Thursday, July 24, 2014

Loss,conflict and the wisdom of children.

It has been an emotional week in the world.
Around the world violent acts have caused heartache for thousands of people.
Sadness and heartache that we can only try to comprehend.
In Australia these acts are usually items on a news bulletin - they shock us, scare us and sometimes horrify us but generally we move on in our island bubble, detached from war and conflict.
Not this week.
This week it became very personal.
And so very sad.
The bombing of flight MH17 and the subsequent deaths of 3 Perth children amongst all of the many others has delivered the consequences of war and conflict into our homes.
The sadness in our house as we mourn a football team mate and a lovely family that we smile and laugh with on Sunday mornings, is nothing compared to their loss and that of the families & friends of every other passenger.
With heavy hearts we feel for them, send them our love and wish that we could do something ease their grief.

There have been many questions and conversations as we all come to grips with the enormity of what has happened.
Our youngest child, who has just turned 8, has been trying to process it all and I wanted to share a conversation that we had the other day.

Miss A: "Mum, why would somebody do that? Why would they bomb a plane?"
Me: "I don't know.  In the world there are people who are just not nice and they do horrible things"
Miss A:  "Are they bullies?"
Me: "Yes I think they probably are"
Miss A: "Maybe they should all think back to when they were little kids.  They should think about what it feels like when somebody is mean to you and how awful you feel.  Then they should remember that feeling and not be mean or horrible to other people.  They should do things that are nice and they should stay on their own sides and be happy with what they have.  Then they won't bomb planes and people won't be sad."

I think she is right.
May this never happen again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the blink of an eye ...

…. my smallest turned 8.

How did that happen?

So many years but sometimes it seems so few.

To celebrate we had a garden party at home with (what were we thinking ???) around 20 (!!!) seven and eight year olds.  20 is crazy but we only moved here 12 months ago and our little Miss is still finding her place so after much discussion we decided that we should have them all.

I love a home party.
I love the preparing, the planning, the discussing, the making.
I love seeing the kids and getting to know their personalities in action.
I love that the kids have a great time without paid performers in an old school type of way.
I love the way our bigger kids get in there and help out and love doing it.
I love it when the last of them leaves and we all crash on the couch.

Here are some picks of our 8 year old garden party.

"Dirt cups" or tim-tams whacked though the food processor with a bit of chocolate topping thrown in to bind them a teeny tiny bit.  SOOO yum

The cake which was going to be a number 8 but I chickened out.  Decorating cakes isn't my strength.  After checking out Mr Google I discovered a blog called I Am Baker which, apart from being fabulous, has an excellent tutorial on how to do the icing roses.   If I can do them any 5 year old with a piping bag can!

I loved the look on the kid's faces when we cut the cake.  They were expecting chocolate not a rainbow surprise.

A little crafty gardening activity to do between games which the kids all took home.

And before you think that we are uber cool, organised party professionals, let me just keep it real for you ….
ice packs required - 2, head crash and mild concussion on trampoline
band-aids required - 1, bleeding foot whilst dancing on the carpet
kids in tears - 2 or 3 at various moments but all left the party smiling (phew)
happiest creature at party - our old friendly dog - who may have eaten the remains of 18 donuts and didn't require dinner - until one of the kids quietly mentioned that she was terrified of dogs as she hid behind my legs (oops) and we gave the dog a little rest in the laundry.
state of floor afterwards - very sticky & crunchy
dinner for the family post party - cheese toasties as we were all pooped!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs

Do you remember these ?

I'm preparing for a gazillion 7 and 8 year olds that will celebrate a birthday here on the weekend.

We're planning to fill them full of homemade sugar treats & cakes, have them run around like mad outside (praying to the weather gods on the hour every hour!) and send them home exhausted and hopefully with our home intact.

Have just made salted caramel popcorn which taste just like Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs.

Good god it is delicious.  And healthy ??? … corn ???? Maybe just a little bit ?????
Ok not healthy at all but fun and delicious.

Recipe in this book:

I just have to stop eating it !!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Today ...

Today it is wildy wet & windy.

From here we can usually see down the hill to the ocean but not today.  In fact since I have taken this pic the skies have opened, rain is belting in sideways and the wind has picked up.  I can barely see the houses over the road and the trees are dancing limbo with each other.

Even the basketball ring is having a little lie down so it doesn't dance through a window.

The dog and I are gratefully bunkered down inside waiting for this to cook so the hungry hoards have something to eat after school.

I'm not looking forward to the school run.  Think we may get a little damp …..

How about you? How is your 'today' ?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Click Clack Clacking

One big boy beanie for a little brother's head is finished and in the post.

Modelled by a reluctant Mr who is wearing a t-shirt - a Perth winter is very different to a Melbourne winter and this is why I am posting these goodies back to Victoria.  Not a lot of need for them here.

One Miura Cowel for my sister finished too.

The youngest girl, despite the fact that she is still wearing shorts and t-shirts most of the time, has requested I make her a beanie as the next project.

Quite enjoying the clickety-clacks although my neck is getting a bit stiff and sore - I'm a tense little knitter.
Must remember to relax the shoulders and look up occasionally otherwise my neck will seize up and my head will probably explode.
That would just be messy.

… calm blue ocean … relax … calm blue ocean … relax … calm blue ocean ...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Clickety Clack

For me crochet is like ordering a 12 course meal in Portugese with only a tiny Portugese/English language dictionary to help.  It can be done but is slow, clumsy and you may not get what you think you should be getting.

So I've gone back to the sticks.  It just makes sense to my brain.

I made my first ever beanie last week and forgot to photograph it before I posted it to my brother.
It was a little small so now belongs to his lovely girlfriend.

This is a second attempt being made a little bigger to fit his not so small head.
Matching wool and matching pattern.
Ha, won't they look quaint with matching beanies as they walk around the paddocks!
The pattern is here on ravelry.

Have you anything on the sticks or are you hooking?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hungry Like The ….

(did you pick up the Duran Duran reference fellow teens of the '80's - go on click on the link the hair alone is worth it!)
The only other wolf reference I could think of was this - which still makes me smile and think of my big sister and I running around the back yard yelling "It's the wool-uff!  It's the wool-uff!".

But I digress…

Today daughter number 2 was a wolf at school assembly as part of a class Jungle Book singing and dancing performance.

I do love a little bit of a costume project and considering that the sewing mojo is very low I need a project with a deadline.

We trawled Pinterest for ideas and ended up with this.

If you are intending to make a wolf at your house here are some links that might be helpful …

The Mask:
I found a free pattern here.
I traced all parts of the pattern and cut them out in different colours of felt and stitched them together.
We added an extra layer of fur behind the ears to help it match the vest.

The Paws:
Pads cut out of felt and sewn onto a rectangle of fur (to one side).
Sides sewn together to make a tube and leaving a hole for the thumbs.
(If I had taken photos during the process it may have been helpful but I didn't - sorry)

The Tail:
Looked soooo much better on pinterest (isn't that often the way).
For some reason the link won't work but I'll give you the details so you can try yourself or at least search for it on pinterest.
Basically it is made out of acrylic wool and a dog brush.
I think ours needed more brushing but I was over it and she was happy so we called it finished.
A piece of black cotton herringbone tape was used as a "belt" to tie the tail on and hold the vest closed.

The Furry Vest:
Just a little vest/waistcoat - shoulder seams and side seams and that is it.
I already had a pattern from previous concert costumes so just used a modified version of that.
Here is a great link and tutorial if you need one - found at a blog called Danamadeit.
The lovely lady at Spotlight gave me the best advice for cutting fur …
Cut it with the inside facing up and always just do little snips keeping the bottom blade of your scissors quite still.  This stops you from cutting the outer layer of fur so that you still have a shaggy edge.  Works a treat. Thanks clever Spotlight Lady!

And that in a nutshell is our Wool-Uff costume.

Enjoy your day people.

Jenny x

Friday, May 2, 2014


If you fancy a piece of Ohjoh now is a good time to get your hands on it!
We are having a May Sale!!!
15% off for the month of May.
Enter the coupon code Ohjohmaysale at checkout and enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Surviving After School Activities … or not as is usually the case here

Whoosh - just like that the holidays are over.
School is back today for my lot, together with all of the activities and sports that they are involved in.
Our kids can choose 2 sports/activities each - eg basketball and piano.

This seemed a very reasonable number:

  • Kids not overloaded but allowed to join teams and follow interests, 
  • budget not completely destroyed and 
  • everyone is happy.

I have 3 kids which means 6 activities and some of these have training nights as well as playing days.
I didn't think this through.
This gives us 8 or more after school things during a week - madness!
My small kids aren't big enough to stay home alone so everyone has to go everywhere to drop off, pick up, watch, cheer etc.
And I'm trying to keep an afternoon/night free because I think that is just as important as being involved in things.
In there somewhere is homework, readers, play dates and dinner preparation.
It is making my head hurt.

I'm whinging aren't I, sorry.

I'm not alone.  Millions of us are all doing versions of the same thing.
Some are great at it and then there are the strugglers like me who get to a point where everything feels like a complete mess and we're chasing our tails.

To be honest, when it all goes to pieces I know I'm not a nice Mum.
I'm stressed, grumpy, disorganised, impatient and not nice to be around.
I don't want my kids to remember me as that mum.

I need some strategies!

So here is my attempt at getting it together…
(listed here so that I can review it if/when the wheels fall off)

Get organised!
I have a list of everyone's activities stuck to the noticeboard.
At a glance I know what is on after school - this is something that you would think I would remember after a couple of weeks but I have been known to forget things…even the names of my kids!

Plan my meals
Not my strength. I tend to open the fridge at 5pm and make something out of what I can find. I know this will help even if it is only for the really busy days.

Cook earlier, freeze and/or reheat on the busy nights
My wise cousin (mum of 4) told me the best days were when she cooked dinner at lunch time. She is a wise girl.

Have the kids take responsibility for organisation too
They need to have their gear in a bag at the door before they leave for school (we will see how this one goes…) so that after school we are all good to go.

Use our waiting time
There is "waiting time" for those of us not playing/doing the activity.  We will try to use this time to do readers etc.
I'm packing a "waiting bag" (my book, knitting, kid's book, colouring pencils and some paper) so I relax and enjoy the wait time either by myself or with my small people.

It is OK to be late sometimes.  I am going to be kinder to myself (and my kids).

Ask for help if you need it.
My support network is on the other side of the country so this is something I don't often do here in WA.
I will look at car pooling with other mum's to share the load.

Enjoy this time
Don't let anxiety and stress rob me of the fun that I could be having with my kids as they learn and enjoy new things.
I should have also included get off the computer and do the things on the list!!!
If you have any strategies that work for you I would love to hear them too.
Hope your school term is great.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

zombie gnocchi

In Dusty Cookbook Number 4 the gnocchi looked like this ...

After having that Masterchef moment of "crap, not enough time to get this finished properly and get kids washed and into bed before we all turn into hysterical monsters" - I'm sure that was on an episode somewhere….

I added buckets of extra flour, swore and wished I had a back-up plan.
I didn't.
So I dropped spoonfuls of the incredibly sticky, pumpkin goo into boiling water and crossed my fingers.

We ate this
It is now known as "Zombie Gnocchi".

Everyone said it was nice - in a "screwed up nose, don't offend the crazy lady" kind of way.
No-one has requested a repeat performance.
Perhaps some recipe books get dusty for a reason.