Online Safety Contract for Tweens and Teens

Just a quick post to share with you a contract for those of us who have children who are using the internet.

This is a contract for children which you could use when negotiating the agreed use of the internet with computers or iPads etc. Or tailor to your own agreement with your children.

It is from the Family Online Safety Institute. Click here to view.

We will be using one in our family. 



I recently finished reading the book Eyrie by Tim Winton.

I have mixed feelings when I read Tim Winton’s books, and this one is no exception.

On the one hand, he is a very talented writer. I enjoy  his keen observation and articulation when he describes the nuances of social strata in contemporary Australian society. I enjoy how he develops his characters and they come alive to me.

On the other hand, I find his plots in which he showcase his talents quite mundane and not really of interest to me. They are quite depressing and despairing. I also struggle initially with how he writes in his character’s “ocker” voice. It always takes me a while to “get it” before I can settle down to a more fluent reading of the story. Which is why I have picked up “Cloudstreet” to read so many times and just can’t get past the first chapter…..yet.

The plot is especially depressing in this  book.

Will I read this again one day? Probably not.

Am I glad that I read this book once? Yes.

Have you read “Eyrie”? What do you think?



Brassicas, Chocolate Cake, Lemonade Tree and Family Dining

2014 march brassica seedlings

My brassica garden is doing well. In the forefront are the kale seedlings, and most of the seeds which I planted germinated.

Further back in the garden bed are cauliflower seedlings and broccoli seedlings. At the time, I didn’t stick the little labels into the garden as our new puppy loved to pull them out and carry them proudly around the garden. I wish now that I had recorded which row was which in my notebook. Oh well, it will just have to be a surprise. I will need to thin them out soon, so we will be preparing another garden bed this month. We have the garden bed, we just need to assemble it and buy the soil.


2014 march lemonade tree

We have planted a lemonade tree, close to the back door. A girlfriend has a lemonade tree, and she grows the juiciest lemons, so I have taken her lead and planted one of our own. The first week or so after planting, Mia tried daily to dig up the tree, however, I found that by putting some lawn cuttings around the base at mulch deterred her. In recent days, I have noticed some new foliage appearing, so it looks as though the tree is settling in well now.

My snow peas have germinated. I planted 8 and all germinated. Yesterday, I transplanted them to their new home, against the fence. I will be buying something like chicken wire so that I can trellis them up the fence.

My lettuce plants have kept me in salad for lunch each day, which I have been enjoying. I have now planted some more seeds, so that I can have a continuing supply during the coming months. I have also planted some english spinach seeds, so hopefully they will germinate and I will have some seedlings in a couple of weeks time.

2014 march cake bakingmarch 2014 chocolate cake

My daughter and I enjoy baking together, and this is one of her favourite things to bake and eat – chocolate cake. Each time we make it, she becomes just that little more independent, so much so that she just about makes this herself, with me just supervising lightly.

While she was icing this cake solo, the cake tipped over, and ended up down the front of her dress! We laughed till we cried!

2014 march dining table

We have been looking for a great family table for our large dining area. Our little Ikea round table with 4 chairs has served us well, however we need a bigger table to accommodate our lifestyle of family and friend gatherings and a future addition or two to our family. We found this great table. It is Victorian Ash, and we hired a van, drove down to Sydney on the weekend and picked it up. It was preloved by this lovely couple on Sydney Harbour. They are retired and have moved to a smaller place, and this table didn’t fit in their smaller home. This furniture is very solid and beautifully made. The kind of furniture that we can have “forever”.

I am looking forward to many years of family and friends gathered around our table.


Gratitude, school route and kangaroos



On the way to school this morning, my daughter and I came across these beautiful kangaroos.

I am so grateful that this serenity is our daily experience, instead of the traffic and noise which we left behind in the city. This is a gift that we have given to ourselves, and I am glad that this is how my daughter will remember her primary school years.

I just knew that you would love to see these too.



Lettuce From My Garden

2104 march lettuce

A little while ago, I planted some lettuce seedlings in my garden. I started with about 15 seedlings, but with bouts of scorching weather and a new puppy around who liked to copy me digging in the garden,  I ended up with  3 lettuce which survived.

This week, I have started to pick some leaves to have as a side of greens with my lunch each day.

Words cannot convey just how luscious and crunchy and fresh these lettuce leaves are!

Setting Up a Raised Garden Bed for Brassicas

On the weekend, we set up a garden bed for our brassica crop.

In this bed I have planned on  growing  broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

Firstly, we purchased some soil that was suitable for vegetable growing, enough to fill a garden bed which was 1m  wide by 2m long. We purchased 10 bags, which cost about $80 altogether.

brassica garden bed 2

Then we assembled the raised garden bed. This we had purchased from Aldi for $40. We put recycled cardboard from our house moving boxes on the bottom of the garden bed. This will break down over time.

Then I made some troughs according to the packet instructions. I planted a section with broccoli, a section with cauliflower and a section with kale. I have tried eating kale once, as it is said to be a “super food”. However, it was really expensive, so it seems a good idea to grow my own. Then I can pick the leaves as I need, and I would eat it more regularly.

brassica garden bed

Then some watering, and looking forward to some sprouting over the next couple of weeks.

Little Green Village Bean Chilli


I made this bean chilli for dinner last night. This is a recipe that I have developed and tweaked over a year or so, until it suited our taste buds. It is now on a fortnightly rotation on my menu planning. This recipe makes enough for 6. I then freeze the rest and it is ready for a meal during the following week.

This recipe is  great for a “meat-free” dinner, and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans also.

It is really important to thoroughly rinse and drain the canned beans first. So there is no follow up  “tooting” if  you know what I mean. ;-)

Little Green Village Bean Chilli


2 X 400g cans butter or navy beans, rinsed and drained

2 X 400g cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 X 400g cans diced tomatoes

1/2 cup corn kernels

2 brown onions

2 cloves of garlic

2 zucchini

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin


In a large pot, cook minced onion and garlic in a little water, adding a tablespoon of water at a time.

Add zucchini, corn kernels, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin and canned tomato. Stir through to mix thoroughly, and cook for 5 mins.

Stir in white beans and kidney beans and bring to boil.

Turn down heat to simmer and cook for 30 mins.

Serve with steamed basmati rice and a side of broccoli.

The Book Thief


This is my second reading of “The Book Thief” by the Australian Author Markus Zusak. I liked it so much the first time that I bought it on Amazon in January to have in my permanent collection.

The movie has been made of “The Book Thief”. My Gal Pals tell me that it a wonderful, must-see movie. Being the kind of Gal who needs Kleenex to get through this kind of story, I will probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD to watch it in the privacy of my own home, curled up with a big box of tissues. This story has a high Kleenex Index.



I have recently planted some basil seedlings. The photo above is from February 14.  In the past, I have had trouble growing basil.  My plants either died, or were savaged by those ferocious snails who loved basil as much as I do.

Touch wood, my basil seedlings have been flourishing. They have survived little Mia running through, being flooded by heavy rain this week, and so far no snails.

I spotted a ladybug this morning on a leaf. Below are photos which I took of them this morning.


I am looking forward to harvesting some basil leaves to make some basil pesto this week.