Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Port Vila - Day Three

No more photos I'm afraid. Carrying Lily and our stuff (towels, water, hats, swimmers, snack, wallet, phone...) is quite enough without having a DSLR to worry about. I should have packed the compact camera, but I didn't think of it. We have been having a lovely time though - lots of swimming, playing in playgrounds, exploring the town, seeking out edible food and gazing at the beautiful harbour full of clear water, boats and fish.

At home we had been having trouble getting Lily's bedtime to anything resembling a reasonable hour. Despite rising before 6am, she has been wide awake until well after 8pm - sometimes as late as 9:30 or 10pm. Interestingly though she has been sleeping in for longer here and crashing quite early. She was out like a light at 6pm tonight. I think that she is just completely worn out from all of the activity of our days.

This morning we took the ferry across to a small Island opposite our hotel and found a little beach to play on. Lily and I sat in the shallow water looking at all the shells and sunbleached coral around us. Every now and then Lily would declare that a piece of coral was a particular animal. There were lots of zebras in the water with us. In the afternoon we went back across to the island to play in the swimming pool and children's playground. Lily was having so much fun that we decided to get P to meet us over there for dinner rather than coming back. Unfortunately the 'Pad Thai' that I had been looking forward to was tiny and missing most of its ingredients... but it was still a lovely day. (Asia is certainly a more vegetarian-friendly place than the Pacific.)

Tomorrow I think that we will go and check out the Lagoon on the other side of the Island. I'll take the camera this time.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Veg*n Meal Plan Monday

Well this week's meal plan is going to be a bit odd since we are actually staying in a hotel room in Vanuatu and, thus, cannot cook for ourselves. However, I'll give it a go...


Breakfast: A selection from the breakfast buffet. Most probably bran flakes, mixed nuts, fruit compote & soy milk, followed by vegemite toast and a coffee.

Lunch: A baguette filled with salad and, hopefully, some avocado (if we can find some) and some fresh fruit.

Dinner: A veganised version of whatever vegetarian option is available on the menu of local restaurants. Last night it was risotto. Having looked around a little I am predicting that cheeseless pizza and bean burritos will also feature...

OK, over to you. Did you make a meal plan this week?

Port Villa - Day One

Friday, 26 September 2008

A holiday wardrobe

If only my packing was as simple...

Congratulations Grandpa

Some people in your family you will never live up to, but they will always serve as a wonderful source of inspiration.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Times Online

If I'd known that I was going to be quoted in the Times Online I would have put a little more thought into what I wrote...

Ah well, life's like that sometimes.

Nursery Rhymes

Recently Lily has started to practice reciting nursery rhymes. She will do them over and over again (even, to my slight annoyance, in the wee hours of the morning) adding new words ever now and then as she remembers them. Here are some of the renditions that we have been hearing lately.

Hey Diddle
Cat fiddle
Cow jumped over the moon
Little dog
such fun
Dish ran away

Ring a roses
All fall down

Cows sleeping
Up jump
SCARECROW (this part is always shouted)

She is also into practicing her counting. Generally this consists of:
1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10.
Sometimes 6 and 8 also get a look in.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

On my desk...

On my desk this morning is (yet another!) mostly finished dress for Lily - awaiting buttons (blue or orange do you think?) - and the beginnings of a "mamma bear" from the Softies book (which I am making at Lily's very specific request).

More on my desk players here.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Black bean burgers

Well you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Despite my little reminder to myself I forgot to soak the white beans last night and so we had to rejig the meal plan a little. Since we could only find canned black beans at the supermarket, I was able to just skip ahead a day and make black bean burgers for dinner instead (recipe on page 98 of Veganomicon). Nothing too drastic.

We served them with coriander guacamole, tomatoes, mushrooms and rocket on a sesame bagel and they were really quite yummy.

Lily, however, was not such a fan. So she had a very large bowl of guacamole and corn thins instead.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Veg*n Meal Plan Monday

This week P and I thought that we would go back to planning our meals for the week again. It always made meal times and shopping so much easier, as well as meaning that we ate better and had less waste at the end of the week.

Having seen the idea of Meal Plan Monday for the first time at HPP last week, I was going to join in this week over at Organising Junkie. But the thing is, while I think that it is a great idea, I didn't find the list of over 300 meal plans very helpful for me because I had no idea which ones were full of meat (and, thus, not particularly inspiring for our household).

AND SO... I thought that I might try to start a new list over here just for veg*n (vegetarian and vegan) meal plans. So if you have a veg*n meal plan for the week then please feel free to join in a leave a comment with a link below. If we end up with enough of us then I'll install a "Mister Linky" thingy to make it a little easier [or I'll get P - my IT department - to do it for me :)]. I'll also make sure to put up a Veg*n Meal Plan Monday post every week so that you can link in if you wish to. Here is a little 'button' that you can use if you like. I'll have my IT department (P) make it active in a couple of days so that it actually functions as a link (if you have any tips for him, please do share them with us).

Here is our meal plan for the week (including Sunday dinner, because we use the leftovers for lunch later in the week). I have also included our shopping lists too, because, well, I am like that.

I have tried to include lots of early spring vegetables (like yummy fresh asparagus, asian greens, broccoli and salad greens) in order to focus on local seasonal foods. You might also notice that our meal plan includes a lot of recipes from Veganomicon ('V'). That is because we only recently bought it and so this seemed like a great time to get organised and try a few of the recipes. I'll let you know what I think.

The Plan
Dinner: Moroccan tangine with spring vegetables and couscous (VwaV 178)
[This was absolutely delicious, by the way. I can highly recommend it.]

Lunch: Chili & Quinoa (leftovers)
Dinner: Salt & Pepper Tofu with Asian greens, asparagus, mushrooms & soba noodles
[NB: soak white beans for tomorrow]

Lunch: Tangine leftovers
Dinner: Rustic white beans and mushrooms with brown rice (V 120)
[NB: soak black beans for tomorrow]

Lunch: Quick fried rice
Dinner: Black bean burgers (V 98)

Lunch: Rustic white bean leftovers
Dinner: Broccoli-millet croquettes (V 51) with a tempeh salad

Lunch: Black bean burgers
Dinner: Friday night pizza

Shopping List
Food Co-op
red lentils; millet; bread flour; cinnamon sticks; quinoa; carrots (2); zucchini (2); english spinach; toilet paper

tomato paste; marinated artichokes; tempeh; soy milk; black beans

Farmer's Outlet

Monday: tofu; asparagus; asian greens; celery (1/2); small leek; fresh coriander; salad greens; mandarins; apples
Thursday: tomatoes (4); olives; mushrooms; salad greens; broccoli; basil (?)

The blog formerly known as...

Ah yes. So we decided to change our name and banner.

Clearly there are now more than two of us and so the old name and banner were getting a little unrepresentative...

For our new name we settled on in a garden... somewhere, because that is about as specific as we can get about where we want to end up in life. We'll probably update the URL and our labels at some point too, but that may take us a little while.

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Little Red Riding Hood

I also finished Maddie's birthday doll on Thursday evening and took advantage of Friday's sunshine to photograph it before wrapping it up ready for giving. I had to keep hiding it from poor Lily who seems to think that she has a natural right to anything that I have made (understandable really).

I am pretty happy with how it turned out, although I could have used a pattern for the hood...

Hopefully the birthday girl will like it. Poor Maddie is sick today and so her party had to be canceled.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Babushka Dress

Well I finished that dress yesterday and Lily wanted to "put on" immediately. It was evening by that time so I decided to leave the photo shoot for another day.

(Actually, as an aside, she saw a pile of fabric on my sewing table the other day and said "Mama sew Lily dress?". How adorable is that?)

Lucky for us we have been having an absolutely beautiful day and so Lily and I went out into the front garden so that I could do some (much needed) weeding and she could romp about in the wattle. I also took the opportunity to photograph her in her new dress. I really quite like it. It is such a simple pattern and so quick and easy to sew.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

On my desk...

On my desk this week is the beginnings of another little dress for Lily - this time from a Russian (Babushka) doll fabric (also from Kelani), and an almost-finished 'little red riding hood' doll for a gift for a cousin who turns two today. Happy Birthday Maddie!

I am planning to finish the doll (made using the inside a black apple pattern) with a little red felt hood to go with its 'little red riding hood' dress. I'll try to remember to photograph the finished product before the party on Saturday.

For more on my desk posts, see here.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Lily's 'people'

I was looking at our empty toilet paper rolls this afternoon (as you do) and thought that I should save them to use for some craft projects with Lily when she gets a little older. And then I thought: why not just do the craft now?

So, Lily and I made some 'people'. Lily's favourite role was gluing (the people and everything else in sight), but she also made big contributions to the drawing of their clothes and hair as well.

Afterwards Lily started playing with them and then said to me: "Picture. Papa." So I got out the camera to take a photo of her with her people. It was gorgeous seeing her "prepare" for the shoot.

Monday, 15 September 2008

18 months

Dear Lily

Yesterday you turned 18 months old. That's a year and a half - which is really quite something.

This last month has been filled with teething. You have been working very hard at cutting your molar teeth and it has not always been the most enjoyable process. This has made sleeping a little tricky and has seen you revert to having two sleeps a day fairly often - meaning that you have been missing quite a few of your usual activities.

However, despite this, this has also been a fun month. The weather has started to get a lot nicer, which has made it easier for us to take trips to the park, and to play outside on the deck & in the garden. Outside is nearly always better than inside in your book, so this has been a good thing. Outside is also better for making a mess, which has meant that we have been getting into finger painting and other messy craft activities.

This month you were a flower girl at your Uncle Jono and Aunty Natty's wedding. This was definitely the highlight of the month. First we spent a day at Grandma, Grandpa, Midnight and Freya's house - where you were able to (almost) get your fill of cuddles (from G&G), pats (for the cat) and kisses (from the dog). Then you got to put on your 'special dress' and be a momentary star during the wedding. And, finally, after a good sleep, you were able to party until you dropped at the reception. You are still talking happily about dancing with Uncle Jono and Aunty Natty.

The following morning we also got to spent some time with Grandma Meg and Grandma AMD. We had an enormous breakfast (well, actually, that was mostly just me) and then headed out to the playground and then to the beach. Your favourite thing to do on the beach is to chase the seagulls, but digging in the sand is also quite a hit.

As for new things this month, well this is getting harder and harder to list. I cannot keep up with your new words. You seem to come out with something new every moment and I am no longer surprised by what you know or can say. Some of your favourite expressions this month have been "A big cuddle" and "A nice cuddle" and, much to our delight, you have also really grasped the concept of "gentle", which usually means that you give us a soft little pat on the arm or head.

You have also started to get a bit more adventurous with your eating. By this I mean that you have started to request foods that we wouldn't generally offer you ourselves. You have yet to succeed in your (frequent) requests for a "coffee", but you have certainly started to enjoy soy milk froth... I guess it really isn't that bad - and it is pretty funny to watch you eat it.

Next month we are taking a little trip to Vanuatu. Papa will have to work while we are there, but you and I will have plenty of time to explore, play and swim - and we'll have plenty of time with papa in the evenings (and on the weekend). I think that it is going to be pretty fun!


Saturday, 13 September 2008

Little Red Riding Dress

Last night while P was making those yummy chocolatey cookies, I finished sewing Lily a dress. I didn't end up using the orange flowery material that I was planning to use because I didn't have quite enough of it...

However, due to a postal mix-up I ended up with some gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood material from Kelani Fabric Obsession (I bought some for my sister-in-law and it got lost, so the lovely Elissa sent me some more, and then the first lot made its way to our front porch and so I decided to buy it again...).

Isn't it cute?

It was so easy too. I plan to make a few more of these for Lily to wear on our trip to Vanuatu (and then through-out summer - which feels very close today with this beautiful weather!).

Chocolate-choc chip-walnut cookies

C and I had a contraband craving last night, but were sorely lacking in the right ingredients. We scoured our new favourite cookbook, Veganomicon, in the hope there'd be something sweet our bare baking cupboard would stretch to.

Sweet luck! we had (almost) all the ingredients for the chocolate-choc chip-walnut cookies.

We made them. As you can see.

They are most delicious. Thanks Isa and Terry!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A moment of peace

I woke up early this morning while Lily was still fast asleep wrapped in P's arms. So I got up for a nice warm shower and made myself some breakfast - porridge with soy milk, LSA, strawberries and green apple & a soy latte. Mmm.

Now I am sitting in the sun browsing the net in utter peace and quiet.

What a lovely way to start the day.

How did your day start? What did you have for breakfast?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

On my desk...

I'm taking part in 'On my desk Wednesday' for the first time today. So, um, here is my sewing table (which is often buried under all sorts of other things).

Today it is covered in the beginnings of a bunch of felt vegetables that I am making for Lily (and the wool felt that they are being made out of); the beginnings of a dress that I am making for Lily to wear in Vanuatu (where we are going in just 2&1/2 weeks!); my box of patterns; and my sewing machine etc.

For more "on my desks" see here.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A few more wedding photos

My brother and his lovely (now)wife were married over the weekend in Watson's Bay.

It was such a beautiful day. The setting was stunning. The ceremony was moving. The bride and groom looked wonderful and happy. The reception was tons of fun - especially the Jewish dancing that started things off with a bang. Lily had a ball being surrounded by family and stealing the spotlight whenever possible. And we ended the night in a gorgeous "luxury suite" on the harbour. Bliss.

Congratulations Jono & Nat. Thank you for a wonderful day. I hope that you are recovering well.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Clover girl

You'll be happy to know that Lily performed her first ever flower girl role with aplomb.

She was, however, much happier in the clover.

More wedding photos to come, I'd imagine. Congrats Jono and Nat.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Finger painting - a new Tuesday tradition?

Since the weather has been getting nicer outside, I decided that Lily and I needed to do some more messy crafty activities at home. So, last Tuesday I thought that we would try some finger painting. In order to do this I made some 'paint' from a mixture of corn flour, water and food colouring and set it up outside with a fair bit of paper.

Lily loved it. She was able to smear the 'paint' everywhere and the bright colours showed up on the paper without really staining anything else. Next thing I knew, Lily - creative genius that she is - decided that her painting needed to include more textures and set about gathering things from the deck to add to it. I was very impressed with the results and resolved to do this again and to try to provide her with some more 'natural additions' from the beginning.

Well, of course, I completely forgot about it until this morning when Lily started asking for "Painting: finger painting."

OK, I thought, and made her some more paint (my first attempt was rather lumpy because I didn't mix the corn flour with cold water before adding the boiling water - because I I have a bad habit of rushing ahead of instructions). I set it up outside again and gathered a little bowl full of leaves, berries and flowers and stood back.

Life doesn't always turn out how you plan does it?

The next thing I knew Lily had broken into her sandpit and was busily tipping handfuls of sand on to her paper and into the 'paint'. Then she went on her own nature gathering mission and 'collected' dirt and dry leaves from nearby pot plants to add to her mix (smearing paint around the deck as she went). The collage that I had envisaged didn't exactly eventuate, but Lily had fun and that was the whole point really...

I am not sure what I will bring out next Tuesday.


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