazy ideas. This was it: If we are hoping to go to Kenya for a holiday in 3 years wouldn't that be ample time for our church to prepare and save money for a group to do a 2-3 week mission in either Uganda or Tanzania? We could be part of the mission first, before our holiday!

My vision is to have some of the older keener youth group kids be able to come too, and be part of running a kid's and youth program or whatever else the church group does! Wouldn't that be fantabulous?

So I have given the idea to Hubby because turning big ideas into a reality is his thing. And training for long term goals is also his thing. So I am certainly praying that a core group at church will catch the vision and be excited and inspired!!! Those who go will come back probably far more challenged, blessed and changed than those we go to minister to!

The first couple of frugal things I am going to try are:

1. go back to shopping at Aldi, where there is only one brand of each item and the overall price is cheaper.

2. Once a Month cooking.... heard of it? So in theory, you spend one day cooking a month's worth of meals to freeze. Hmmmm for the experiment, should I go whole hog and try the month, or should I go for caution and do a fortnight of meals. Hmmm, Ok I will a month. That being this Saturday, maybe. Oh sweet Mama, what have I signed up for. Though I think this will work better in winter than in Summer when we like to BBQ.

Posted by michelle :: 1:26 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am at the end of a 3 week vacation off school in which much was going to be accomplished. Yeah, right.....!

The biggest most pressing job of the holiday was the social skills program for the teenagers with Aspergers, the program I was supposed to both start and finish. Haven't even peeked at that yet, and it is Saturday afternoon. The last Saturday afternoon before school. Eeeks.
Oh well, I took a bucket load of pictures, and played games with my kids, and relaxed, so not all the time was wasted.

So a little bit has changed since I was last on here regularly. And this will affect my blogging fodder!

1. I have a great camera
2. No longer am I a SAHM, 'cause I am a teacher's assistant 4 mornings a week.
3. I have traded Kid's Club in for Youth Group, day and time wise fits our family better.
4. I walk 20 minutes 6 days a week for my mental fitness.
5. The kids have grown. So here they are:
Spindles (11) and Roly (nearly 14)

Diva (nearly 10)

and Topsy (4)

6. and last but not least: I am going to be planning our 2012 trip to Kenya, US and Scotland!!!! So our frugal living efforts and planning efforts should be bloggable, no?

Today's thing to tackle: I am really wanting to start a Bible Memory segment up for our Youth Group. Cool Bible Memory games and techniques with a comp between boys/ girls with a cup for the winners at the end of the year. My Dad helped me memorize Bible verses from a very young age, and while I found it a bit of a drag sometimes, God's Word was certainly writ on my heart. When I went though a bit of a shocker in Year 11 and 12 and wandered right away from God's truths, those same verses came back to me all the time. I really want to pass that on to the next gen. I have been so slack doing it with my own kids, but no time like the present. :)
I also need to come up with something to cook as I and another family are catering tomorrow night's church dinner. Potato and leek soup with homemade bacon and cheese rolls crossed my mind, as did Thai pork meatball in lime-coconut satay on rice; or meatloaf with my world famous potato bake.
Better go and work it out, huh? so fun to be blogging again! Yay!

Posted by michelle :: 1:02 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Pizza Craving Curber- Pizza Salad

Yes this is another of my inventions! I never craved pizza till I was told I couldn’t have it. Now, this Pizza salad is my best friend…. I will post a photo if I can ever manage to remember to take one before I scoff the thing down.

*½ red onion finely chopped
*1 capsicum finely chopped-fry these first two ingredients together till transluscent
*½ chorizo sausage- fry till done, then chop up finely (or use a handful of bacon or ham, whatever your favourite meat is for pizza)
*handful of chopped mushrooms- fry on high heat till just done
*handful of sliced olives
*handful of favourite grated pizza cheese ( I use goat cheese with a sprinkle of parmesan, because it is low fat)
*½ a lettuce chopped
*garlic yoghurt sauce to taste (mayonnaise if you are not on low fat options)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then eat with relish!

Posted by michelle :: 1:07 pm :: 0 comments links to this post

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just had to jot this one down for posterity. I can’t really claim to have ‘invented’ it, but when all my favorite ingredients popped into my head in the form of a casserole, I quickly got my oldest minion (Roly) to be my apprentice before the vision vanished. Roly was apprehensive about baking a ‘made up’ casserole (specially when I said it would be called Roly’s Rustic 5 Cheese Chicken Casserole, as he is not fond of cheese in any form) but when he smelt it in the oven, and later when he tasted its exquisite creaminess, the sweet basil and potato, and the gentle spice of the chorizo, he was sold. It is a firm new family favourite, except for poor old Spindles who has a mental thing against basil, and honestly must have toyed rather sadly with his dinner for a couple of hours! Even though I had taken any basil out of it.

Michelle’s Rustic 5 Cheese Chicken Casserole

1 kg cooked chopped chicken
3 chorizo sausages fried and chopped up fine
1-1 and 1/2 cups of your favourite grated cheeses (we used feta, tasty, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Jarlsberg)
4 cups of chopped and roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped and fried till transluscent
1 600ml carton of cream
1 300ml carton of sour cream
2 tbsp chicken stock powder
a handful of basil torn into smaller pieces
Breadcrumb Topping
1 large Turkish bread Or enough to comfortably cover the top of your casserole dish when chopped!
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp chopped chives

Casserole Instructions
Mix up the cream and sour cream and chicken stock powder in a large casserole dish.
Throw in the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together gently so as not to break up the potatoes.

Breadcrumb Topping instructions

Chop the bread up and gently toss with the olive oil and chives in a saucepan over low heat for a couple of minutes.
Then sprinkle over the casserole.Bake at 180 for about 30 minutes or till hot through and topping is golden and crunchy looking.

Posted by michelle :: 6:08 pm :: 1 comments links to this post

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Tastebud Screamer

-well mine scream for this cake at least! The pic above is the piece I longed for but resisted.

Diva made it today only because we were out of butter. Here is the recipe for you my dear sis!
Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine dry ingredients.
Mix together eggs,milk,oil,vanilla. Stir into boiling water. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes.

Posted by michelle :: 4:41 pm :: 4 comments links to this post

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