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

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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

The simple things

Yesterday was an absolute cracker of a day. We woke up to fog, and it was freezing, but once the day warmed up it was glorious.

The kids and I headed out for babycinos and a wander along our Main Street, walking past one of the big box stores which lured me in with its bare rooted trees in the front window. Two kids in tow I went in to look at the trees and realised that it was day 1 of their giant toy sale. I had a 3 and 4 year old with me. Big mistake.

So we wandered around aimlessly while the kids ‘I want’-ed at everything, past people with multiple trolleys full of toys, cranky kids, and long long lines at the lay-by counter, and then much to my children’s disgust, we walked out without buying a thing.

Without all the shiny coloured plastic in front of their faces, the moment we were home all the new toys they desperately wanted were forgotten, and they amused themselves in the backyard with some PVC pipe and an old tennis ball for over an hour.

The lesson was mostly lost on them, but I’m glad I paid attention.

The shiny, glitzy, magic stuff is all well and good, but it comes at a cost, and quickly becomes old. Happiness is made in the simple everyday things. Those shiny expensive dopamine hits sure are fun for a while there, but they don’t last.

And so, after a week of making myself miserable, looking at Facebook memories of our trip to New Zealand at this time last year, and Disneyworld the year before, I had to adjust my lens a little. Yes, those shiny exciting holidays were amazing, but it’s not realistic to lead that kind of life every day of the year. It may not be the ‘making your dreams come true’ kind of magic, but there’s little patches of magic in even the most ordinary of weeks.

Everyday magic moments this week:

1. I went to Bookclub on Sunday, feeling guilty because I had not made any attempt to read this months book. As everyone slowly rolled in we quickly discovered that in fact, none of us had read the book this month! So we ate cake, drank coffee and talked about what we had been reading instead. It was one of my favourite bookclub catch up’s to date.

2. After talking about dyeing yarn last week, I had another attempt over the weekend and managed to create one I love. Now I need to find a project I love just as much to work it in to!

3. I found our first little broccoli emerging in the veggie garden, and then after pretty much giving up on my cauliflowers, I spotted my first purple cauliflower popping out.

4. Penny left the Cinderella shoes on just long enough for us to get a photo.

5. The master baker of the house (read: not me) baked tiny loaves of bread, so we could have tiny pieces of toast, that made my avocado look giant and my breakfast taste delicious.

6. and miraculously, I got a mid week post in this week! If you missed it, check out my crocheted scarf pattern post here.

So whilst it wasn’t ‘Milford Sound’ or ‘taking the kids to Disneyworld for the first time’ levels of magic, there were sparks of magic in the everyday. I just needed a 3 and 4 year old to point it out for me.

Wishing you all magic everyday moments this weekend.

Abby x

Friday again

I always have the best of intentions for a mid week post, and then in the blink of an eye it’s Friday again and I didn’t get around to it. I went so far as to write and photograph a crochet pattern to share with you last weekend, and yet it still sits handwritten in my notebook waiting to be typed. Next week? A toddler scarf pattern is on its way anyhow, maybe mid next week. Probably next Friday…

Things I HAVE achieved this week –

We’ve been helping to prepare my husbands Grandma’s house for sale and had a bit of a family working bee last weekend. We sorted through books and towels and kitchen appliances and while there was definitely not a high volume of ‘stuff’ there, it did make me think of the Swedish death cleaning trend and what a great idea that is. So if you come to my house in my retirement years and find I own only one tea towel, two coffee cups, two knives, forks, spoons etc – you’ve been warned!

I also helped out with rebuilding a rail/balustrade and painted it during our working bee. It’s probably a year or more since I last had to paint anything. Not my favourite job, but this was pretty quick and painless. Now I’m wandering about my house constantly noticing how badly my walls and ceilings need repainting and trying to muster up some energy for kicking into that boring job!

We walked away with a few bags of yarn and a trailer full of pot plants too, both of which have kept me pretty busy since!

With huge quantities of yarn to play with I’ve been crocheting in every spare second. Mittens for each kid and I started a new blanket, which I’ve been lugging about the house and to craft night in a big basket.

I also had a play with hand dyeing some plain wool with food dye during the week. I wasn’t happy with the colours, but had great fun with the process. I will have another play with some different colours this weekend.

Mid week I discovered that Miss 4 seems to have grown 2 inches over night and desperately needed some new jumpers and jackets for kindy. I ended up getting her a jacket and track pants in the boys section of Target, because I was so disappointed in the girls section options! Read more on that here.

Sticking to what I know best, I headed to Savers on Thursday and picked up a pile of clothes for both the kids and myself.

For the kids I ended up with 2 x skirts, 2 x shorts, 2 x dresses, 2 x jumpers & 5 x tops.

For myself I bought a coat, a vintage jacket and a pair of shoes.

All in great gently used condition, in brands – Witchery, Zara, Cotton On Kids, Milkshake etc.

I love Savers. We’re doing a kindness to the environment by using what already exists instead of supporting the fast fashion industry, we’re typically buying better quality brands than I could justify spending money on if purchased new, we often find really cute quirky items not found in the big box stores and we’re saving bucket loads of cash. My only regret is not getting started shopping there when my kids were babies! Oh the money I could have saved!

Aside from all that I’ve been…

Reading

True Stories by Helen Garner. This is my second Helen Garner read, and I love her style!

Listening to

The Slow Home Podcast – my absolute favourite podcast. The link here will take you to last weeks interview with Rob Greenfield about small steps we can take towards a better world. A great listen!

Planting

My celery seedlings, ground covers, poppies, pansies and transplanting all those pot plants into our garden!

What have you been making/reading/listening to lately? Do you think you’re the Swedish death cleaning sort? What great secondhand bargains have you picked up recently?

Happy weekend folks.

Abby x

Sydney

It’s been a big week.

The kids and I had colds, I was solo parenting for most of the week, my uni semester winds up today and I had a final assessment to complete before we flew to Sydney on Wednesday. None of those things on their own seem like a big deal, but when you add them all up you need a lot of coffee.

So the week that was…

There’s bulbs popping up all over our yard, and I can’t for the life of me remember what they are, so I’m looking forward to when they flower.

The kids were Where’s Wally obsessed for most of the week.

Miss 4 has been carrying a container of rocks around with her all week and they’ve been arranged in all kinds of interesting ways all over the place. A little container of rocks even made it to Sydney with us!

Miss 4 packed her own suitcase for Sydney

It may not look much, but she has two different types of wand in there, so as my Mum pointed out, she should be able to conjure up anything else she may require!

We flew to Sydney on Wednesday, and though I wouldn’t say the two hour flight with a 3 and 4 year old was ‘easy’, it was definitely much easier than a couple of 16 hour flights I once did with a 1 and 2 year old!

It’s been all puppy cuddles and Sydney things since then…

There’s lots of coffee, no assignments and the adult to child ratio has gone from 1:2 to 4:2. The week ends much better than it started.

How has your week been? Have you measured your days in cups of coffee?

Wishing you all relaxing weekends.

Abby x

It’s been a while

3 years or so.

My last post on Mummy Doesn’t Bake was after completing a quilt for the baby boy I was pregnant with at the time. That little baby boy of mine is now three years old, and though he’s not that much a ‘baby’ anymore, he’s every bit the ‘boy’.

And that little baby girl I used to write about? She’s now my chatty, bubbly, FOUR year old ‘kindy girl’

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Those who’ve walked the path of young children will understand why the posts stopped. The foggy years of babies and toddlers are incredibly rewarding and ridiculously exhausting, and only now as I tentatively step out the other side of that fog, do I feel I have anything to give to a blog again.

I’ve renamed the space ‘Abby Sewell’, simply my name, because for however accurate the ‘Mummy Doesn’t Bake’ title was, three years gained wisdom has taught me that defining myself by what I was not, was not a particularly inspiring way to live.

So here we go again. The content will be a little the same, a little bit different. The baby content is out, the funny things my kids say is probably in. I’m still crafting, reading, gardening and getting on my high horse about social justice issues.

If you’re still interested please stick around. If REALLY interested find more of my oversharing on Instagram and a few of the things I make at Etsy.

For now I’ll leave you with the treasures retrieved from my pockets after the walk home from Kindy today, my ‘big kids’ being all cute with each other and the very clever weed that popped up in my front lawn, sporting pretty pink flowers, therefore guaranteeing I wouldn’t pull it out.

Weeds are sneaky. Watch them…

Abby x

 

 

A new path!

This week we (well not so much me) have been working on the path between our house and the sandpit.

This has been on the to do list for at least a year, but due to the labour intensive work, has been put off and put off time and time again.

Here’s how it all came together:

The path and sandpit border are made from recycled old red bricks, that Matt painstakingly removed old paint, mortar and concrete from, before laying them.

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IMG_5529I had the very important job of wetting the bricks and handing them to him!

The rock on the inside is also recycled. It was advertised as a giveaway by a landscaper, making over a garden.

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The process of finding the perfect placement for each rock was almost another painful process.

Once placement decisions were made, Matt tried taking some panorama shots of the layout, before removing them.

All the panorama shots were hilarious!

IMG_5561Thankfully he had a chalk reference system as well.

After a weeks work, the path is done, and I was finally able to make a garden bed.

IMG_5570Now there’s only another 23 metres of path to go on the other side of the sandpit…

Slow and steady wins the race!

Abby xx

 

Welcome Spring

The first week of Spring feels very much like Spring in my little part of the world. The weather’s warmed up, and we’re spending all our spare moments outside in the sunshine.

Our garden is showing signs of Spring, and I can’t wait for it all to be a mass of flowers. Though I feel sorry for Matt and his terrible hay fever, when they all appear 😦

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We’ve got our first few blossoms on the almond tree.

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and the apricot tree is showing signs of life. I’m expecting a good season out of this tree after I accidentally left the hose running on it from our rain water tanks, and gave it a good 10,000 litre soak. Oops! So now we’re waiting for a bit more rain to replenish our stocks.

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There’s flowers popping out everywhere in the creek.

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We’ve got more strawberries.

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and I’m finally able to hang washing outside, in the sun, on my brand new washing line! Now to get some lawn or pavers under that line!

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We’re spending more days out on the back lawn or in parks, on our picnic blanket, and every time I pull it out I think that I should really make a pretty one to use this Spring and Summer.

I’ve just ordered some summer hats for Miss E, so we can spend even more time out in the glorious sunshine.

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T-Rex and I are patiently waiting for our expensive stick (Maple Tree) to sprout some leaves.

I’ve bought new bathers and I’m starting to look seriously at the state of my summer wardrobe. I think that the short shorts and singlets that made up the majority of my wardrobe the last few summers may need to be retired and replaced by some more mum-appropriate outfits this spring and summer.

It won’t be long and we’ll be having BBQs’s and salads most nights, my feet will remain firmly in my havianas and I’ll have to deforest my legs! Haha!

Spring, I love you!

Abby xx