Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wibbly Wobbly Walking Tiny Teddy Bear

My recent post What Christmas Means For Our Family, only written a couple of days ago tells of Rupert learning to walk and, taking odd steps unassisted here and there. 
Well yesterday the little guy walked! Not just 1 or 2 steps but he was walking short distances across the lounge room unassisted. Matty and I were very excited to watch Rupert wobble along on his own two feet. I was so excited that even after we put him down for bed, I wanted to wake him to experience the thrill all over again. 
This morning I was concerned he may have forgotten his triumph of the night before but it was not so, much to my joy. So here we have a [nearly] 10 mo (who looks more like a 6mo, hence why I refer to him as our 'tiny teddy bear') wobbling around the home.

Now, an update on the Christmas baking which I am having oh so much fun with!
Earlier this week I made my first Christmas Cake and it does look great but... I don't eat fruit cake and I can't stand the smell of it! I figured I needed to do it once in my life, and well, hubby can spend the next 6 months getting through it.
It's not particularly Christmas-sy but it did taste great so I'll give it a mention. On Monday I made a Chocolate Walnut slice in my new Tupperware silicone form and it tasted GREAT! I've never really been into making slices as they seem to be somewhat fiddly when moving from the tin to the container. With the silicone form I don't even have to cut the slice prior to moving it! I thought it was great. 
On Wednesday I spent the afternoon with my 2 sister in-laws decorating gingerbread houses and a gingerbread train. I felt like I was cheating myself a little as I have previously made and shaped the gingerbread from scratch but, this year I was not in the mood for 'complicated' and really only wanted to participate in the decorating side of things. We bought the gingerbread house and train kits from Coles and... well... they don't taste nearly as good as our homemade gingerbread but, they did look FABULOUS! 

To talk about something that does taste great would be to tell you that today I have made the first Pavlova for the year. Its actually still in the oven but looks to be doing great and the batter tasted amazing. I love making pavs and it was something I did a bit of when growing up in NSW. However, since living in Darwin I only ever make a pav at Christmas time (whats Christmas without a pav?). The humid weather here in Darwin is too often the cause of many flopped or flat pavlovas. Last year I made 2 successfully which I believe was the result of trying a different recipe, and maybe not cooking on an extremely warm and humid day. If you get the pavlova blues then maybe give this recipe a go. 

Marshmallow Pavlova

Taken from Women's Weekly Classic Cooking cookbook.

4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp white vinegar
300 ml thickened cream, whipped
Fruit for topping

1 Preheat oven to 120c/100c fan-forced. Line oven tray with foil; grease foil, dust with cornflour, shake away excess. Mark 18cm-circle on foil
2 Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form; gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves, Add extract and vinegar; beat until combined. 
3 Spread meringue into circle on foil, building up at the side to 8 cm in height. Smooth side and top of pavlova gently. Using spatula blade, mark decorative grooves around side of pavlova; smooth top again.
4 Bake pavlova about 1 1/2 hrs. Turn oven off; cool pavlova in oven with door ajar.

5 Cut around top edge of pavlova (the crisp meringue top will fall on top of the marshmallow centre . Serve pavlova topped with whipped cream, and desired fruit.

1 of 2 last years pav using the recipes 'marshmallow' design. Excuse the over-whipped cream!
2 of 2 last years pav, using my usual traditional design.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Christmas Means for Our Family

I am finally back again with another post!
Life has felt somewhat busy with this and that and the little things we call 'living life'. And although tiresome its also a nice feeling to be experiencing a full life.

Christmas time generally is a busy time of year but I'm determined to never make it a stressful time. 
This year is Rupert's first Christmas and it comes with a lot of thought on how we, as a family, are going to celebrate it. For a period of five years when I was growing up we didn't have Christmas, not only because of the pagan roots but mainly because it was a financial strain on my mother. However, we never went without and as we needed things those needs were met and, when mum felt it on her heart to give us a gift she did so without waiting till December 25th. 
My lovely gingerbread house made today.
I do love the pre Christmas festivities though and, I do believe we can celebrate with the true meaning of Christ. We have a small Christmas tree and we buy gifts for family but it'll never be an event that causes financial stress. I also don't like to buy 'just because' but it is nice to 'give' so, I always try to look for gifts that the receiver will either like or find useful. For friends I like to send out greeting cards as a reminder that they are special to our family and also thought of by us. I generally only buy gifts for friends if I feel God is leading me to buy something in particular for them (and this shouldn't be something that only applies to Christmas day). But as Christmas for us is primarily a time for giving I still like to give and that is why I buy "Gifts of Compassion" from Compassion Australia. Basically, we donate say  for example $15 for a family overseas to have a pair of chickens and we in return receive a card to give to someone which represents that, our gift to them was a gift to help someone in need. 
I also love participating in the Operation Christmas Child cause and, it's a great project for the children to participate in and to become aware of other boys and girls living in poverty abroad. We would like Rupert to grow up knowing he is very blessed and that he too can bless others in need. Christmas is not a time of year where our children will be overindulged and bribed to be good. It will be a time to reflect on what God has blessed us with and a time to bless others. Having said all that we will be buying minimal gifts for our children and we have contemplated to what extent we'll do this. 
Earlier this year when Target had a huge toy sale I bought a Fisher Price walker for $50, and this will be our gift to Rupert this Christmas. 
Then there's Santa Clause. Hmmm tough one. We don't have a huge issue with Santa so long as we teach our children that Christmas isn't all about Santa but it's about Christ and, we'll teach Rupert the story of St. Nicholas. We'll let Rupert believe in Santa but we won't lie to him either and we'll make sure that Christmas isn't all about Santa bringing him many gifts. 

Anyway enough of the Christmas talk, just thought I'd share our thoughts and plans. It's something that hasn't been given much thought until now and since having children. 

Onto an update on our precious Rupert bear! Rupert is a very active 9mo and has began taking his first steps walking unassisted. It hasn't been consistent but I'm sure it will become second nature any day now. It's very exciting!
I'm now almost 21 weeks pregnant with our new wee bub and that too is very exciting. We visited our obstetrician  on Friday and although bub is healthy and developing well it is very small. This wasn't any surprise as I was looking very small and hardly pregnant (not so this last week) but will Lord willing be of no concern for the rest of pregnancy. 

Matty has been very busy with work which included a week away in Melbourne. He is looking forward to the Christmas break where he'll have nearly 3 weeks off work. 

And... I'm going to sign off now!

love love love xxx


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Still Alive and Kicking!

Hi there readers, 

It has been quite some time since my last post but, life just seemed to progress quicker then I could document it! So I am here to update you all. 

Over the past few months I have been feeling very tired and unwell but its a good kind of sick... it's a precious new baby on the way! Whilst my Julie and Julia Challenge has been put on the back burner I have been baking a new bun in the oven, who will be gracing us with his or her presence in April 2013. Although it is very exciting news it has also been a little hard with the morning (more like all day) sickness. I don't recall feeling so sick for so long with Rupert as I am already 16 weeks and still feeling very sick. Then again my [early] pregnancy with Rupert was very different to this little one. We've had our first scan and all is doing very well. 

Rupert is also doing just fabulously at nearly 9 months old! He's a tiny little guy but sleeps beautifully, has tooth #7 on its way through, standing unassisted and even walking by himself with the assistance of his wooden wagon. He can say dad, dadda and a lot of other jibba jabba. I don't think the word mummy is going to happen anytime soon but I'm okay with that because I know that once he starts, he will surely wear it out! 
I was really hoping to breastfeed Rupert until he was 12 months old but as my pregnancy progresses I have decided now is the right time to start weaning. It may also give my body just a tad bit more energy. Oh and I will be glad to NOT being bitten by a mouth of little teeth anymore hehe. 
Rupert refused the formula in a bottle so I tried it in the sippy cup and although it took a bit of time and fussing he did eventually finish most of the milk. If you have any weaning tips I would LOVE your advice. 

Matty is doing well and working hard to bring home the bacon as usual. Nothing new here really. 

In late October we traveled to Sydney for the weekend of my mum's wedding and also her 60th birthday. It was lovely to see all the family again and to catch up with some dear friends. We will be back in Sydney over Christmas before flying home via Adelaide for the New Year. It too will be a great trip for hanging with family, chatting with friends, a visit to the zoo and other random holiday activities.

Anyway time to tend to other things. I hope to post again soon


Monday, September 10, 2012

On The Menu This Week

Here is my meal plan for the week and I'm very excited to be cooking 4 recipes from my Retro Cookbook. Last night I came down with the dreaded flu so I'm praying my week will be smooth and I have the strength to carry on BAU. I have a few Bible College assignments to complete and a double bed patchwork quilt to finish for a birthday next month. So, hopefully amongst house duties, assignments, sewing, cooking, parties, Ruperts play dates and mothers groups, I can find the time to post about the recipes I have so far cooked from my challenge. 
Life since motherhood has become incredibly full and our social calendar far outweighs that of our life before precious Rupert. It's such a blessing to be able to mingle and meet with other mothers and talk all things house and baby from teething troubles to sagging boobs! 

Anyway it's time to carry on with my day, till next time. X

On the Menu

Monday: Baby Rocket Quiche Recipe #3 My Julia & Julia Challenge

Tuesday: Chicken Leek and Mushroom pies Recipe #4 My Julie & Julia Challenge

Wednesday: Lamb Shank and Vegetable Soup Recipe #5 My Julia & Julia Challenge

Thursday: Mixed Mushroom Stroganoff  Recipe #6 My Julie & Julia Challenge

Friday: Homemade Pizza


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Week of Leftovers!

After two weeks of cooking I have now come to week three with a freezer full of leftovers! I will not be cooking this week unless its toasted sandwiches or something of the like so, therefore I will not be posting a meal plan for this week. And the best part is that I won't have to do a very big grocery shop and, will only be buying the essentials. Have a great week readers!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cake Anyone?

Today I thought I'd try out a recipe posted by "The Everyday Blessings". It was for an Apple and Sultana Cake which after looking at the list of ingredients, I realised I didn't have all that was required. So, I customized it a little and came up with an Apple and Walnut Cake!

I left out the sultanas as I didn't have any and I'm not particularly a fan of them anyway. I didn't have any almonds left so I used walnuts instead and, I also added an extra half teaspoon of cinnamon. In place of wholemeal flour I used white, it was what was in the cupboard.
The recipe has been tried and tested and, I give it 5/5 aprons! Tasted very delicious and very quick and easy! Thanks Nadia for posting the recipe, I think I have a new favourite.
I have cooked two dinners from My Julie & Julia Challenge this week and I shall post about how they went on Sunday.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Challenge begins!

Last week was one of those weeks where the housework got the better of me! Clothes left in the washing machine, greasy baking dishes soaking for days and, our bed was not made once! 
Anyway, my meal plan worked a treat so here I am again to document this weeks meals. I Will be staring My Julie & Julia Challenge this week and have included two meals from the recipe book.

On the Menu

Monday: Shepherds Pie -  Recipe #1 Julie & Julia Challenge

Tuesday: Apricot Chicken - slow cooked

Wednesday: Baked Penne with Kumara and Spinach - Recipe #2 Julie & Julia Challenge

Thursday: Salami, Mushroom and Capsicum Pizza

Friday: Cabbage Soup - Frozen left overs


Sunday, August 19, 2012

On The Menu This Week

At late I have enjoyed reading meal plans of other bloggers, they have given me ideas and tips for my own meal planing.  
So, each Sunday I plan to post my meal plan for the week. And as I will be taking on my Julie & Julia Challenge starting September, you'll all be able to keep up to date with what I'll be cooking for the week. 

Every second week may be very similar to the first as we usually have a lot of leftovers. There are only two of us so I often get two dinners from one meal. On some weeks I may cook every night and freeze the leftovers which, means the following week I may not do much cooking at all. 

On The Menu

Monday: Cabbage Soup

Tuesday: Kangaroo Curry Mince Stew & Rice - slow cooked

Wednesday: Moroccan Lamb Shanks & Mashed Potato - slow cooked

Thursday: Marinated Chicken Wings & Potato Bake

Friday: Beef Stew - frozen leftovers 


Friday, August 17, 2012

1 Week, 4 Meals, 1 Slow Cooker

While I was still pregnant I bought a nice big slow cooker. I thought that it would be handy for the busy work days, particularly when I was feeling tired and unwell. It would also be handy after I had the baby however, I used it once [maybe twice]. That was until last week! 

Over this past week I have developed a new love for my slow cooker! The cooking is long but the effort required by me is quick and easy. At 10 am, whilst Rupert is still having his morning nap, I chop up and prepare the required foods and ingredients to put into the slow cooker. And BAM just like that I have extra time in my afternoon and evening to tend to other things. It really does take the rush and stress out of cooking. Each time I have cooked on low for 8 hours.

I have taken my friend Nadia's advice and tips and I have been very rewarded with most of the dishes cooked in the slow cooker. You can follow Nadia's blog "The Everyday Blessings" here. She posts her weekly meal plans as well as recipes and cooking tips.

Here is what I cooked in my slow cooker this week.

Thursday: Nadia's Beef Stew - The beef very tender but I did forget to add some gravy powder to thicken so it was a little soupy.

Monday: Kangaroo Stew - Again the meat was so tender and almost melted in your mouth. I served this with homemade bread.

Tuesday: Apricot Chicken - My favourite dish! And having slow cooked it made me even more in love with it! I used drumsticks as they were cheapest and, I also took the skin off. Served with white rice. 

Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognese - I found the mince to be somewhat dry, this may have been because I did not add enough water? I shall try again.

If you have some favourite slow cooked recipes you'd like to share than please feel free to! I'm up for trying anything.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Julie & Julia Challenge

Usually we make time for the things we love to do however, it was time that let me love the thing I hated most. Cooking. Not being at work and having more time at home has made a huge difference to my cooking skills, and I am loving it!

I recently watched the movie titled "Julie & Julia" and what a fantastic movie it was! I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very inspired to take on my own cooking challenge. If you haven't seen the movie, its about a woman (Julie) who decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Its 525 recipes in 365 days, and she writes a blog of her progress along the way.

So I've decided that I will embark on a cookbook challenge of my own, starting September. I will be cooking from AWW The Retro Cookbook cover to cover. It is a lovely cookbook that was a Christmas gift from my sister in-law Kathleen. It contains 160 recipes that range from the original 1950's AWW (Australian Woman's Weekly) cookbooks to today's. I too will blog of my progress and let you all know how my culinary journey is going.
I would like to complete the challenge before the New Year begins but if things don't quite go to plan, than I have given myself a 6 month deadline.

There are some interesting recipes so, stayed tuned!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Facebook & The Friends That Matter

Facebook, what do we think of it? If I were to ask someone I'd most likely get a negative response, even if that person does in fact have a Facebook profile. It would seem that whilst most people use Facebook they tend to express a lot of frustration and disappointment in having one.
And although we would love to delete our profiles and be free of gossip, statuses with underlining meanings, statuses that were intended to offend, unwholesome pictures and posts, statuses that provoke questions but the author isn't interested in answering them, random friend requests and, baffling friend deletes... we still have profiles.

I love Facebook but for all its good things. I enjoy creating events, keeping up to date with friends and family I love but am far from. I like to share tid bits of my life, pictures, encouraging words and uplifting comments. Its also a great tool for informing a 'body of people' about events etc. and to keep in contact with people regularly. But Facebook needs to be managed. If you don't want to manage it than you may be best without it.

Here are some guidelines I "try" to follow that keep me on Facebook without being continuously let down and frustrated.
  • Only add and accept friends you are willing to view statuses and posts from, that you know personally, and that you would be comfortable with sharing your posts with. 
  • Don't add people if you know your going to be subject to unwholesome pictures and posts. 
  • If you have already friended someone who writes posts you don't like seeing, change the settings with that friend to not have their posts appear in your feed. 
  • Friend only your friends and those that you would be happy to meet with for a coffee. 
  • Avoid friending people just because you want to "sticky beak" into their lives but don't actually want a relationship with and, 
  • make the effort to meet up with those that you want a genuine friendship with.
  • If you have a personal issue with someone don't just delete them. We need to be mature and go to that person and reconcile our differences first. Social media is often the cause of cyber bullying and has tragically led to teenage suicides so, us adults need to set a good example to the  next generation, by avoiding posts and statuses that attack particular individuals and are intended to offend.
  • If you want to avoid random friend requests you can opt to have your name to not appear in name searches.
  • I recommend your profile settings are set to private particularly if you post photos of children. 
  • Ask permission before posting photos of others, especially other peoples children.
  • Be mindful of posting pictures and comments on public (and even closed) groups and pages. 
  • When friending someone we should respect their views and beliefs, we don't always have to agree but we can agree to disagree.
  • When 'checking in' consider whether you are ok with everyone knowing where you are, especially if your profile isn't entirely private. 
  • The person you are in real life, be also on Facebook. Be genuine.
  • Theres a saying "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".
Well, there you have a few tips for managing friends on Facebook but, the main (original) reason for this post was to  encourage people to nurture genuine friendships. To invest in real life 'face to face' time with those we love and care about. Friendships are two way streets so, be the initiator sometimes. Show your friends that you are genuinely interested in 'them'. If you feel that you've endlessly tried to be close with a friend and they don't reciprocate, than thats okay too. Keep them at acquaintance. I often find myself feeling hurt by others because I've opened myself up to people but they weren't willing to do the same. I've often gone the extra mile only to have been left hanging. 

Lets be available to help each other out. Don't let Facebook be the only tool to strengthening friendships. Pick up the phone and let someone know you are thinking of them. Take the time to write a letter in your own handwriting. Arrange to catch up over coffee. Offer a helping hand. Bake a cake. Show your friends you care.

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fong Family Update

Its been a little while since I wrote a post on how our little family is fairing so, here it is! A post to update you all on what we've been up to of late.
Matty and I have now been parents for several months and it has been quite the adventure. It seems like we've come such a long way since the early weeks and months of waking and feeding Rupert around the clock. Matty was so supportive. He only had one week off from work when Rupert was born and than it was back to the office. He not only worked all day but he was great at helping me out during the long nights with Rupert. And when the weekend came Matty would be up early with Rupert in the lounge room whilst I tried to catch a few extra Zzz's.
As the weeks progressed Rupert's routine changed and his feeds became less frequent, and before I knew it he was sleeping through at night.

Rupert is now 5 months old and what a joy he is! He is an overall happy baby who sleeps 7-9 hours every night and has regular naps during the day. I have my guiding books "On Becoming Baby Wise" and "Calm Baby, Confident Mum" to thank for that. As well as my wonderful network of friends on and off facebook, who have given me endless support. 
Rupert is still fully breastfed and we have just recently started to introduce solids. So far he is eating rice cereal and banana. He sits at the table in his high chair so tall and proud, he loves it! I'm really looking forward to introducing some more foods such as mashed potato and pumpkin over the next week. 
The little guy has also become very mobile, dragging himself around the floor and rocking on his knees in attempt to crawl. Its very exciting watching him develop and change. He loves to chat, giggle and have the occasional laughing fit. Rupert enjoys story time when he gets to sit and listen to pages of a book come alive. And his eyes light up when he gets to see daddy at the end of the day. 

Matty is still a busy man working as an engineer, performing with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra and leading on the church music team. His mum and sister also play in the orchestra so Rupert and I along with my father in-law, usually find ourselves enjoying regular concerts. 
As for me, I'm enjoying not being too busy with this and that and loving being a mum. I attend a Zumba class where I can and I look forward to Friday mornings mothers group. I also arrange a monthly ladies get together for our church Sisterhood.
I enjoy trying new recipes and also cooking with the fresh herbs from my garden. 

We have not made any recent trips south to visit family. But just recently, Matty's brother Stuart and his pretty lady Siobhan were up visiting so it was lovely catching up with them. My mother has visited and both mum and dad visited for Rupert's dedication back in May. There are many family members who are still to meet Rupert so, we look forward to traveling south of the Territory for a holiday later this year. :-)

Well, that's all from me. Till next time.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Not Famous but Dared to Dream

Aspiring Lawyer Mother!

 Yesterday I sat down to watch MasterChef, and as the contestants each reflected on their journey on the show I noticed a common theme. They spoke of how being on the show was a dream come true and that they were proving it possible to 'dare to dream.' In being on the reality show they were showing their children, friends and family what it meant to go after your dreams, and that they too can do the same. 

I don't usually watch MasterChef but I do enjoy a good reality show. Real people from real places doing, real things, winning real money and ... on show [literally] for the whole world to notice them.  
I don't wish to degrade or downplay the talent, motivation and achievements that reality stars and contestants have but, rather show that we can all 'dare to dream.' It's easy to watch these TV shows and feel like we're missing out on something. That we're missing out on chasing our dreams unless we make it on one of these shows to showcase our will and talent. Daring to dream isn't just about making it to MasterChef's top six or winning The Block. It's not just becoming the next Justin Beiber, Prime Minister or Yahoos CEO, etc. We can all 'make it' without being cast for a reality show and/or without being a media interest.  
Of course media isn't the only platform society rates our success by, it's also your job title or position. Its how much money we earn, which suburb we live in and how big our home is. Its where we've traveled, the degrees we've completed and the performances we might have staged.  

As a little girl right up to when I was a young teenager it was my dream to have a husband and to raise a big family. And it had also become apparent that I was skilled with a needle and thread so, by the time I was 17 I had completed a diploma in fashion CTF (clothing, textiles and footwear) and was a qualified seamstress. Even though I can confidently say that being behind a sewing machine was where my talent lie, I still didn't feel successful enough for society. I drummed into my head that I could be something greater, something more powerful and something more successful. I felt the need to dare greater dreams. So, I became a law student. I aspired to first become a lawyer and than a judge and to one day become the first female prime minister (there were rocks in my head). "And when I am prime minister I would surely be successful in society"!
There and then I dared to dream, the only problem was that it wasn't really my dream. I dared someone else's dream that was meant for many people but, becoming a lawyer was not Gods will for me [to dream].
It took a few degree changes before I realized that there was nothing I actually wanted to study at uni, and that it was okay to drop out. Being a 'drop out' was hard and it came with a feeling of failure and guilt. But it was going to be okay and social pressures was going to have to accept it!  

June last year I 'dared to dream' a dream that God purposed for me. Matty and I were meant to have had a home and to have travelled the world first but we 'dared to dream,' to become parents to a precious son. I dared to endure nine months of a protruding belly. I dared to endure fourteen hours of labour. I dared to love another like no other. I dared to change 8+ nappies everyday. I dared to be awake every two hours around the clock. I dared to endure endless crying and constant rocking.  

I dared to be a MOTHER ... and it was a dream come true!

Commit to the Lord everything you do. Then your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3


Monday, July 2, 2012

Ken, Baby Born and Space Lego

To be a wife, mother, and the keeper of a home, it's the desire of most little girls hearts. 

I had many female Barbies but I only acquired one Ken doll because you only needed one prince charming to sweep you off your feet. As I nursed my baby Born as a child I always knew that someday I'd be a mother for real. And when I played with Lego I only ever built houses with four walls, a kitchen and three bedrooms, even if it was space Lego. 

As we get older the reality of life becomes apparent, and you soon realise that your childhood dreams and assumptions no longer appear in your toy box, nor can they be assumed. Finding the real life Ken is like a needle in a haystack, you can no longer buy him from the toy isle. And Santa won't just give me a Baby Born for Christmas. The real life Baby Born is nothing short of a gifted miracle! And well, the Lego home is a seemingly unattainable 30 years of debt but only after 5-10 years of saving.

I'm so blessed to have married my incredible prince charming at the young age of twenty. And even more blessed to have given birth to Rupert our miracle baby at just twenty two. And the house, well we're still working on that one. It seems to me that the more God blesses me with the more I want. 
I look back at our wedding and think how proud we were to have had a beautiful wedding on a budget. And that we were so content to have less in order to be married young, not be in debt of a one day celebration and to not have drained our savings (We were also very thankful that our parents contributed to our wedding).
As newlyweds we moved into the bottom floor of an elevated home (I had already been boarding here for some time). It was one big room which had no kitchen and the combined toilet and shower was also the laundry for the whole house but, it did have a small fridge and a microwave. We were again so content to live there and pay only $50 a week, if it meant we could be together with just my wage supporting us while Matty completed his degree.
Blessed yet again when friends put in a good word for us to be able to rent the cosy 2 bedda which we're still living in over 2 years later.  And I am still so grateful for the lovely unit we live in but, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say I sometimes become discontent. The more God gives, the more I want from him! The absent backyard, the bathless shower/ toilet/ laundry room, the lack of a third bedroom for baby #2... all things that bring my discontent to light.

It was Thursday morning when I wandered through Bunnings for practically no reason other than to walk the rows of pretty flowers, punnets of hopeful veggies, get a glimpse at the oven of my dreams, and to spy at the glorious crystal chandeliers. It's nice to have goals and dreams to work towards, so long as it doesn't consume us so much so that we become covetous and, forget where we should really be storing treasures, and that my friend is in heaven! 
The afternoon came and I somehow got talking with our neighbours on the floor above (neighbours we weren't very acquainted with). They have two young daughters so I mentioned that they were an inspiration to us ('encouragement' would have been a more suited word), showing that it was indeed possible to have a family in a small 2 bedroom unit. Stuart than went on to say that he was Christian and that it can be hard but, he believes God is teaching him CONTENTMENT! What a breath of fresh air! Just to hear someone else with a common struggle, and even though his daughters would LOVE a house with a yard for a dog, he believes its God shaping him. Right there and then I felt ashamed for being so selfish but it was such a revelation that I too am being shaped by God and, I am learning the art of contentment. I am beyond blessed!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Journey to Super Woman

It wasn't until I had Rupert that I realised that women are amazing people. God created us so that we would become a kind of heroine.
Motherhood may not be everyones cup of tea but nevertheless if it is, you can rest assure that you were created to do the job well. God designed our bodies to bear the pains of childbirth and all post natal trauma. He gives women an inconceivable love for their children so that when challenges arise the mountain doesn't seem impossible to climb. And when it does, somehow we get over it! God gives us just enough strength to get through each day with a little extra to help you out of bed the next morning.
A homemaking career encompasses many a job. We become a nurse when we affix a bandaid to our child's knee and a teacher when we show them how to tie their shoes. We're head chef and waiter all in one when it comes to serving a hearty meal. We are receptionist in our own home, making sure bills are paid, events are rsvp'd and birthdays are remembered. We are cleaners (when we can) and we are our children's taxi service. And importantly we are our husbands support person, his sweet heart and his lover! We are the tenacious mum, loving mummy, courageous mother and adoring wife.

I don't see myself as super mum yet but I am aspiring to be [by Gods grace and help]. Becoming a mother has opened my eyes to the super woman that my mum is and that every other mother is! And I take my hat off to the women who also juggle work outside the home along with their homemaking, that is hard work on it's own. So, if your not a mother as yet, don't think I don't know that your becoming a super woman in your own right. But I write this post specifically for the mums, me being knew to it an all.

As wives and mothers we learn humility, making sure everything we do for our families is of the heart. In the workforce when budgets and targets are met you are recognised with a financial reward. You make sure that you do your job well so that when an opportunity for a higher position arises, you can be the first to deserve it. Overtime is worked so that you earn more money and if its a professional job, you dress to impress, to appear confident and competent. Now, although we may put in time and effort to prepare dinner every night, the most recognition we may get is "thanks for dinner mum/dear". We just learnt humility. There is no extra dollars for cooking a 4 hour roast instead of a toastie. Theres no embossed bachelor certificate to say your certified to cook amazing dinners! You may get promoted by your family to cook that roast again, because it tasted so great but otherwise, you do it because you love your family. And you need to eat hehe. You get what I mean!

The screaming, the puking, the dirty nappies and ton of washing... not things we always love and are happy to attend to but we are the perfect woman for the job. We (dads included ) are our children's greatest need. We are a kind of heroine to them.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Operation Herb-i-licious

I'm not a huge green thumb although I would like to be but, living in a unit makes that somewhat of a challenge. Growing up in my teenage years we had a large veggie patch where we cultivated the essential green foods. Its wonderful to observe Gods work when you plant a seed or seedling and then watch it grow. After nurturing and caring you get to experience a visual [and eatable] satisfaction of having grown your own vegetables. I can recall growing sunflowers, and how amazing it was to see how sunflower seeds are produced. The brown center of the sunflower is a mass of tiny sunflowers called florets and each one produces a sunflower seed. God is such an amazing artist!

So anyway I've planted some more herbs, ones that I will use when cooking. Planted in the pot below is coriander, sweet basil, spring onion and Italian parsley. It will be 6 - 8 weeks before I can start picking for cooking.
Herb pot.

My rose bush has not yet died but rather its flourishing. See, it can be done in the NT. 

This is my Lipstick plant, perfect for the NT weather.

Haworthia Succulent (in the small pot) and the plant in the corner... I don't know what it is!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Meatball Fail.


So I thought I'd try out this Chorizo Meatballs Recipe minus the chorizo. It didn't go so well. After browning the meatballs, as per the recipe I added half cup of water. Not such a good idea when its a hot saucepan. It looked like a volcano was erupting out of the saucepan and... BAM. Smoked the home out! But anyway not to worry so, I pushed on with the recipe and added the tomato [paste], turned my back and... BAM! Tomato sauce spitting EVERYWHERE! Well couldn't give up there so, I continued with the recipe and added the meatballs and... **sigh** They fell apart. It better still taste alright!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Popcorn, the New Ice Cream

Over the weekend I attended a dear friends hens party. I was asked if I could contribute by making a dessert of some kind so, I decided on some pretty choc cupcakes and caramel popcorn choc tops. Now cupcakes are cupcakes but the caramel popcorn choc tops were fabulous! These would be a fantastic addition to any kids party and they taste delicious! They were so easy to make.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

...So that when he is old he will not depart from it

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Every step of motherhood is both daunting and exciting. Its a constant mental [and physical] challenge that you somehow manage to conquer every single time! Its an ongoing challenge and... an ongoing reward.

It starts with taking a pregnancy test off the store shelf and as you walk to the check out, you can't even put your finger on how your feeling. Then its seeing those little positive lines and your heart skips a beat. Your now forced to imagine your future, the rest of your lifetime with a son or daughter. How will I love and nurture this child? What kind of parent will I be? Will I be good enough? Am I going to miss not having children? Am I cut out for motherhood? Can we live on one wage? How is a baby going to change my relationship with my husband? Could I possibly love someone else as much as I love my husband? And most importantly, can I raise this little heartbeat within me to know Jesus as their saviour, so that when he is old he shall not depart from it?

Throughout pregnancy there are countless thoughts and emotions you go through, just trying to imagine a life you've never lived before. But what I struggled with most during pregnancy was the evident labour and childbirth. It caused much anxiety and it scared me to the bone. That challenge conquered! In the last weeks and days God gave me the most amazing feeling of confidence and strength. But now that I had Rupert safe in my arms I was faced with the next challenge. Recovery. After a 14 hour natural labour with no drugs and an episiotomy my body was exhausted, in pain and somewhat traumatised. 7 weeks on and I'm still dealing with the recovery. At times in tears with pain and frustration, so frustrated that after getting over one pain along came another, and it just doesn't seem to end. But nevertheless I'm conquering these challenges of painful events.

The above are all evident challenges that will be overcome. But what about my sons spiritual growth? How will I conquer this challenge? How can I be certain that Rupert will follow the ways of the Lord? How do I ingrain but not Bible bash, teach but not force? We gave our son life, and every life has a beginning but it hasn't an end. I can't make, choose or determine the decisions Rupert will make when he is older but, while he is young enough to be impressionable and influenced by us we are to make the most of it. We should lead by example and teach him the truths and stories of the Bible, and that we are in need of Jesus saving grace. We must pray for Rupert and walk in faith that, he too will follow Christ and have a personal relationship with Jesus his Saviour.  


Thursday, April 5, 2012


I love my homemade sausage rolls, the recipe taken from ABC Delicious Quick Smart Cook Book. They are quick, easy and not too expensive to make! Great for a snack, side, or even a meal if you don't cut them into small lengths and leave them long. You can customise the flavour with different spices, pastes, or a different type of sausage mince. 


Monday, April 2, 2012

Whats for Dinner?

With the new addition of Rupert in our lives and the absence of my wage, our family has stepped into a new chapter of our lives. Our family has changed [for the better], our budget has changed... our lifestyle is now different to that of our previous.

So, lets start with whats for dinner.
How can I shop cost effectively for groceries? Which meals are most cost effective? And how can I keep it healthy, delicious and exciting?

When we both worked full time I found it difficult (or inconvenient, lack of desire rather) to make the time to do proper grocery shops and to cook regular healthy meals. I usually cooked the same few meals on a regular basis. Spag bol, apricot chicken, schnitzel ect. Whatever was quick an easy! And then on other nights we might resort to supporting our local fish and chip shop, or maccas.

I've started with a budget of $200 a month excluding perishables such as milk and fruit and vege. It's been 14 days since I did the monthly shop and we're not doing too badly. I've probably spent about $20 over the past 2 weeks on additional groceries. At the end of the 4 weeks I will evaluate how well the $200 was spent and whether I had to make many additional small shops within the month. And remembering to create a shopping list along the way so, that when I get to the next monthly shop I won't leave anything out (to prevent additional small shops).  I brainstorm and source all the meals I want to cook within the month before doing the shopping, so that I can be prepared with all ingredients.

Now for the meals. What have I been cooking? I've decided to expand my repertoire/menu and try new recipes or new variations of recipes I already use. This months cooking recipes I have sourced from the website. Let me give you bit of a commentary of a few recipes I've tried at late.

Thai kangaroo salad with crisp-fried garlic - Kangaroo is my favourite selection of meat as its cheap (comparatively) and very healthy for you. It's 98% fat free, high in iron, high in protein, low saturated fat, gluten free and most of all  its delicious! This dish was quick and easy however its supposed to serve 4... not so. Matty and I only got one meal for 2 and we were still hungry so, next time it would be best served with garlic, herb or focaccia bread. Otherwise it was very nice and had a refreshing taste. Click on the link to view the recipe.

Spanish tuna pasta bake - This was a great recipe. We managed to stretch it out to 4 meals for 2! But that doesn't allow for seconds or massive portions. I've decided this is cost effective, yummy and easy to make.

Sweet and sour pork - now for something asian. This dish tasted good but felt like a bit of work. I didn't enjoy the process of deep frying, it was messy. And it's also not the healthiest of dishes. You can get about 3 meals for 2 out of this recipe.

So there you go... thats what was for dinner.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's Get This Blog Rolling!

So, it's been a very long time since I did anything with this blog and I'm going to give it another shot.


Back in December I finished up at work and commenced maternity leave. Our baby was due in mid February and I wanted a couple of months to nest and prepare for the big journey my husband and I were about to embark on.

I was a little concerned that I might miss work and get just a little bit bored being at home. Despite my deepest desires to be the 1950's housewife and mother! I like structure and routine and, the consistency that it gives me in life. And of course the security of a wage. I wasn't sure that it would remain without my job outside the home. But it did. I loved every minute of being at home and being able to put a good dinner on the table. Not being forever tired and exhausted from a full days work. I discovered myself to be a happier person and enjoying my days far more. I loved having the time to read my Bible, make new curtains and quilts. I knitted and decorated and enjoyed having a clean home. I did what I was always too busy or too tired to do.

No doubt your wondering what I think now, after having a baby. Do I still enjoy being at home? Do I still have the time to do the things I listed in the above paragraph? And do I now think that my job at work is easier? Well yes, being a mother is exhausting and no I don't have as much time on my hands as I did before Rupert. However, it's a lifestyle I've adjusted to and love living. Do I think going to work was easier? Yes I do but its also more stressful and not as enjoyable or rewarding. I love that even after a sleepless night of crying, feeding and changing nappies that, I can embrace, hold and cherish every moment of my sons life. Their need to have you as their naturing mother... it greets you every minute of the day!

Now, I might not have adjusted quite as well if it wasn't for my dear friend Naomi giving me a certain book. The book titled 'On Becoming Baby Wise'. As I mentioned earlier, I like structure and routine and this book follows a 'parent directed feeding' method [a routine]. A method that helps me plan my day and the hours in that day. There are of course days where things don't go to plan but on the whole it generally works. I highly recommend the book and, like anything you customise to what suits your family. Another book I recommend is 'Calm Baby, Confident Mum'. This book written by Simone Boswell who is a mother that follows the 'parent directed feeding' method. She's not a nurse or doctor ect. but a mother who writes from her personal experience.

Anyway, signing off now but before I do I have a blog written specifically to my son Rupert. Its made up of daily notes and letters containing little things that he and I might have done that day. Click here to follow 'Letters to My Son'.


Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm Back and This Time I'm a Mother

Hi to all you readers,

Well here I am after about 7 months of not a single post... or update of my pregnancy/baby progress. But now that I am here, I can tell you that my husband and I have safely brought our son Rupert Ming Liang into the world.

We were blessed with a safe and complication free birth. Rupert was born naturally with no drug assistance after a 14 hour labour. He weighed 3.05kg and was 49cm in length. A very precious gift from God. Click here to follow my blog titled Letters to My Son written for Rupert.
Rupert Ming Liang Fong - 6 days old.