Saturday, December 28, 2013

Domestic Goddess

Ok, so I'm not much of a Domestic Goddess, and I'm certainly not like that Australian movie about the Domestic Goddess that sings to her webcam and posts it all over the Internet.  I suppose I could, I mean I can sing, at least I used to be able to, what with all the classical singing lessons my parents paid for.  Anyway...getting off topic.

I'm certainly not brilliant at cleaning.  Actually, like most people I hate it.  I do it only because I have to and even then it's not without complaint.  I find it hard to get to in reality.  I spend all day every day trailing after my 4 year old and 2 year old who leave a whirlwind of destruction whether they go, so as I have to constantly clean up after them I never usually get to the ACTUAL cleaning jobs...like doing the bathrooms or re-organising my linen press...which desperately needs to be done.

My form of Domestic Goddess lately has been cooking.  Mmmmm...cooking.  I've decided to win my husband's favour through his stomach.  As a shearer he needs to eat a lot.  He burns a lot of energy.  He's also quite tall and gangly (in a nice way) and practically burns up his food as soon as he forks it into his mouth.  Truly.

Yesterday I made mayonnaise.  Yes!  Never made it before so I was excited.  I also made potato salad so hubby could take it to work.  Potatoes.  Good energy food.

I also made him a slice to take for smoko.  Weetbix slice, which was my Nan's recipe.  Here it is.

 
 
There is an awful lot of butter in that base.  My heart is palpitating just thinking about it.  I'll try not to eat too much of it.  It is, however, delicious. 
 
I also made a Chocolate Mousse..which is actually called Chocolate Fluff and is a recipe of my Mum's that is my all time favourite and she used to make it for me every year on my birthday.  Now I just make it for myself on my Un-Birthday, which accordingly to the Mad Hatter from 'Alice in Wonderland' is every other day.  Yay!!
 
How weird, my 4 year old just put that DVD on.  Looks like the Chocolate Fluff was meant to be.  Here's a picture.
 


It wasn't quite set last night so we've having it for dessert tonight.  My hubby was shearing this morning, despite being a Saturday, and has just rung to inform me that he is going swimming in the Thompson River.  Lucky him.  Lucky me shall be stuck at home in a house without an air conditioner and will eat all the Chocolate Mousse myself as I can only assume he will be home late!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve



This time last year I was about to experience my first Christmas living interstate.  I was also a long way away from my family and didn't see them at all on Christmas day.  They went and had Christmas lunch at my brother's.  He lives in Hamilton in Victoria's west.  He had never hosted Christmas before but their newly renovated house called for a celebration to 'break it in'.  Instead I did Christmas with some of the in-laws at the farm up North, being responsible for making the pudding for the first time (my Great Grandmother's recipe...which I have never made...which turned out beautifully!), and then I spent the evening having chicken nuggets with my two little boys on my own and watching the old black and white movie "Some Like it Hot" with Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe.  Bit of a long story, but to be honest I couldn't be bothered.  Without seeing my own family at some stage during the day Christmas just wasn't the same.

This year we are heading down to Melbourne and spending lunch at my sister's.  Unfortunately my brother can't make it as he's spending it with his wife's family in NSW.  He still hasn't met my baby girl, who is creeping up to 6 months, but hopefully he will catch up with her soon...before she's in heels and dating, I hope.

My 10 year old, like all 10 year olds, is excited about tomorrow, and as he put it, really really excited about what presents he is going to get.  I am hoping that in there somewhere he remembers the true meaning of Christmas.  The 4 year old and 2 year old don't get it yet.  Ahhh..bliss!  They were interested in the Christmas tree when it first went up, but then lost interest, only to regain interest when I hung candy canes on it.  Yesterday the 4 year old had two and then kept bringing me additional canes with a sweet and innocent look on his face.  He is usually wordless and this time his look did say it all, "mum I want more sugar".  Be proud of me, I didn't relent. 

Ha..speak of the devil.  He's just brought me one to open for him.  He even gave a little skip when he did it.  He now keeps repeating "stripe stripe stripe" at me, so I can only assume he wants to eat it.  Oh..hang on...just open it for him....

Bloody hell..why are they so difficult to open??  You have to bite the plastic off with your teeth and I HATE using my teeth to open stuff.

Christmas shopping, thankfully, all done.  I bought the last of it on the weekend, two lemon trees for my mother in-law from Bunnings.  It was a bit of an expedition, as usual, with two small children and a baby.  I had the baby strapped to my front, a lemon tree in each hand, and was trying (not so successfully) to shepherd the two little ones out of the store and to the car without getting run over.  On the way past the obligatory sausage sizzle the women running it commented (like everyone else I ever walk by) "oh..you've got your hands full", so I broke into song..

"...three little children...
..two lemon trees..
..and a baby strapped to my front."  (to the tune of '12 Days of Christmas')

You would have thought that I might have scored a free sausage for my impromptu Christmas carolling, but no.

Today will be spent watching inane children's dvd's (oh how unusual..not) and at some stage I have to drop Christmas presents down at the farm for my nieces and nephews on my hubby's side.  It's 10.30am and I'm still in my pyjama's and thinking about going back to bed for a sneaky snooze.  I'll get to it at some stage.  Perhaps.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone.  I hope you all eat and drink way too much and that your children are spoilt rotten and are not given anything requiring batteries. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The 3 Cheeky Monkeys

I could be talking about a few of my kids, I mean who couldn't, but The 3 Cheeky Monkeys is actually one of my new favourite stores located in Yarragon in West Gippsland, Victoria. 

 
Owner, Melissa Donders, stocks a range of the best toys I personally have ever seen, and in the lead up to Christmas, my kids and I have been frequent visitors. 
 
Melissa, having worked in clothing retail, had the opportunity to run a Pop Up Christmas store, but not wanting to stock just Christmas decorations all year round, decided, at 2 a.m. one morning that she was going to sell European toys.  As she travels to Holland fairly regularly, due to her husband being Dutch, she fell in love with the toy shops over there, and having always stocked up on toys for her daughters while away, she knew that other children would love them too.  This is just one of the great things about her store; there is an abundance of fabulous wooden toys, items that are not advertised on television, and (thankfully for parents!), none of them require batteries!
 
She also sells a range of gorgeous handmade clothing for babies and toddlers.
 
Her personal favourites are the amazing hand puppets, which yesterday my 4 year old discovered for the first time.  He particularly liked the hippopotamus and the big green lizard!  She also loves the Bilbo, which is something resembling a half turtle shell, which you sit in and can spin, or scoot, or you can put things in and engage in all sorts of imaginative play.  I actually bought one of these for my 4 year old for Christmas, so it will be interesting to see what my kids do with it once they get their hands on it!  I think even my 10 year old will love it!
 
My baby girl is getting one of these bunnies for Christmas!!
 
One thing I love is the good old fashioned service and personal attention you receive.  Every time I go in Melissa is always there more than willing to hold my baby girl while I search for the perfect toy, and she gives fantastic advice.  She loves her stock and this really shows through her enthusiasm and knowledge regarding every item.  There is a genuine friendliness about the store as Melissa enjoys getting to know the babies and children that come into the store, and has made real friendships with many of her customers.
 
Melissa is also about supporting the local community and offers discounts to schools, kinders, playgroups and day care centres.
 
The 3 Cheeky Monkeys is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 4.30pm on weekdays and from 10am to 5pm on weekends.  
 
You can find The 3 Cheeky Monkeys on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-3-Cheeky-Monkeys/169123689893351
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beauty All Around

I've noticed lately that I'm starting to view life through the lens of a camera.  Not literally, I mean I don't walk around with a camera plastered to my face, but everywhere I go I'm seeing photo opportunities.  Even in the simplest of things.  Like these flowers for example. 

Roadside flowers

These were flowers on the embankment of the railway line in Waterloo Road.  Not really worth noticing but when you look a little closer, really they are.

I'm finding that what I photograph is only part of a whole, meaning that I'll see something but notice the finer detail first.  This has made me come to a realisation.  I'm finally starting to notice the world like a real photographer should.  You see these brilliant photos taken by talented photographers and wonder how they do it.  You wonder why the snap shots that you take of a landscape on holidays never looks quite the same.  Apart from knowing all about lighting, camera speeds, different settings and all the technical details of photography (of which there is a lot), it is also a lot to do with noticing things in a way that other people don't.  It has taken me a while but suddenly I think I have it.

It is proving to be a little inconvenient, however.  I mean I now find myself stopping in the oddest places, like on the way to bank a cheque this morning, pulling up on the side of the road, leaping out and taking a photo.  I've had some very strange looks from people driving by. 

Went to bank a cheque this morning




I'm not claiming to be an expert, by no means.  I think photography is one of these things where you just keep on learning and no matter how good you get you can always get a little bit better.   The good thing is that anyone can easily have a go, whether they own a flash Digital SLR, a little pocket snappy camera or they own an iPhone.  The quality of point and shoot cameras are so good nowadays it has opened the world of photography up to everyone.  Plus there are some brilliant courses out there too, many of them online therefore easily accessible.

Taking photos makes me happy, and gives me something other than the thankless task of kid wrangling.  And with today's ability to instantly publish photos online through social media you can share the world as you see it with others.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Party


I actually when out.  Socially.  Yes, I pinched myself too.  Several times.  And not only that but I went out without the kids.  And even more amazing I went out with my husband!  It was his shearers Christmas bash and let's just say it wasn't your conventional Christmas party. 

It was held in a paddock by a river and had all the things a good night needs; a barbeque, a fire-in-a-barrel, alcohol and plenty of good company.  Thanks to my husband, and his unusual sense of humour, it also involved an echidna in my car, a midnight paddle down the river in a kayak and milking cows at 2 a.m. in the morning.

I met a couple of great girls too, who I hit it off with in about the first two minutes.  I honestly haven't laughed that hard in ages, and frankly, it was just what I needed.  I think a night of shenanigans was also what helped my husband see me in a new light and realise that I can actually be fun to hang out with.  His comment that we should leave the kids at home and go out more often was very encouraging. 

These are my new mates..


I'm on the far right and, weirdly, seconded from the left.

We arrived home, eventually, and greeted my mother-in-law by trying not to look guilty, with my husband completely wet from the waist down (after a dunk in the river), and both of us covered in cow s#*t. 

This is why, my friends, you always wear your boots to a party involving shearers. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wonders Never Cease



The new Dorset Ram


Incredibly my hubby doesn't have shearing today.  That is not to say that he is spending the day hanging around the house annoying me.  In fact, I wish he would sometimes hang around the house and annoy me.  Today he's off getting a haircut (amazing) and a Christmas tree (even more amazing!), and then he's going to pick up a new ram (of the Dorset sheep variety) and shear some more of our sheep (not so unusual).  Our sheep are kind of like the Magic Pudding.  Just when you think he's finished shearing them, and by the time he does with everything else that diverts his attention, they've all re-grown their wool and it's time to start again.

His day is a lot more fascinating than mine.  It started with my 10 year old telling me that the 2 year old had tried to help himself to my V8 tomato juice and had spilled it all over the floor.  I was still in bed half asleep feeding the baby, so I gave some vague muffled reply about 'clean it up', which he did, although it wasn't until I got up half an hour later that I discovered it wasn't spilt on the tiles like I had thought, but rather on the middle of the carpet.  My poor carpet.  If it was a fluffy animal I would have put it down by now to put it out of its misery.  Needless to say V8 tomato juice does not come out of wheat coloured carpets and it looks like someone has died a terrible death in the middle of my lounge room.  Yay.

Swings!


My dad built some swings for my kids for Christmas and he put them up on Monday.  Never has a piece of play equipment caused such fun and mayhem.  They are out on it all the time.  In and out, in and out of the house like bees to a hive.  Unfortunately they keep nipping out the sliding door from the lounge room, which is the quickest way to the swings, and then traipsing mud and dirt back onto the deceased fluffy animal that is my carpet.  Oh well, I guess it gets them out of my hair.  There is only two swings, however, which is causing a little distress, particularly when the 10 year old, who sometimes doesn't think before he acts, kept throwing a plastic ride-on motorbike at the 2 year olds face every time he swung forwards.  It's getting to that time of year where I am going to have to try and dream up ways to keep kids amused over the holidays lest they kill each other.

Hubby just dropped by and said he had my Christmas present.  It was in the back of a trailer, had four legs and was wearing a woolly jumper.  Hmmm.  It looked surprisingly like a Christmas present from me to him actually.  Hello new Dorset ram.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Reflections



It is about this time of the year that we start to look back on the year that was and start to do that thing where we think "in the New Year I will a) lose some weight, b) stop eating custard and chocolate chip cookies for lunch and c) be a better mother."  Right now my 5 month old is lying under her activity centre yelling at Winnie the Pooh and I'm pretending she isn't, so...perhaps I need to get a little work in on the "be a better mother" idea before the New Year rolls around.

For me it has been a pretty big year.  We moved (again) from NSW, where we were living near the small small town of Wakool for about six months, back to Victoria (staying briefly with my parents until the tenants moved out of our house), and then in July I gave birth to my daughter.  I find newborns really difficult and long for them to turn the corner and reach three months, and then get that bit easier again once they hit six months.  Thankfully she has been sleeping through for a couple of months now, and while I still look average and look like I'm carrying my luggage around in my face, at least I feel a little more human.  Accept for the crazy hormones that bounce around everywhere after you have a baby.  Still waiting for those to settle down.

I started studying again (again), and was doing my first term during which my baby was born in the second week.  I don't know how I got through the term doing two subjects, but this term I had to defer.  After spending an entire day screaming at my kids I realised I wasn't able to study properly or be a mother properly.  With a child with developmental delays to add to the fray I found I wasn't able to do both together and do them well at the same time.  It had to be one or the other. 

Christmas is something I have hardly had time to think about.  Maybe because we still don't have a tree and my two middle children don't have a clue yet.  Hubby promised he would get a real tree this weekend, although I'm afraid if he doesn't find the time, which is likely, I'm going to have to pull out the old fake one.  I really need some new decorations.  The ones I had belonged to my parents and hung on our tree when we were kids.  Needless to say they are all broken and look a little bit more than pathetic.  At least I have almost finished my Christmas shopping, only one gift left to buy.

Next year is going to be even busier with my four year old starting kinder.  Due to his developmental delays, which includes speech delay, he will be starting 3 year old kinder, plus attending a special kinder where he will receive speech pathology and occupational therapy.  Looking forward to it all but I'm going to understand the true meaning of being a taxi service.

Hopefully somewhere within it all there will be time for lots of beautiful photographs.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Photography

As well as my writing services I also moonlight as a photographer.  This is a fashion portrait taken in Wakool, NSW while I was living there up until the start of April this year.  I enjoy taking portraits with a flair and giving the client their own fashion shoot, which involves great locations, make up, fashion and sometimes props!  I also do natural children's portraits, families, pet photography, weddings, commercial work, landscapes and gardens and also sell my work as a range of simple cards.  I work in and around Gippsland.
To view and for more information visit www.amberrhodesphotography.wordpress.com


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Importance of Great Website Content

So many businesses today now have their own website, and whether you are a small business or a larger company, it's time for you to get on board.  What you need is a site that is eye catching, is user friendly and importantly, is well written.  This is where a copywriter can help you out. 

Visit www.oakfarmmurraygreys.com.au to view the latest website written by Amber Rhodes Copywriting.

Prices average from $200 a page, depending on content quantity.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Work done for Sheridan Dixon Makeup Artist

Lastest copywriting work done was for Sheridan Dixon, a professional makeup artist from Mt Waverley.  She does makeup for brides as well as work for models.  She is also in demand by photographers and her work has appeared on the cover of magazines.  This website content was written for her 'About me' page.  http://www.sheridandixon.com.au/about.html