16 July 2013

My Winter Garden

Where I live, winter is quite mild. Cool nights and warmer days. As much as I would prefer a much colder climate with real obvious seasonal changes, such as snow, I am grateful that I live where I do and that my garden has bursts of colour all year round. Here is a peak at what my winter garden is looking like right now.

I hope you are enjoying whatever season you are currently in and finding bursts of colour in your surroundings.

Joanne  xx

6 June 2013

A winter favourite.

This, in my humble opinion, is the best pea and ham soup recipe ever. My husband doesn't usually like pea and ham soup but this one he does. I cook it in my slow cooker and over the day, as it is cooking, my house smells delicious. It has become a favourite in our home and maybe it will become a favourite in yours too.

Slow Cooked Pea and Ham Soup.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sticks celery, diced
300g sebago potatoes, peeled and diced
650g ham hock
1 cup green split peas, washed and rinsed
3 cups chicken stock
1 dried bay leaf
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
bread to serve

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, stirring for 3 mins or until softened.
2. Add garlic, celery and potatoes, cook stirring for 3 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. I don't add celery as my husband is not a fan. It still tastes yummy without it.
3. Add ham hock, peas, stock, bay leaf and 1 litre of cold water. Season with pepper.
4. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
5. Remove hock from the soup. Remove and discard bone (our dog loves when I cook this). Shad ham and return to soup. Cook on low for 1 hour or until ham and peas are tender. Serve with parsley and bread of your choice.

This recipe serves 4 so I usually double everything and we end up with leftovers.


Joanne.  xx

20 May 2013

Today I am............

~ enjoying  the warm sun. Winter is on its way here. We've had some chilly nights and my house takes a bit of warming up in the mornings. However the sun is out and so I have found myself a warm, sunny spot that is out of the breeze.

~ reminiscening about our weekend. Our local country show has been on and we have been spending a fair bit of time there the past few days. We invited some city friends to join us which was nice for us all.

~ looking forward to June. Exams will be done, numerous birthdays to be celebrated, special local events to attend,  exploration of the scrapbook/papercraft expo with my daughter,  school holidays begin, a trip away and a new longed-for special gift will arrive. And of course winter officially begins. I LOVE June.

~ hearing a delightful song from the magpies. Brings memories of childhood and I like that very much.

~ grateful for my health, my husband's health and our children's health. So grateful.

happy that I have had a bit of creative time this past week. Making some simple cards has been therapeutic and soothing to my soul.

~ drinking a hot cup of tea. After not being able to drink hot liquids for a few months it is wonderful to enjoy a very hot cuppa without pain or discomfort. So good.

~ baking apple and cinnamon muffins to fill the tummy's of hungry children this afternoon.

writing a list of clothes my teenage sons are needing. Both are growing before our eyes. As the cooler weather has arrived the winter clothing comes out and alas we discover how much they have grown since our trip to Tasmania just 4 short months ago. A shopping trip is on the agenda this weekend.

~ dreaming about our next big trip. Despite being 2 1/2 years away I can't help but be excited about it. I want to start planning now. I must admit I do like to take the occasional break from study to do some research about the places we want to visit.

finding joy in the simple things. The flowers in my garden, the sounds of the birds enjoying this delightful Autumn morning, the beauty of the clouds in the sky, the anticipation of the six of us all being together again at the end of today.

Wishing you a beautiful day wherever you are.......

Joanne  xx

9 May 2013

Fully Alive

I recently came across this poem and it spoke to me so powerfully that I wanted to share.   Love Jo xx.

Fully Alive

I will not die an unlived life

I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire

I choose to inhabit my days
to allow my living to open me
to make me less afraid
more accessible

to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing
a torch, a promise

I choose to risk my significance

to live so that which came
to me as a seed
goes to the next as blossom

and that which came
to me as blossom
goes on as fruit.

                                               ~ Dawna Markova.


6 May 2013


Can I just start by saying I can't do it all.
I know, shocking isn't it?
I am a woman after all.
Aren't we supposed to be able to do it all?

Well I don't know about anyone else but
I can't do it all.
I really can't.

Silly thing is
that even though I know this to be absolutely true
 I continue to try doing it all.

So silly.
So ridiculous.

Right now
I am in the mist of attaining a long held dream
of becoming a Registered Nurse.
I have been studying parttime  for several years
and very soon I will have finished my studies.
I will be absolutely thrilled to realise this dream.

However for the past 2 years an new dream has been emerging.
 A beautiful and cherished dream.
Unfortunately this has been a little distracting.
I endeavoured to try to fit them both in but guess what?
They don't both fit.

Who was I kidding??
Wife, mother of 4, uni student and
new emerging dream.

Hmm, not very realistic.
Not doable for me right now.
 And that is OK.

 I made the decision earlier this year to put the new dream on hold. 
Just for a little bit.
Not for long.
Not for forever.

This new dream is too special to put aside for long.
It is definitely a part of my future. 

So here I am
 on the cusp of one dream coming to fruition
 and another waiting in the wings ready to emerge.
Exciting really.
I feel blessed to have both.

So while I complete one dream I may not be here quite so much.

I want to spend my spare moments
with myself (and my family of course).

I want to create for no reason other than to create.

I want to write for me and no one else's eyes.

I want to continue to capture life and create art
with my photos and stories
 for our families eyes.

I may pop in from time to time but just not regularly.
After my time away
I want to return
 ready to share my new dream
 and ready to take you along with me for the ride.

                                                                                   Much love to you,

                                                                                                                   Joanne xx

15 March 2013

A week in review

~  delighted in plenty of creativity with my 2 youngest kids.  Scrapbooking was my favourite this week.

~  made up matresses on the floor for sleepovers. All the kids have their own rooms but often on weekends Sarah and Tim like to sleep over together. So cute.

~ loved watching Sarah cooking pikelets for us all to enjoy. They were delicious.

~ lovely day relaxing when nanny came to visit. Lunch, chats and puzzles made it a great time by all.

~  enjoyed our trip to one of our favourite parks. Queens Park not only has a fantastic play ground but an small animal sanctuary as well. This is a must do every time we go, especially for our animal loving 8 yr old.

~  witnessed an amazing and exciting cricket grand final win. After a draw the teams played a super over, which lead to another draw. So another super over was played and finally our team won. Great atmosphere.
And of course we had to celebrate by having a yummy dinner with 2 other families at the tavern. I think the boys might have enjoyed discussing their vistory around the table even more than the yummy food we had.

~  spoilt with a yummy, colourful  meal made by my husband. Love his stir frys.

~  receiving a flower left for me on the dash board of the car by my 14 yr old. Love his thoughfulness.

~  met reality TV stars from a renovating show here in Australia. We went to our local hardware store and enjoyed some social time.

~  watching my son practice his cricket in the back yard. He had the idea to hang a cricket ball from a tree and asked Dad to help hang it. He gets ready for school super fast then outside he goes to work on his batting. Such discipline and dedication.

~  had surgery. Removal of 4 wisdom teeth whilst fast asleep. Haven't had surgery since I was 12 so I was a tiny bit nervous. I think being a nurse and knowing too much doesn't help with nerves. But it went well and now I am relishing this time of rest and recuperation. Time to read, sleep and watch art videos. Ahh bliss.



8 March 2013

Scrapbook revival.

I have been a bit slack in the scrapbooking department over recent years.
 Not as much time,
lack of motivation
wanting to spend time in other creative pursuits
are some of the reasons scrapbooking has taken a backseat.

I still love photos and stories
most of my photos are printed and in albums.
 They just lack the embellishments and creative touch.

The red albums are part of our family photo collection, the blue albums are my 3 sons
and the pink albums are my daughter's.
I could leave it this way forever.
I know that.
I have the pictures printed and in albums chronologically (and per person) for us to enjoy.
I have the memorabilia organised in boxes for anyone to look through and reminisce.
 I have the stories written in pages of journals, notebooks and even on scraps of paper
so I don't forget the details.

But I want them all togther,
in a scrapbook.
In multiple scrapbooks.
 I want creative scrapbooks not just photo albums.
Over the summer I considered how I could go about fitting more scrapbooking into my life.
How could I get the results I am wanting without putting in endless hours?
In the past it wasn't uncommon for me to take many hours to complete just 1 scrapbook layout.
It is not realistic or doable for me to spend hours scrapbooking anymore.
I needed a way to scrapbook that was simple, fun, enjoyable, creative and quick with no pressures.

Over the years I have followed Becky Higgins who is a scrapbooking icon.
 In recent years she developed a new way to scrapbook that made it simpler and more efficient to get photos and stories
into scrapbooks quickly with a creative touch.
Her system is explained here.
It is her system that I have decided to use to make scrapbooking fun and achievable for my life.

First projects are my  kids baby scrapbooks.

 Over the 14 years I have been a mother I have completed a few pages of each child's first year.
 I just don't have a complete year for any of my four children.
I have the photos,
the stories
and the memorabilia
all organised.
 But just not all in a completed album.

Well times are changing.
I started with my daughters first year.

I made the decision not to buy the baby kit that Becky Higgins designed as I wanted to make my own.
I wanted the scrapbook to be unique and one of a kind.

I am happy to announce my daughter's first year scrapbook is now 85% complete.
I just have to finish the title page, add the journalling and I am done.
This took only part of 1 weekend and a few extra hours over this past week.

I think I am still in shock as to how quickly it all came togther.
Obviously the fact that I already had the photos printed and in chronological order helped.
And having all the supplies I needed to custom make my embellishments was an advantage too.
But it was still a much quicker process than anything I have ever done in the scrapbooking world before.

I imagine if you used the designed kits that Becky Higgins has for sale
it would be an even quicker process.

Despite my happiness at the speed at which this project was done
more than anything I am happy because
 watching Sarah enjoy her album was amazing and rewarding.
She had fun and I am sure she felt special and loved.

A very satisfying project indeed.

Sarah enjoying her scrapbook.

Sarah showing her Dad her new 'almost' completed baby scrapbook.


1 March 2013

In the studio

Here is what I have been working on in the studio over the past few weeks. With a rain-filled weekend predicted here I am hoping to spend some time in the studio to finish them off.  


27 February 2013

Creating together.

One of my very favourite things to do is create with my kids.
 It really does bring me a lot of joy.

 Recently I came across a tutorial here that taught how to crochet a simple garland.
Apparently it was very simple and anyone could do it.

As I have never crochet in my life I was a little sceptical.
However, because it looked so simple and pretty I decided to give it a go.

My daughter loves to create so I thought we could learn together.

We bought our supplies (wool and crochet needles)
and after school yesterday we sat down,
watched the tutorial and set out making our first crochet garland.

And I am so glad we did.
It was simple, fun
and relaxing.

It was a bit tricky at first but once we got the hang of it we became addicted.

An hour later Sarah was competing with me
as to who could make
the longest garland.

She won.

But only because I was distracted when Steve arrived home. ;)

What made the whole experience special was 3 fold.

We learnt a new skill,
we were learning
we had fun, together.


P.S. My 8 yr old son loves the garlands we are making and said he would like one. When I offered to teach him he declined politely and asked me to make him a navy blue one. I reckon I can do that. :)

26 February 2013

Procrastination is overrated.

'If you never ask 
you may never know
If you never stretch
you may never grow
If you never take action
you may never go'
~ Jennifer Gayle.

Wise words and ones I often hear myself telling my kids. But do I model it for them?
If I was honest with myself the answer is
but not often enough.

For those of you who know the enneagram you will understand when I say I am a 9.
A 9 who finds it very easy to procrastinate.
Instead of doing what I really need to do,
I will do little, less important, things.
I also like to have structure and routine otherwise nothing gets done.
Once I get going it is easy for me to keep going,
but there are times (and sometimes a lot of times)
when I have a hard time getting started.
Unfortunately I can become very critical of myself when I procrastinate
which in turn leads to anxiety and more unproductive time.
A couple of good books teaching on the Enneagram.

Right now my life is very, VERY full.
Busy and full.
And this is not likely to change for some time.
There is certainly no room for procrastination.
No room for unproductive time.
No room for me to get anxious, overwhelmed and worn out.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining.
I choose to include all that makes my world full.  
I love being a mum and all that goes with that.
I want to be a nurse and so I chose to finish my degree (albeit slowly).
I desire to create and travel this new creative life.

My question is how do I work with my weaknesses (ie: procrastination, etc.)
and do all that I need to do and desire to do?

After a lovely chat and catch up with Steve late last night I could see some answers.

I can ask.
Whether for help, assistance, a cuddle or a chat.

I can stretch myself.
Letting go of fear and anxiety.
Giving myself small achieveable goals which lead me further down the path I have choosen.

 I can take action.
I can work on being more disciplined, organised and balanced.
Be intentional about what I say yes and no too.

And most importantly
interspersed amongst everything else.
I can stop being so hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

I am OK.
I am loved.
I am cherished.

And so are each of you.  xx