A birthday recipe

I celebrated a birthday a couple of weeks ago and I think I perfected the birthday celebration recipe this year. It’s pretty simple, but I like simple!

Please let me share it with you:

1. Time spent with loved ones

2. Cake (packet mix, store bought, homemade, whatever!)

3. A little personal indulgence

and that’s it.

I’m 100% certain, that this is all I need to have a fabulous birthday, and anything else is just icing on the cake or excessive (a bunch of flowers falls into the ‘icing on the cake’ category ☺️)

So what does 1, 2 & 3 look like?

1. Time spent with loved ones.

In the past, we would go out for dinner to celebrate birthdays, along with the rest of my family and follow it up with cake at home. This year however, I have been more conscious of the amount of money we spend when eating out, and realised that a special meal at home (that I haven’t cooked), with all the right people can be just as enjoyable as eating out and at a fraction of the cost!

And so, we ordered a few of our favourite curry dishes from our local Indian restaurant, Matt made up another batch of curry, and we cooked our own rice and naans at home. My parents came to our house for dinner, we ate mountains of good food and cracked open a bottle of wine that cost us hardly anymore than $10 after buying in bulk. When the kids bedtime rolled around we were able to put them straight to bed. It was perfect, and cost us little!

On the following weekend we had dinner with my in-laws, complete with the delicious apple crumble that my mother in law only ever makes when I’m coming over because she knows how much I love it!

My 3 and 5yo made handmade gifts and cards, and showered me in love, and really that’s all a Mum needs on a birthday!

2. Cake.

This is probably not essential, but it is certainly delicious. Every year I request carrot cake. This year it came in the form of a half cheesecake shop cake, which was the perfect size for the people we had gathered to share it with, and for the 32 candles jammed on top of it!

3. A little personal indulgence.

For me, this is simply doing something that I wouldn’t normally do, just for myself, as a little treat. I’m not relying on anyone else to ‘guess what is in my head’ with what I’d like to do for my birthday, I’m doing it myself.

This year that meant I purchased a few pretty little unnecessary but happiness inducing items from Etsy, I had a fresh haircut (a rare occurrence for me!), and I took advantage of a child free day and went to see the Ben Quilty exhibit at the Art Gallery of South Australia

It was a bit of a luxury to walk about the gallery by myself, as I almost always have the kids with me when I go. I also had a particularly surreal moment when I was reading the writing on the wall of The Studio (pictured above) and then realised that the other person in the room with me, standing beside me reading this, was Paul Kelly himself!

Another special thing I did for my birthday, was to push myself a little out of my comfort zone and attend a gathering of like minded Barossa ladies for the Slow Gathering Barossa on the day of my birthday. It was a lovely way to put a face to the many Instagram handles I had been following and connecting with for years! A beautiful location, delicious baked goods, a fabulous trading table and many friendly faces – a wonderful morning in short!

All in all, a fantastic recipe for a fabulous birthday!

Do you have any special traditions or ‘must dos’ for birthdays?

Have you been to see Quilty? If not, it’s brilliant and you most definitely need to see it!

Abby x

A birthday party

We celebrated our big five year old girl with a ‘making’ party last weekend. She loves to spend every spare second making, drawing and creating, so it seemed like the perfect theme for her.

I was determined to make this party special, without spending a fortune, or producing a pile of unrecyclable waste at the end of it. A few of my decorative choices are explained below:

    Balloons – I really dislike balloons, because they’re not recyclable, and once they go to landfill they’ll be there forever more, but I also know that my kids LOVE balloons, so this was our compromise – 4 balloons, purchased from Big W for less than $5. I blew them up myself and hung them, rather than going the expensive helium route!
    String lights – I have a few different sets of battery operated string lights, that are pulled out for special occasions. I bought the ‘Happy Birthday’ lights a few years ago, to hang up on everyone’s birthday, so that I had at least one decoration I wasn’t rebuking every year. Our other string lights were hung under our back verandah, and stuffed into a little lantern that I usually have in our lounge room as pictured above.
    Flowers – our little lady loves flowers, so this was a no brainer. I spent less than $20 on two bunches, arranged them together, and continue to enjoy them a week later. At the end of their life they can be composted!
    DIY paper decorations – I made a crepe paper streamer garland and tissue Pom flowers out of approx $20 worth of craft supplies. They’re still hanging outside being enjoyed now, but once they become tattered we will recycle them.

So it was hardly waste free, but we minimised the waste while still creating a fun decorative space for a little girls party!

And on to the making…

Using an assortment of craft supplies we already had, topped up with a few extra bits and pieces, the girls decorated wands, paper crowns, paper bags, recycled card rainbows and made necklaces and bracelets.

My greatest stroke of brilliance however, was having them all decorate their own cupcakes, saving me from a whole heap of cake baking pain!

Everyone appeared to enjoy themselves, and a week later, we still have craft supplies in bowls all over the place, constantly being picked over and created with.

I am feeling a little sad now that it’s all over, and hoping I can convince her to have another ‘making’ party in another five years!

Abby x

January beginnings

Sneaking out of bed before everyone else in our house this morning. The kids have been doing swimming lessons all week, and while they’ve come leap and bounds in skills and confidence, I’m most excited about the solid sleeps and little sleep ins every day!

As we roll into January, everything is happening in this little house of ours.

We ended 2018 with work beginning on replacing our ceilings, and we continue to slowly progress with that (and by we, I mean the husband, I am definitely not helping with the ceilings much).

While this has been happening we have also hosted a little birthday party for our big five year old, which meant putting all of this furniture back in place for the couple of hours that people were here, before moving and covering it all again to continue work! I’ll share more about the birthday party in another post.

The summer garden is starting to get exciting, with the last of our plums being picked last night.

And a slow but steady stream of cucumbers, zucchinis and tomatoes coming in.

I’ve also launched into tackling my reading goal of 52 books this year, reading:

  • Laura Tingle’s Quarterly Essay – Follow the Leader.
  • Helen Garner’s The Children’s Bach
  • and I’ve just started on Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens

All have been good reads so far, so I’m hoping I can continue a good run of great books this year!

In the spare moments when I’m not reading, I’ve started work on a crocheted cardigan for myself, mostly so that I have a portable project to take with me to swimming lessons. I’m attempting to use up all of my leftover yarn, so it could be a little Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat in the end.

It feels a little strange to be crocheting in this heat, but I’m enjoying the process of watching something new grow within my hands, and learning new stitches as I go.

I hope that whatever January may have in stall for you, there are good books and interesting projects along the way.

Abby x


Happy New Year folks!

I hope that 2019 holds enough pockets of sunshine to see you through the inevitable storms of life (did anyone else’s thoughts just turn to Easy A?)

2018 ended on a great note for us. We spent Christmas in Sydney with family, and packed in all sorts of fun activities while we were there. We were home before NYE and I saw in the new year, sound asleep in my own bed. Perfect!

Miss E had a birthday while we were away, and so we’re now preparing for a small scale birthday party for our big five year old this weekend and enjoying a few more weeks of freedom before she starts school at the end of January!

This year I plan to continue:

  • relief teaching occasionally,
  • studying for my Master in Communications,
  • selling crocheted items in my Etsy store,
  • volunteering in our Defence community
  • keeping an eye out for any opportunities for study or employment relating to education, communication, writing and/or sustainability.
  • and Blogging. Hopefully a little less sporadically!

I have also resolved to cut take away / fast foods out of my life this year, for health, financial and environmental reasons. Wish me luck!

If you have made any sustainability goals for 2019, here is a great piece from Reusable Nation about zero waste options, and you may find my name mentioned in there.

Another goal I’ve set for myself this year is to read 52 books. I set the same goal last year, and reached 39. I’m hoping to improve on that next year.

If you’re setting reading goals this year, and looking for some inspiration, here are a few of my favourite reads from last year:

  • One hundred years of dirt by Rick Morton
  • Calypso by David Sedaris
  • Cloudstreet by Tim Winton
  • Any ordinary day by Leigh Sales
  • The wife drought by Annabel Crabb
  • The museum of modern love by Heather Rose
  • Manhood by Steve Biddulph
  • The Dry by Jane Harper
  • The narrow road to the deep north by Richard Flanagan
  • Reckoning: A memoir by Magda Szubanski

If you notice a bit of a theme there, you might be a Chat 10 Look 3 podcast listener, and if you’re a bookworm but haven’t heard of Chat 10 Looks 3, please check it out!

What was your favourite read of 2018? Are you a chatter too?

Hoping you’ve all had a restful summer break.

Abby x

So many questions!

It’s been an absolute, all out germ fest in our house for the last six weeks, and there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t seem to matter how sick anyone is though, the kids questions never stop flowing in thick and fast!

I recently read this article about the number of questions young children ask every day, and it resonated with me and my days at home with a three and four year old. Curious, I decided to write down every question the kids asked me for a whole day. It didn’t give me an accurate number for how many questions they actually ask a day, because I didn’t record questions that they asked their Dad, or each other throughout the day, but still, the results were amusing.

So how many questions was I asked yesterday?


And what were they?

In chronological order, with absolutely no context or explanation…

You a bit tired Mummy?

You tired?

What is that?

What are you doing?

You’re wearing that?

What are you wearing?

Is E—— outside?

Is it kindy day today?

Is it kindy day tomorrow?

Why not?

When is it a kindy day?

Why did you say jacket?

Why you little?

Why is my name on there?

When you done, can I have some food?

Have you finished that?

Do we have a plate?

What is lunch?

Do you want to hold this big tower?

Can I flush?

Why does Daddy have lots of hangs for his towels?

Please can I have toast with peanut butter?

Where’s the tissues?

Why did you sharpen it?

Do you like the rainbow best?

Where’s the peanut butter?

Did you know, Daddy showed me, he dogged all the way to the bottom of the sandpit?

Can we go and have a walk?

To a playground?

Can we have a walk to the playground?

What are you writing?

Are you writing a list?

Please have some more water in my cup?

How did you do that so quick?

Is it raining really really later after 6 hours?

Why is it that number?

What is that number for?

Why not number for the flowers?

Why does A—– keep having runny noses?

Do you like mine?

Can you please connect this?

Are you dressed Mummy?

Can you help me please?

Can you wipe my bum?

Can I have beads to make a necklace?

Is it close to R—–‘s birthday?

Why am I not going to R—-‘s birthday?

Can you do the scarecrow song?

Can I have a lolly or chocolate?

Can I make a necklace yet?

Why do you keep writing our names?

Did a ruler make the lines?

What is a messy bun?

Can you put my jumper on?

Why does he keep bringing stuff back?

Can I make the necklace?

Can you please put this on me?


Can I put this on the carpet?

Where’s the red?

What are they?

How many?

Who are they for?

Mummy or Daddy?

Can I have a look in that with you?

Is that the flower book?

Can I have a banana?

Is there any boys in the flower book?

When we a Nanna and Grandad will we grow a baby in our tummy?

Did we get a bunch of these?

Where is anemones?

What are these?

Why they bulbs?

Have you looked at all the pages?

Why not?

Are you done?

Are you on the first page?

Can boys have hair clips?

Can you put this clip in my hair?

Can boys have flower hair ties?

Why’s it not smell?

Why do they bring birthday presents?


When I’m 5 will A—– be 4?

When I’m 5 will E—– be 6?

Please can I have a white rectangle paper?

Is that for me?

Do you like the hands?

Can I have a mummy cuddle?

When were Mummy and Daddy babies?

Who is your Mum and Dad?

Who is Nanna’s Mum?

Does she belong to Nanny B?

What is that?

Can we wash it off?

What is that picture?

Do we need to buy Chicken Butter?

Why are you writing all day?

Why do you connect them together?

Why does it say A—–‘s name?

What is that word?

What is that say?

What is those for?

Can I please have a sandwich?

When is it lunchtime?

Mummy cuddle please.

What were you looking at?

Please can I have another tomato?

How many?

Are we going down the creek?

Why do we grow them in a pot?

Can we plant them?

Is there any seeds in my sunflower?

Is there now?

Mummy, do you want to try these flowers?

Why is there nothing in our letterbox?

Can you take my gum boots off?

When is Daddy coming home?

Can we wrap R—–‘s birthday present?

Is this 7?

What is this number?

Why E—— glue this?

Is there juice in bananas?

Is there juice in apples?

Why you write all day?

How will I stick them on?

Can you open this for me?

Please can I have a white piece of paper?

Can you make a necklace for me?

Can you do this?

Is that us?

Can we make a love heart with beads?

Can we play this game?

Can you open the magnets lid?

Can you put the hippo’s on?

Please can you help?

When can we do this?

When is it dinner time?

Where can I put my clothes?

Can you take my top off?

Are we going to sleep after shower?

Why we not go to bed?

Why we having a bath?


Can I have some fruit?

Can you cut up my orange?

Can I have a banana?

Can we watch tv?

Is it really loud?

Please can you put my leggings on?

Why did you do that?

How would you get down?

Why do they like going in the water?

Do you like to get a top like that?

What is jogging?

Is that Daddy?

Is he on his way home?

Is Daddy coming home now?

When is it dinner time?

Is it dinner time?

What is that time?


What you said?

Is there any more balls?

Where’s your stickers?


Is Daddy coming home?

Are you vacuuming our rooms?

Guess what’s in my mouth?

What does that say?

When is it Christmas?

When is my birthday?

Can you read his book?

When’s it my birthday?

Is Christmas after my birthday?

Is that Nunu?

Did you want to see this book?

Why does it go this way?

Can you do this bit of sticker?

What does that say?

Does it say that?

What does that say?

Is that the same as that one?


What else is in there?

Why is that a little word?

What is a Grinch?


Can you make me a dress?

Can I find what cake I like?

Can I have a ladybug cake for my birthday?

What comes after 16?

What comes after 17?

What comes after 18?

What comes after 19?

What comes after 20?

What comes after 29?

What comes after 30?


Can I have a clock cake for my birthday?

Can we have pumpkin soup?

Is Daddy coming home?

What is it?

Why have you got bread?

What we need?

Forks and knives?


I don’t like that. What is it?

Did we go anywhere?

What was good bout your day Mummy?

What was it?

Do you love Father’s Day?

Why’d Daddy go on couch?

Please can I have some icecream?

Who is that?

What is a thief?

And that was my day! It certainly explains why I’m so tired at the end of every day!

Some of their questions are hilarious and looking back I’m not sure how I come up with answers for everything.

Do you get 218 questions a day too? What’s the best little person question you’ve ever been asked?

Abby x

In the garden

Two out of four are still sick in our house.

Yes it’s the cold that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends…

So not much is happening inside this little house of ours at the moment, beyond coughing, cuddling, checking temperatures and stoking up the fire again and again. Outside, our garden is slowly changing, showing signs of Spring on it’s way.

We finally had some decent rainfall last week, the first in what seems like months. The creek flowed and all our plants soaked up as much as they could, and now look so much happier for it. We’ve been rewarded with flowering bulbs and endless numbers of weeds!

The winter veggie garden is slow moving, but we’re slowly bringing in more produce.

None of those snow peas made it inside!

And I’m excited for almond blossoms on the horizon.

A few weeks ago a little plant popped up in my front yard, and I asked on instastories if anyone could identify it because I thought it was edible. Last week my four year old spotted it and said ‘look Mummy, it’s Rainbow Chard!’. The kid knows her plants. She walked around the veggie garden yesterday telling her Dad what everything was, while he checked labels to see if she was right. I think I may have a little green thumb on my hands there! No pun intended, haha.

After all the rain, the weeds in our veggie garden were going a little crazy, so we spent some time tidying up yesterday and made some neat little discoveries in the process.

Near the end of every winter, we have a few little tomatoes start popping up around the garden. These tough little self seeders usually go on to be great big tasty tomato plants, and we leave them to grow where they seem happy. This one will probably be a cherry tomato again, they usually are, and along with Tommy Toes I’m planning on planting, will keep us in good supply all summer long!

We also found that some of our pea straw went gangbusters and rewarded us with these pretty little flowers.

Most exciting of all though, was when I accidentally pulled up a baby carrot, which is not great because it could probably do with a bit more time in the ground, but was exciting to me because it marks the end of my lifetime carrot drought! I’ve never successfully grown them before, so I’m all kinds of excited about this little orange root!

The other great thing about all that rain is the excitement it causes when our creek starts flowing. I will never grow tired of coming down here on a rainy day. I’m not sure who loves it more, the parents or the kids!

Spring’s not far away now. On sunny days, I stand in my front yard amongst the flowers, and I can smell it – Spring! I organised my Spring seed order this week, ready to get planting as soon as they chilly days are behind us.

I can’t wait!

Abby x

Head colds, croup and crochet

Just a quick apology for being absent of late. It’s head colds for one and all in my family at the moment, and a dose of croup for the littlest last weekend. Not much sleep, a busy schedule and a foggy brain are not working in my favour.

I’d feel guilty if I left you with nothing though. So here’s just a quick little share of a ball of yarn I wasn’t in love with, over dyed and then made a little beanie out of.

Even when the brain is barely functioning, there’s still little projects being churned out. Coherent sentences are a little beyond me though.

Hoping you’re avoiding all the winter germs!

Abby x

Small sustainable swaps

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about cutting out some of the unnecessary plastics in our lives. Today I want to talk about a few more quick and mostly simple swaps you can make to work towards a more sustainable future.

If you’re interested in some simple swaps, please read ahead.

1. Butter swap. Do you buy butter in a plastic container and keep it in the fridge? Did you know you don’t need to keep butter in the fridge? Buy your butter wrapped in waxed paper and keep it in a butter dish out of the fridge.

Bonuses here:

  • eliminates unnecessary plastic
  • it’s cheaper
  • you’ll usually find it right next to its plastic contained friends in the cold section of your supermarket
  • a butter dish looks nicer at the dinner table than a plastic butter container
  • your butter is always spreadable

And if for some reason you’re still buying margarine, please stop! That stuff is just rubbish!

2. Meat free Days. By now it’s pretty common knowledge that the farming of animal products is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the world. Reducing the amount of animal products you consume will substantially lessen your carbon footprint. Why not have a few meat free days a week? I had a vegetarian year last year and found some great recipes that we still use today:

We now eat meat a couple of days a week in our house, but I’m tempted to go back to vegetarianism again soon because I felt so much healthier when I wasn’t eating any meat and of course there’s the environmental benefits!

3. Compost! If you don’t have a compost bin, contact your local waste management service about a biodegradables bin for fruit and veggie scraps. If your food scraps go into general waste they will take longer to break down, release methane and will never go to any good use. Composting or putting them in your green waste closes the cycle!

4. Buy laundry powder in a cardboard box instead of liquid wash in a plastic container. Easy swap!

5. Yoghurt. Instead of individual serves of yoghurt in little plastic containers. Buy just one big container, and serve in a reusable container. We have this great little yoghurt container that you freeze ahead of use, and it keeps your yoghurt cooler for longer. Miss 4 takes it to preschool with plain Greek yoghurt and a few frozen berries inside.

6. Cleaning with vinegar and bicarbonate Soda. It’s considerably cheaper than all the chemical laden cleaning sprays in the store, and better for you and the environment.

7. Swap chewing gum for mints. Did you realise that chewing gum is just pieces of plastic you chew and throw in the bin? I must admit this hadn’t occurred to me until very recently. I’ve swapped to Crown Mints, as the only waste at the end is the one big plastic bag, rather than multiple small wrappers and pieces of chewy plastic.

8. Swap disposable nappies and sanitary items for cloth nappies, cloth pads or a menstrual cup. This comes down to personal preference really, and is probably not a ‘simple swap’ but is definitely something work researching and trialling even if only on a part time basis. We went part time cloth with my youngest child, and it was definitely more work, but manageable while I was a stay at home mum if only a few nappies a day.

I’m always looking to improve, and work towards a more sustainable life, and one small thing at a time seems these easiest way to build up to any lasting change.

Do you have any simple swaps to add to the list?

Do you do any of these same things?

Abby x

The backyard

In a few weeks time we will tick over 6 years in our house. I might have thought we would have completed renovations by now, back then when we first started cleaning, painting and fencing. We didn’t know ourselves as well 6 years ago. We thought we would extend our little 3 bedroom 1 bathroom home, adding more bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, because that’s what people seem to do. But we changed and the plans changed and the pace changed. So we’ve ticked off a few to do’s and have a heap more still waiting for attention.

The main drawcard from day dot was the big backyard. We’re on a half acre block with a creek running through the back half. We knew it would be a great backyard for kids one day, and we were right!

And so, while it’s a space that is forever changing and evolving, I thought I’d share a little overview of how it is right now.

We’ve focussed mostly on the veggie garden and fruit trees this year, and expanded the veggie garden into what used to be a lawn area. We’ve always grown a little bit of our own produce, but have recently been working at it a little more seriously, with a goal of growing and producing at least 25% of our own food by 2023. I hope we hit that goal much sooner!

This winter we are growing – snowpeas, broad beans, onions, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, potato and carrots as well as all our fruit and nut trees. It’s been so much fun checking on their progress every day, and watching the kids walking around the yard picking and eating snow peas or sampling the coriander.

Outside of the garden progress is a million different other little projects at various stages of completion. The ideas man has been very busy over the years building tank stands, a pizza oven, a cubby house, my potting shed, a straw bale wall and numerous garden beds. Our backyard is a kids paradise. We don’t have much in the way of traditional kids play equipment, but we do have lots of rocks and sticks and dirt which is just as much fun!

The next backyard project that we’re working towards will form a lawn border that raises up to sitting height in the middle, and is filled with wine bottles. This project will take a while as we have to drink enough wine first! Haha!

And I will always always be adding more and more plants. We love our backyard and all it’s interesting quirks. Like sunflowers trying to flower in July…

Looking forward to a few days in my backyard this weekend! I hope you get a little sunshine and dirt under the finger nails too.

Abby x

Is it Spring yet?

I feel as though it’s been a really big week, though I don’t have much to show for it, and my to do list is longer today than it was at the beginning of the week.

We had a family birthday to attend last Saturday night, 2 hours drive from our home, so we decided to book a BnB for the night and make a weekend of it. We took the two hour trip over 5 hours, saying Hi to horses, stopping at bakeries and playing in a forest along the way.

It’s a trip I’ve made many many times, but never taken the time to slow it down and explore along the way before. Sometimes the restless kids who cant sit still for 2 hours are a blessing!

We had a lovely weekend in our little BnB, seeing family and eating delicious birthday cake. It was just the right amount of time to freshen up the batteries a little, without creating the inconvenience of having everything looked after at home while we were away.

After the long slow drive up on Saturday, the kids feel asleep in the car during the trip home on Sunday, and we got through the whole two hour drive home before they woke up again.

Once home again it was back into the usual. Gardening, cooking, washing and dealing with a hot water service dying a slow horrible death. A fun issue we’ve been trying to sort out all week, and finally having sorted out today, with plumbers installing the new hot water service as I write this.

The week days have gone by in a blur of school holiday activities, impatiently searching my veggie patch for things to pick, uni work, tradesmen, crocheting and preparing my wardrobe and relief teaching bag for next term.

In preparing for relief teaching again next term I have wasted countless hours scrolling through resource websites, Pinterest and Instagram for lesson ideas, resources, clothing and bag ideas. I’m finding the majority of information coming out of America, and the Instagram accounts of American teachers on summer holidays is leaving me extremely jealous! Not helped by my parents stream of photos on Facebook as they enjoy the sunshine in Northern Australia right now! Haha.

So, I’m just going to go snuggle up a little closer to the fire with my crochet, ignore the to do list for a moment, maybe put on an extra pair of socks, and start counting down the days until Spring arrives.

I hope this post finds you somewhere warm and snuggly!

Abby x