Saturday 31 March 2007

Running The Gauntlet

Living remote is great for keeping the kids away from the enormous mountains of chocolate Easter eggs and Easter rabbits at our local supermarket. We shop once every two weeks due to the distance and that is usually when two of our girls are at school anyway. I went to the supermarket last Thursday and as soon as the two glass sliding doors opened, I ran the gauntlet of Easter with Ruby (3yrs) - every coloured Easter egg you could imagine in every shape and size possible, it is quite unbelievable - they have been selling Easter buns since mid January! Even though you have to go through Easter hell to get into the supermarket - there is no way to get in the store avoiding Easter eggs, we have the shops covered, they are not so hard to deal with. Jade and Amber are old enough to remember having Easter in previous years, but Ruby is too young to remember, so taking her shopping at this time of the year is not so bad, she is not as interested in all the colourful Easter chocolates as what the other two girls are.

Now, it is just school Easter activities we have to try to avoid. Last Thursday, Jade came home with a note in her bag from one of the teachers at school asking for the children to bring in a toy rabbit if they own one. Apparently they were going to be measuring the rabbits as part of a special Easter maths activity. The girls didn't take rabbits, I wasn't really very happy about maths being turned into an Easter activity. Unfortunatly there is not much we can do about it without making the girls feel left out, out of the entire school of 200 children, there are 2 Jewish kids - every other child in the school would be celebrating Easter so it is hardly fair to expect them to not have Easter activities for the rest of the school because my girls celebrate Passover not Easter!

It turned out that it wasn't just maths that had been turned into an Easter activity, but the entire day! They had an Easter activity DAY! Yep, the entire day dedicated to easter bunnies, eggs and anything else I have been desperatly trying to avoid. I know the girls would have felt very left out if they had not participated in the activities, but the school is very well aware of our beliefs considering the trouble we had to go to to get the girls out of weekly Christian scripture classes. I don't expect special treatment, nor do I expect them to stop what they are doing because of us, but it would have been nice if they had of brought to our attention that they were planning on dedicating an entire day to Easter activities - I would have preferred the girls to stay home from school that day.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. We live in a tiny town of 300 people, the town basically has no shops and consists of a peterol station, a pub, a post office... and 3 churches!!! 3 churches! What do we need 3 churches for in a town of 300 people? Below are some photos which I took last week of some of the friendly locals in the next town from ours....ah, yes, it is nice to fit in.

.... Just another day ....

Thursday 29 March 2007

Country Reflection

Things are kind of busy here at the moment. It is not just the preperation and cleaning for Pesach, I also need to get some work done so we can get our savings back up in preperation of moving back to Sydney and on top of those two things Amber has been unwell with croup again for the second time since she started school.

So, with all those things to keep me busy, I have decided to do just a short post today of some photos I took yesterday afternoon while I was out picking up Jade from the bus stop (Amber stayed home from school yesterday). Even though it was quite an overcast day, I though the dam looked quite pretty with the reflections of the trees on it and the grass is so lush and green at the moment, we have had quite a bit of rain over the past couple of weeks and I heard on the news that the area I live in is now out of drought.
The bottom photo is just of one of the many cattle crush's around here, it is actually just across the road from the dam above.

Well, it's back to cleaning for me!

.... Just another day ....

Monday 26 March 2007

The Gardeners Have Arrived

Yesterday Rafi G posted a small paragraph in his post about a web site promoting cows to be bought as house pets instead of dogs. It made me laugh as when we first moved here to our country house which is surrounded by paddocks full of cows, fresh from the city, Aaron was sitting outside one night in the dark having a cigarette (he has since given up smoking) when he asked me to turn the outside light on - 'I think we have cows in our backyard' he whispered. 'Don't be so ridiculous' I scoffed. After his persistence I went inside and turned on the outside flood light. Yep, he was right we had cows in our yard... not 1 or 2 cows but about 12 huge black cows! The all just stood there and looked at us wondering what we were going to do, they were really on edge - ready to freak out at any second and start running around in a mad panic.

We quietly slipped back inside to phone the farmer to ask him to come and get his cows ( remember it was in the middle of the night) - they couldn't stay in our yard, they were really skittish and that side of the house is mainly large glass windows - I was having visions of them freaking out and running through our sun-room!

Anyway, the farmer came over, asked us how they got in our yard - like as if we knew!! He calmly herded them back to the paddock.

That was about 4 years ago, it really hasn't happened since.... until this morning. When I got up to get the girls ready for school, we had cows in our yard, which I thought was quite strange since I had just read Rafi's article yesterday and since we haven't had cows in our yard for 4 years. The difference between 4 years ago and now is that we look at it a little bit differently - before we would have wanted them out as soon as possible, now, let them stay - they are good lawn mowers!! I wouldn't want them here all the time though!

Above: Ruby watching the cows in our yard.

Above: The cows in our yard this morning were only babies - but big anyway!

.... Just another day ....

Friday 23 March 2007

Mr Bagel Returns To Blogging!!

Over the past week I have received a number of emails from people hoping Aaron, aka Mr Bagel, would come back to blogging. Yesterday when I came back online, I had quite a few comments left to the same effect...
'Is he coming back?'..... 'How's the BagelBlogger doing? Any chance we'll see him back in the blogsphere soon?' ..... 'Tell your husband he should come back..' ..... 'I miss bagels :(' , and so on.

Well, Mr Bagel has had a very busy week rebuilding his blog from scratch! Trust me, I know, I spent many nights searching Google for old cached copies of his posts and re posting them on his new blog to help out. I managed to save about 130 of his 660 posts, so there are still alot of older ones missing, but still, he is back and blogging and that is a great thing.

As Aussie Dave said yesterday, Aaron's blog is not like the average pro-Israel blog, he has a very distinctive style, which I think can be effective.

Check out his newly rebuilt blog he has only just come back online today.

.... Just another day ....

Thursday 22 March 2007

Conspicuous Hiding

The girls have been playing hide and seek a lot recently - which we have encouraged as it is really good for Amber and Ruby with learning how to count. The house we live in is built on 3 levels, we have the large downstairs office/computer room where my husband and I work, the middle level is the kitchen, lounge, playroom and kids bedrooms and then there is upstairs which is our bedroom.

Basically, when the kids play hide and seek they can hide anywhere in the house - behind curtains, under beds behind couches, you get the drift.
The other day after school, the girls were playing. Ruby was counting, Jade and Amber were hiding. Jade decided to hide downstairs... below is a photo of her 'hiding' behind the curtain....

Would anyone like to guess how long it took Ruby to find her!?!

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday 21 March 2007

Lost Memories

I'm back!
To set the record straight, yes, I did delete my blog. Sounds silly right? Well at the time I was very upset about the vicious attack on my husbands character from many in the Jblogosphere in the past 2 weeks and after several rather nasty comments left on my blog, I felt that I didn't ever want to blog again.
Well, I changed my mind - I guess it's lucky I have been brought up to be such a strong character! After spending the best part of this week searching, I have been lucky enough to save some of my past posts which I came across cached versions of on google. Infact it was not blogging I missed or felt sad about, it was all the photos and posts I had written about my children, especially Amber's recent heart surgery. It was the memories I felt I had lost, I am not really fussed who does or doesn't read my blog - we all have our own reasons for why we blog, but that's not what I blog for.

Thankyou to those who have emailed over the past week and to the people who I haven't replied to, I am sorry, I just haven't had a chance.

.... Just another day ....

Wednesday 14 March 2007

Tropical Breeze

There's not much going on in my part of the world at the moment worth blogging about. The past few days have been truly beautiful outside with the bright warm sun and gentle breeze - not too hot and not too cold... just right. Far to nice to be spending the days inside working in front of my computer, that is for sure. But, work is work and it has to be done.

Anyway, I took the above photos of one of our many palm trees here on the property yesterday while I was out wandering around in the yard with Ruby enjoying the sun for a few minutes.

.... Just another day ....

Monday 12 March 2007

Modern Mandelbrot

I recently started making Mandelbrot for Shabbat and it has been a real hit - the girls love it especially. This recipe makes quite a lot and I always find that even with 5 people in the house it last for a few days - and that is very unusual!!


1 cup unsalted pareve margarine or butter, softened
1 cup, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups choc chips
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


I use a kitchen mixer to make this recipe although it could be made without a mixer.

1. Preheat oven to 350F (about 180C)
2. Cream together margarin and 1 cup sugar.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
4. Add vanilla and orange juice, mix well.
5. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to margarine mix and mix well.
6. Add choc chips, coconut and almonds and mix in well.
7. Grease 3 bread pans, put the dough in them evenly and bake for 30 - 40 mins until done.
8. Cool and carefully cut into 1/2 inch slices.
9. Turn oven up to 400F (about 200C)
10. Arrange mandelbrot slices on a baking sheet. Mix the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar and sprinkle over the top.
11. Brown in oven for a few minutes until golden.

Should make about 36 cookies.

.... Just another day ....

Sunday 11 March 2007

JPix 3 Is Up Over At Me-Ander!

JPix 3 is up over at Me-Ander and boy has she done a great job! This edition is I guess kind of the 'mixed up' edition, Batya has been very clever and mixed up all the photos and links so you have to try to match the links to the photos - makes it very interesting indeed!

There are loads of beautiful photos and links to check out, the two photos above are just a tiny little taste of the photos you can see over at JPix 3 - this edition also has heaps of Purim photos too, which are great!

Anyway, pop over and have a look.

Great work Batya!

.... Just another day ....

Saturday 10 March 2007

Down To The Bus Stop - Slideshow

Aaron brought me a new digital camera last week, our old one was getting to be just a little to old and to slow - it was time to update. I have been giving it a bit of a workout since I got it and took a few photos on my way to pick up the girls from the school bus stop down the road the other day.

You can view the flickr slideshow here to see all 28 images. All photos are optimized for fast loading/viewing.

The trip starts off going down our VERY long, steep, drive way and shows some of the sights on the way to the bus stop. Then you will see Ruby in the car waiting at the bus stop for the bus to arrive, the bus arriving, sights back to home and finally heading back up the drive way.


.... Just another day ....

Wednesday 7 March 2007

3 Local Lives Lost

Keep in mind while reading this post that we live in a very small town of approx 300 people and the next 'bigger' town has approx 5000 people, for this reason and for the privacy of the families I will not mention specific names or locations.

Over the past two weeks we have lost 3 young lives in our area in seperate incidents. About two weeks ago on a warm summer evening, a 19 year old local man lost his life after jumping off the town's bridge into the water below. Young people often gather on the bridge during the warm summer months to have some fun jumping into the clear, deep, turquoise water below with their friends. Apparently this young fellow was doing somersaults from the highest peak of the bridge and landed on his face when he hit the water killing him instantly. Jumping off the bridge has been discouraged by local police for years, since the accident, the local council have now banned jumping off the bridge - so the police are now able to stop people and fine them rather than just warn them. It is a terrible shame that it has taken an accident of this magnitude for them to finally do something about it.

Our town bridge where the accident occured.

Only four days later an 18 year old man was killed in a horrific head on car accident with a full milk tanker. The roads around town are quite steep and winding. The last time I travelled along that particular stretch of road where this accident happened we had a car coming from the other direction cross the double lines onto our side of the road too, thankfully we didn't have an accident. As you can see from the photo below, the 18 year old man had no chance.

The most shocking to me personally, was yesterday when Jade brought home the weekly school newsletter. The newsletter announced the death of our former local policeman. This came as a huge shock to my husband and I. Jade was best friends with his daughter during kinder and year 1 before they moved out of town and their kids to a different school. Last march the policeman had some sort of virus which caused him to have a small heart attack. By June he thought he was fully recovered, the family were moving to a new town as he had taken a position at another police station.
Jade was devestated that her friend was moving away - her friend was just as devestated to be moving away and was crying at school because she didn't want to leave. Since they moved away last June, Jade and her friend have spoken a few times on the phone - except we haven't heard from her friend for the past couple of months. Only last week I was wondering why she hasn't phoned Jade... well now I know.
In Spetember last year her father the policeman discovered he still had the virus in his body. There are many details I am unaware of but he was put into the intensive care unit in need of a heart and kidney transplant because of this virus. He waited 6 months for a transplant and spent the last 5 weeks in a medically induced coma.
Last Friday, he finally got his transplant... on Saturday due to complications from the surgery he passed away. He had only just turned 38 years old.

Even as I type this right now, I just cannot believe it, he wasn't someone I knew well by any means, but our girls played together and spent time at each others house. In the times that I saw him he appeared to be fit and healthy. I sit here trying to think of words to express how I feel but I still can't full comprehend that it has happened. I feel incredible sadness for his wife, but the thing that I find most difficult to deal with is that his 3 children who are only 6, 7 and 12 years old have now lost their Dad.

Life is to short, we need to make the most of the time we have.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

More Big Trips & Other Things

Above: Amber having a big sleep after our big trip to the cardiologist

I know it has been a while - well a whole week actually, since my last post. I know a few of you have emailed wondering where I am and if everything is alright.... Well, the answer is yes, everything is alright, it is just that I haven't had anything worth blogging about lately. I know there are plenty of things going on in the world to talk about, but, even the thought of blogging has been making my head hurt. Some things happened last week that I have not been feeling so good about. I had some trouble with my car and had to spend just about all the money I had saved to move on my car to get it fixed. Where we live - being so remote, you rely on having a good reliable car so much. So, I have been feeling pretty down about spending our savings on my car, but I just have to move on and just start saving again.
I am not sure why, but I fell that I am kind of loosing interest in blogging at the moment... maybe it is just because I am to busy, I don't know. I didn't even get time to put up a post for Purim, which was kind of dissappointing.

Last week we had to drive half way to Sydney for a cardiologist appointment for Amber. It has been just over 2 months since her heart surgery now. When we went back to Sydney in January for her first check up, we were told that the 'repair' to her heart they had done looked really good, but she had fluid in the sack around her heart that had not been there when she left hospital after her surgery. I didn't blog about it at the time as I found it to stressful to even think about. We were told that if the fluid got worse she would have to have more surgery to drain the fluid away. So over the past 6 weeks we have been hoping that we would not see any of the signs of the fluid causing problems - which we didn't.
At the check up last week, we were told that the fluid has now gone - wonderful news! We were also told that all 4 of the medications she has been on since the surgery should be stopped by July - more great news. She will then go onto just a small dose of asprin each day. She has to go back for another check up in May.

I have a few more posts lined up ready to blog so hopefully my posts will be more regular again!

.... Just another day ....

My Visual DNA

I know a few people have already done this, but I thought it was pretty cool and looked like fun when I saw it on A Bisele Babka so I decided to do one too.

BTW, if you haven't seen Jack's, then you should... apparently his tells us he is a bit of a wild cat... hmmm and I always thought he was just a big pussy cat ;)

.... Just another day ....