Mama Chameleon

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour Evil

Earth Hour coincided with some discounted footy tickets we got at the Royal Canberra show earlier in the year. In fact, the tickets said 'Support Earth Hour: turn off you lights at home and come to the football!'

It was an opportunity that we probably won't get too often, and it was also the Canberra Raiders (their color is green, but you can't read the green on my green background!) vs the mighty St George Dragons (our team!!!), so a bit of a no-brainer really!
Hubby and our three oldest (there were only 4 tickets) left to get to the 7:30 pm game, and I put Topsy to bed and only just got my candles out (and the kitchen sink full of hot soapy water) with 2 minutes to spare before Earth Hour began.

The time passed quickly. I was thankful for that because mine was the only car on the street, and I felt a little anxious with all that darkness!

The kids and Hubby came home late; full of excitement at seeing a live match; half frozen due to the chill in the air, and a little gloomy that the mighty Dragons lost after such a promising start.

It was only this morning that we saw what someone did during Earth Hour to my car!

This is really the straw breaking my back, I tell you. My car rego is due in a couple of weeks, and changing a car's registration over to a different state is costly enough, let alone fixing things that shouldn't be broke!

Plus the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that someone with ill-intent toward my property was in such close proximity! Gulp.

Posted by michelle :: 3:44 pm :: 3 comments links to this post

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

We were talking about wacky cakes last night at Bible Study. Actually we talk about food a LOT at Bible Study! :) And it got me to thinking about my Mom's wacky spice cake, and got me to salivating!

It took a lot of research on the www but I finally found a recipe, and with Topsy's enthusiastic assistance we made the kid's first taste of wacky spice cake. Mmmm good!

Hubby has been away again all week, but is back tomorrow. It has been a fast paced week. We were honored to have Hubby's brother and his youngest son David stay with us on Saturday night, after a family birthday party where we got to catch up with tons of Hubby's family we haven't seen in too long. His relatives all live around these parts (except for you Kirsty! *waving*)

And then we snared Hubby's parents Nanny and Poppy for Sunday and Monday night.

I took FarAway's advice about the gym, by the way. Now I only do the treadmill 20 minutes( a little higher and faster than before, though I have got used to it, and no longer cling to the handlebars quite so desperately !) instead of 45. And then I do a weight circuit, which is fun. I am really enjoying going, thus I manage to squeeze 5 sessions a week.

Roly and Spindles Update: Roly has settled into his new group without expressing any further interest in the girls in it. We are going through a book by Bob Schultz: Boyhood and Beyond- Practical Wisdom for Becoming a Man, which is fantastic. (The book I am doing with Diva isn't nearly as good, so if anyone has any ideas of an equivalent, please tell me) I was just telling Spindles tonight that I think it is great that they are both in separate friendship groups at school, because it gives Spindles the opportunity to emerge and shine as himself much more, away from Roly's big personality.

Quote: The kids are rather concerned that Topsy will not know that his real name is Tops, because we always call him Topsy. So we have trained him to answer, when asked his name "my name is Tops Taylor". The kids test him rather a lot on this!

Well this morning on the way to school, he was nibbling a snack, when Spindles snuck the 'what's your name' pop quiz on him.

And Topsy was having none of it!

'What is your name? ' Spindles asked.

'I not know, Spindles.' Topsy said with his mouth full. ' I eating my crackers!'

Posted by michelle :: 8:49 pm :: 0 comments links to this post

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Well, I have had a most excellent Easter Friday! We started off by having traditional Good Friday breakfast: hot cross buns, or in our case hot cross/choc chipbuns! Does the US and Canada have those? They are a cinamon and spice bun with sultanas and sometimes orange peel in, with a distinctive cross on the top. Nowadays, to make them more palatable to kids, you canpurchase fruitless ones and choc chip ones as well).

Our church service was very moving: kept simple, with only the relevant Bible readings interspersed by songs and a time of prayer. The kids all stayed in, and I have to say that Topsy was just excellent, helping me to concentrate on the sevice by sitting quietly. Of course the others were great too, but I expect them to be at their age!!! The only noise Topsy made was when Michael (the minister) was saying 'In a minute we'll take time for morning tea together,' (to which Topsy said to me in a very loud whisper 'We having morning tea, Mum!) Michael continued: 'but don't forget that on Sunday morning there is the dawn service, and we will be meeting up the top of Ngunnawal Hill.' (whereupon Topsy whispered even louder: 'we be climbing the hill, Mum!')

When we got home, the boys read all the bounty I got them from the library, while Diva and Topsy played a big cubby house game in the living room, (a game which the boys later joined.)

After lunch and a rest, we baked a cinnamon tea cake (very Australian),and the kids played, Hubby slept, and I took the dog for a 2 Km jog (my first jog ever, I think!).

Later while Topsy was playing on his own, the older kids and I played Cranium Cadoo! And we moved on to EyeToy Sports, the playstation game that makes you be active, and even Topsy can play because you use your physical body to do physical challenge!. We all worked up a sweat!

Dinner was just a reheat of chicken burgers, so while it cooked, we took turns belting out our favorite 80's songs (Eye of the Tiger for my boys!) on SingStar.

We have all just done a big clean up, as Hubby's aunty is having a 60th here in Canberra tommorow and we will have family staying with us overnight. Yay!

Hope you all had a blessed Easter.

Posted by michelle :: 7:56 pm :: 3 comments links to this post

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I am going to have to start reading a whole different kind of parenting book now!
Yesterday, Spindles asked if he could walk our dog with me.
When we had set off, and I just asked how he was going, I could hear there were tears in his voice. He said that things between him and Roly have changed.
They used to be in the same friendship group at their old school.
But here they mix in totally different crowds. Spindle's group plays handball, and Roly's friends (both goups), well they all like girls, and in fact there are several girls in their group.
This is such a hugechange for Roly (who was totally allergic to girls the last two years), so Spindles is not coping. He said that Roly also mentioned to a mutual friend from their old school, that he is interested in girls.
With that heads up,I had a little meander down to Roly's room later that night to see where he is at with all this.
He said that there is a lot of 'going out' and then 'breaking up' that goes on in his class, and that a couple of his friends want him to 'go out' with one of a couple of the girls in their group. He asked how I would feel about him dating and taking a girl out.

Oh Lord, give me wisdom!
I know what I want for Roly.
I want for him to always treat girls with respect, and to never start going out with a girl under the influence of others, only to break up a couple of days later, and have her wonder for ages, what was so wrong with her.
I want him to only seek a life partner who shares his faith.
I want to lock him up in his room and homeschool him till he is 23!!!!!!!!

Well, in a very calm voice I have told him that Dad and I will get back to him on our guidelines when it comes to him dealing with girls.
I think I was 17 when a boy took me to a movie.
We will certainly encourage him to bring friends home to meet us, maybe it may sometimes be a girl, and they could talk out on the tramploine where I can spy see them . At some stage we will let him go to movies with a group that may include girls, but I am quite convinced that at this very young age, he kind of needs protection from himself, and to have the decision taken out of his hands

We need to be firm, without trampling all over his heart.

I will take any of your ideas with open ears and mind! And keep Spindles in your prayers. he does not take change well! he still thinks he will live at home with us forever and ever!

Posted by michelle :: 11:14 pm :: 4 comments links to this post

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Topsy Update:

I really should update some of Topsy's happenings while I remember, as he is too young ever to recall any of this stuff.

We have got a very, very sociable child in Topsy, which is goes great with ministry, as long as the sociability is not encouraged to become precociousness.

Some examples:

At the defense pool yesterday, he wanted to be off on his own getting to know other people. It is a pool with a ramp, so there is a lot of shallow areas. He sat there and decided to chat to a mother and daughter.

Of course I had to be privy to what he was doing. So every once in a while he would yell over to me: 'Mummy, I taliing to my friend!" Then to prove his point he would look at the two 'friends ' and say" Hi!' This he did over and over, which had them and me, in silent stitches.

Then last night at SKy Fire (fire works over Lake Burleigh Griffin, that we went to see. Above is a photo a professional took of it!), two of Topsy's 'friends' (sweet teenage girls sitting next to us) farewelled a friend "Bye Libby, see ya!'

Topsy stood up and waved happily at her disappearing back. 'Bye Dibby! See ya later!'

And my personal favorite: Today at church lunch, Topsy's favorite person (our main minister Michael, who gets everyone call him Michael) disappeared for a while. And then he did an announcement over the speaker system without actually being visible. Well this baffled Topsy. So he went around all the people eating lunch in small groups, asking, with his hands outstretched questioningly "Where's my Michael?'


Not in the same vein, but an episode to remind him later: Tonight at church dinner (yes today was a busy day! And Topsy was tired and hadn't had a nap), Topsy cut in line and put one hand into the grated cheese.

This is something I am cracking down on at home, 'cause like all toddlers, he really likes to handle the food on serving plates.

The man who had helped prepare the food, let out a wail of mock protest. I withdrew the greedy fist, and took my child away for a private and swift smack bottom!

Well, he was inconsolable! He sat in my lap, and wept, and wept, and wept........

....for twenty minutes! And it was not a hard smack, I assure you!

I asked him what was wrong, when he could finally speak. And he gulped out.: 'say sorry to man.'

I took him over for the apology: (the man of course, was absolutely horrified to think all that sadness was over Topsy wanting to make things right).
'Sorry, man'.
And then the rain vanished, and the sun returned! Though the crying had so worn him out, he nearly fell asleep in my lap after, and we had to go home to bed immediately.

Posted by michelle :: 10:44 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Friday, March 07, 2008



Hmmm. The expression just about says it all. It's Ok... A bit of a neither-here-nor-there style really. I may go back for a bit more off in a while, after some reflection.

Posted by michelle :: 1:24 pm :: 3 comments links to this post

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Hair today................

Yup, goin' to the hairdresser today. I think I am going to have this unruly mop cut to shoulder length. I'd love a short bob, just above my jaw line, but I am not brave enough. Although you can't see it, that hair of mine goes down mid-bra, and I really don't have the kind of hair you can style nicely for staying down. It is not thick, or nicely wavy or really straight. I am sick of keeping it up, so off it comes....

Watch this space.

Posted by michelle :: 7:56 am :: 1 comments links to this post

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

If you didn't read yesterday's post, please do that first before reading today's so that everything is in context.
Bossy aren't I?!

Well, armed with a bag of books and coloring pages that I printed from the Wiggles web site (to 'contain' Topsy) we went, with some trepidation, to the Ethiopian restaurant.

I was especially stressed because Topsy, though he rested quietly in his room for 2 hours, actually didn't have a nap. So he was crabby and loud.

The restaurant was small, but it was classy.

I had already fed the kids, in case the food was too hot, so Diva and Spindles only ordered a meat samosa each. Their order came first as it was from the entree section.
Poor kids, the chili sauce that accompanied those samosas were the mildest thing about the dish! Both Spindles and Diva nibbled at the pastry, then gave up. So Roly bravely downed one, with the aid of a lot of water, and I ate the other.

The man who had spoken to me on the phone served us. He was dignified and had a very cultured accent. He was totally impressed at the kid's manners. Even little Topsy thanked him whenever he appeared with a plate for us!

And Topsy sat still for the hour and 2o minutes we were there, without a high chair to 'contain' him. Hubby colored in the Wiggles sheets for him, and that kept him amused for a very long time.

Oh and there actually were the 'sampler' platters I had enquired about! We ordered one platter of assorted meat wots, and one of assorted vegetarian wots. Roly had a dish of his own that he loves, called Yegeb alicha (mild lamb). I expected our food to come out like this:

but this is what we got:

We ordered extra injera, which is what Spindles and Diva especially love. And it looked less like this:
and a lot more like this, except in brown baskets:
Very yummy. Viva Injera bu Wot!!

Posted by michelle :: 12:50 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh please please please please please come to our restaurant! *Edited*

I have been just dying to eating Ethipian food since....... well the last time I ate it!
Of the three Ethiopian restaurants here, only 1 is actually open on a Monday. It is the only one we have never sampled.
My friend gave me their card which looks like this:
A bit of a blur, but this is what it says:

Present: Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine and Modern Australian Dishes.
Do:Banquet, Private Functions, Lunch boxes and Takeaway
Are: Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


So, I called them up to see if they do a sample platter, if they have a high chair, and to make a 6:00 pm booking ( for 6, 2 adults and 4 children) as they open at 6:00.

No-one answered so I left a message and my number.

When I got the call back this is what the restaurant owner said in a stern tone:

There are none of those sampling platters that I mentioned. Each dish must be ordered individually.

There are no high chairs.

and in regards to children...... well..... Was I aware that the restaurant is extremely small? And that in restaurants, very hot food is carried about?

In view of that, in regards to children, I must make sure that if any children come, they are to be contained at all times!!!!

And with regards to booking a table for 6:00 pm, well the restaurant only opens at 6, so could I please not come till 6:20 at the earliest!!!!

I was going to call back and cancel, but I haven't. My tastebuds are pulling me. Plus maybe his offensive tone was simply lost in translation.

I'm obviously not holding my breath on this experience but I will let you know how it was!
Quote (sort of): Topsy is newly obsessed with some of the kid's music I loved as a kid. Anyone here used to listen to Agapeland stuff? Well Topsy loves the Music Machine :Fruit of the Spirit tape. He calls it the 'Kids one' and sings the songs all the time. This morning it was quite obvious to me that he was not really thinking about the words. He stood wet, naked and shivering from his bath, moaning and complaining out the lyrics: 'Showing me your gentleness. How I love you!'
My rissole (meat patties) recipe:
2.2 pounds (1 kg)Mince beef ( I sometimes mix beef and lamb)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
1 packet of chicken soup
generous slosh of worcestershire sauce
two generous dollops of SMOKEY bbq sauce
two apples grated
1 carrot grated
1 zucchini grated
mix together and grill.

Posted by michelle :: 1:23 pm :: 2 comments links to this post

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

This weekend was a 'playdate 'weekend, where the kids have a friend over. I usually like to tee up a friend for each of the kids (not really including Topsy in that), so that no one is left out. On Monday, Roly gave his invitation to have a play this Saturday and possibly sleep over. The child's parents never got back to us till Friday night! I'd given up on the boy coming by that time, so we were pleased that Roly's friend could come. And then Spindle's friend's mother didn't want to intrude, she was adamant about that, so he only ended up coming over for a couple of hours. Ain't nothing ever simple!!!!

Diva's little friend ended up inviting her over to her house , so at least that was straightforward.

The kids have chosen really sweet kids to be their friends.

The only hitch came this morning. Roly's friend stayed overnight, and came to church with us this morning. I was going to run him home, before coming back home to entertain a lovely family from our church familoy who have 11 kids.

So I got the boy safely to his home ( about 20 minutes away), only to find that his family was not there.

'Oh, they must still be at church', he said.

'Where is their church?'

It turned out he was speaking of a biker's church (stepdad is a biker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), Oh and it was only another 10-15 minutes drive away! Eeeks! I was already short on time, and I didn't have my mobile phone on me. So we began to drive in the direction of the biker church.

Long story short, it was all seeming way too hard. So I turned the car around and went in search of a public pay phone. The stepdad answered his mobile, and told me just to drop the boy at the house, as they were only 5 minutes away, and he could just play in the backyard.

I felt really uncomfortable about it, but as I was now late, I did just that.

Then the family we were having for lunch and I all pulled up at our house together.

What did I feed them all?

*grilled sausages and hamburger patties ( I make yummy patties, *blushes at the self compliment, but it is true, I do!*)

*marinated chicken wings

*a huge potato bake (tripled the recipe)

*4 big garlic breads

*lettuce and tomato salad

The family brought lots of drinks and a huge box of assorted chocolates.

We had several hours of great conversation, then we all went to the flying fox park on the lake for another 45 minutes, till it was time for Hubby to go back to church to get ready for the next service.

Posted by michelle :: 5:21 pm :: 1 comments links to this post

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