Friday, December 31, 2010

Zumba - Day Eight

Day Eight

Today starts with me thinking about when I should do Zumba.  When I catch myself thinking like that it usually means I don't want to do it really otherwise I wouldn't be thinking about it, I would just do it!  So, after I put Bubs down for his morning kip, I hop on the computer.  Then I hear it!  Zumba music!  Liam has decided HE wants to Zumba.  I'm starting to think that he is my personal trainer.  I mean, Rick has given up, he'd rather work, so my new Zumba buddy is my 2 year old son.

As Liam and I are Zumba-ing away, Rick walks in (he only had a small job on this morning), looks at us, looks at the TV and then flops on the lounge. 

Me: "Do I look as retarded as I feel doing this move?"
Rick: "Yep"  He's over it.  Gee thanks.

Well, it is done for another day and I am thinking, will I continue this after the 10 days?  How long does it take for a good habit to form?  Only two more workouts before measurement time!

I haven't heard much from you lately . . . methinks it's only me and Liam now.  We'll soldier on!

xxx BNF

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Zumba - Day Seven

Day Seven

As my facebook friends would already know, my 2 year old son Liam surprised me yesterday.  Liam knows how to use the DVD player (he is very careful with the DVDs so we let him- despite the old bit of drool or fingerprints!!).  I was on my computer when I heard the Zumba music playing and was surprised to see that Liam had put it on despite the pile of Bob the Builder, Playschool and Toy Story 3 DVDs sitting there.  And not only that, he was doing ALL the moves!  I was sooo impressed.  He continued his routine as I skyped my sister in Berlin, Germany.  At first I thought he was doing the Beginners but later realised that it was the ADVANCED one.  Way to go Son!  Hahaha, infact, as I am typing this, Liam has put the DVD on again!!  Hahaha, he's put on the Abs, Buns & Thighs and is just sitting on the couch (slightly miffed as to why Beto and Natalie are lying on their backs on the floor and not jumping around- oh well, he's going with it!). He is as crazed as I am.

I have failed you the last couple of days with not only NOT doing the Zumba Challenge but not even updating you!  House guests and then ferral kids is the excuse reason.  So today, inspired by my 2 year old, I thought I would do the Advanced session hoping to make up for 2 days of not doing it.  Boyoboy, Advanced is hard (for me anyway!).   Liam ran circles around me - no really, he did!  As I was doing the moves, Liam was literally running in a circle around me!

Me: "LIAM! Stop that or you are going to get hurt!"
Liam: "hahahahahahahahaha- aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh" as he goes flying across the room from my leg kick (part of routine- I was watching the DVD not Liam!)
Me: "LIAM!  Are you ok?!"
Liam: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA" gets up and continues to jump around my legs, run in circles and grab my legs trying to run UNDER me! 

This continues several times!!  Eventually he gives up and Zumbas to the side of me.  Fun workout!

Liam has now given up on the Abs, Buns & Thighs and has now gone to Beginners.  Strange child.

Do you have children?  What funny foibles do they have?  I love hearing what other people's kids get up to - I'm comforted to know that there are other crazy kids out there too!

Have you been Zumbaring?  How do you feel?

I feel great apart from the ferral kid situation where I have had reduced sleep and have comfort eaten (stacks of christmas chocolates in our fridge!!)- I have noticed that when I have eaten chocolate, I don't feel so spritely a couple of hours later.

I would love to hear from you!

xxx BNF

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zumba- Day Five (What happened?!)


I can't even bring myself to put the Zumba graphic up as there was no Zumba!

Here are my excuses the facts:
1. Brother-in-law and his wife came and stayed with us for 2 nights
2. Queen sized mattress was in middle of loungeroom floor (my dancefloor!)
3. Rick's decided to go to work today and tomorrow (probably to get out of doing Zumba!) and kids are underfoot
4. Kids are now watching their favourite retro Playschool (80's, gotta love it) and the Zumba DVD just doesn't cut it against Noni and Bonita & Co.

Will I Zumba today?  Hopefully- I must admit I have a new distraction today.  On Monday my friend R, lined up in the Spotlight sale queues to get me a brand new sewing machine.  I haven't opened it yet as my in-laws arrived just after R delivered it.  We are off to Spotlight again today to pick up some accessories.  Sew excited (sorry, couldn't help myself!)  More later about that . . . .

How are you going?  Your comments and emails have kept me motivated, we are over halfway now!!

xxx BNF

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I've Got Knits!

I am itching head to toe for knitting.  It is like an infestation and I can't knit fast enough.  Problem is the faster I knit the more mistakes I make (the yarn I am using splits very easily).  I don't think I will knit another adult-sized garment for a little while . . . they take too long for gratification!  But then again, crafting something is as much about the journey of creating as it is about the finished product.  If it weren't, then why do we hop onto the next project so quickly?

So my next knitting project is for children.  I am borrowing this book Baby Beanies and hope to make a number of these happy hats soon.  Have you knitted any of these beanies?  Being a beginner, I have just discovered that 10ply yarn is not readily available in Australia.  I've gone on but I am lost and can't seem to find an affordable supplier.  So I will have to adjust two of the beanies to 8 ply methinks.

Baby Beanies: Happy Hats to Knit for Little Heads

Then I hope to knit this beautiful number from Harumidori Designs (photograph taken from this website)

Have you knitted anything by Harumidori Designs- her designs look so lovely!

I can't wait to tell you when I get to start these projects and show you my photos!  If you have knitted any of these, please write a comment and tell me what you think or how you went!

xxx BNF

Monday, December 27, 2010

Zumba - Day Four

Day Four

Me: "Rick are you going to Zumba with me or continue napping on the bed?"
Rick: "I vacuumed and mopped the floor, that has to coun-"
Me: "No!  I heard that excuse yesterday about mowing the lawns!"
Rick: "But I mopped with heaps of hip swaying"
Me: "Not buying it, get up!"
Rick: "Alright!!"

And so began day 4 of the Zumba challenge.  Rick likes to play 'hard to Zumba' but he really loves it!  Today, he got really into it!

And so did Dean!

Dean's rubber-necking trying to see the next move on the DVD
Me: "Aww, can you feel it in your legs?!" puff puff
Rick: "No, I'm fit!" smug smug
Me: "Well . . .  I'm co-ordinated!!"

Time to have a shower!  How did your Zumba go today?

xxx BNF

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Zumba - Day 3 (christmas post-mortem)

Day 3
I think I better start with my confessions:

1. My Zumba work-out goes for 42 mins (not 1 hr)
2. I didn't Zumba yesterday (Day 2 - Christmas)

I had all good intentions of Zumbaring on Christmas but it was scheduled for after we got back from Forster.  We left rather late and didn't get back until 10.30pm by which stage I was very very tired.  I am not beating myself up for it.  I hardly ate anything despite yesterday being Christmas, the annual eat-yourself-silly-day AND this challenge was to counteract the anticipated gorging which didn't actually happen. So there, rationalised and justified!

I must say though, I am seriously thinking about renaming my Zumba routine to Bumba (as in fatty-boombah) due to the amount of latino-style jiggling that continues on my body long after I've stopped dancing!!  Nevermind, a work in progress.

This is how my Zumba went today:

Me: "Rick honey, you wanna Zumba or are you just going to lie on the couch?"
Rick: "I mowed the lawns this morning, I think that should count towards the Zumba Challenge"
Me: "Ok, but don't look at me, you can watch the chicks on the telly do it"
Rick: "Alright, if I have to!"

And then after the workout I go and give Rick a cuddle:

Rick: "Babe, go and have a shower"
Me: "Do I smell?!"
Rick: "No, you are sticky and I am fresh, don't cross contaminate me!"

Goodness gracious me.

How did you go yesterday?  Anyone putting me to shame?  Keep it up, only 7 more workouts!

Here are my christmas treasures

L-R: one of my gorgeous 'steppies' Matt, Liam, Dean and Rick
I hope you are all enjoying this time-off with your families and friends- eat as much as you like if you are on the Zumba Challenge as it won't stick around.



Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTmas - blessings to you

Friday nights we like to catch up with a family that lives near us.  They either come to our place for dinner or we go to theirs.  It is such a lovely evening.  We eat yummy food then read a bible story to the children and sing songs.  All the instruments come out which consist mainly of toy instruments (none are in tune) and make-shift maracas made from containers filled with rice.  We joyously sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "Into My Heart" with as much gusto as we can and laugh and make noise.  This is such a highlight of my week.

I feel like we celebrate Christmas every week!  And really, we do.  Not Santa Claus Christmas and not Shop-til-you-drop Christmas and not "arrgghh we have to go here and here and here on Christmas"-Christmas, we celebrate CHRISTmas - Jesus. 

I was reminded by my friend that although Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, WE get the birthday presents . . . and in fact the presents are often the focus, not the birth of Jesus.

Picture from

My prayer this Christmas is that as we give and receive, let us not forget Jesus.

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (& daughters)." Galatians 4:4-5

Merry Christmas and much love,

Fiona (Brave & New!)

Zumba - Day One

Day One

6.09 am - no alarm, don't need one as Rick is either up or awake at this time.  I am usually trying not to wake up and this morning was no different.  Rick was up and I thought 'oops, he's ready and I am not' . . . well no, he got up but was coming straight back to bed!  I jumped out as I knew that if I didn't seize the moment it would pass and I would have failed the challenge before I even started!! 

Kids were awake too so they joined us (we tripped over them- poor fellas!).

Me: Who are you watching on the screen, the man or the women?
Rick: I'm not really looking . . .

We were puffed by the end of the warmup but persevered, baby on hips, toddler under feet.  I got a stitch halfway through and Rick (because of his terrible head cold) sat out the last third, holding the baby who was screaming to join in the fun again. 

Day two is going to be the real test!  Zumba is scheduled for the evening after we get back from a 1.5 hr trip. . . . this one is going to hurt. . . .

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last lazy day for 10 days!

A reminder that the Zumba 10-day Challenge commences tomorrow!  Today is your last lazy day for 10 days.  You and I can do it! 

Ok, I have taken my measurements (not weighing as we broke the scales- a slight motivating factor don't you think?!) and in addition to you, I have gotten myself a physical buddy to work out with.  Yes, my beloved Rick is going to shake his toosh with me!  He has promised to get up with me before the kids (arrgghhh 6 am!) for the workout.  Now even though we need to work out for an hour, I think I am only getting 30 mins from him.  Let's see how we go.

So, have you got your buddy ready?  If they don't want to do the 10-day Challenge, grab someone different each day!  Get your tape measure and measure where you want to see a difference (belly, waist, thighs, bust, arms etc) and jot it down.  Don't look at it again for 10 days.

Tonight, have your last hurrah with slothing on the lounge as tomorrow is the start of the new you!

Are you ready?

xxx BNF

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Humble Thanks - Singing Heart!

Shall I describe myself as a random gift giver?  Is that just a nice label for someone who doesn't always give christmas or birthday gifts?  Perhaps.  I like to give gifts for no reason, just because I saw something that I knew the recipient would love; just because I have this sudden urge to show my love for the recipient in material things; just because!  That doesn't mean I turn my nose up at the conventional gift-giving moments, but I have to say, I hate being told when to give a gift- And right now, everywhere I turn I am being reminded that I have to give gifts!  Hey, I like to give gifts out of season!  I like this because I like to receive gifts out of season like the flowers that I receive from my husband on a random date for no apparent reason make my heart sing!  I know I am going to get flowers on my birthday, mother's day and anniversary- but the surprise flowers are the best. 

So it is the unexpected gifts that I cherish greatly.  Take for instance these lovely icecream bowls

These almost duck-egg blue bowls were a gift from Beth & Shelley.  Aren't they beautiful?  I just want to load them up with scoops of brightly coloured sorbets and gelatos!  They make me wish I had an icecream churner so I could conjure up my own icey-sticky treats all summer. 

Since we moved up near Newcastle, our lovely friends, Beth & Shelley have been our dinner & canasta guests a few times.  Yes, it is Christmas but I didn't expect a gift from them!  They are so thoughtful and kind and we have a riot every time they come over. Who else can we Zumba with late at night after Nutella Cake?  Who else loves the groovy moves of the random dancer from Tracy Chapman's Give Me One Reason music vid?

Bella Beth
Shelley getting pummelled by Liam

Canasta- Shelley has to play an open hand under the table!
The bowls are a gift but I must say they really are a reminder of the true gift of friendship that Rick, the boys and I share with these two lovely people! 

And then there's my gal pal Jen.  I was surprised recently with this lovely piece of homemade love

I love hand made gifts and this is going to be cherished as again, it is a reminder of our friendship.  You can see how Jen made it here.

And the random gifts keep coming!  Today I received this beautiful book in the mail from Rachel- what a sweetie! 

Just after the postie knocked on the door with the book, my other Rachel friend popped over bearing these luscious babies.  I love herbs soooo much.  A gift that keeps giving (as long as my thumb gets green!)

And I can't end this post without a MEGA THANKS to Julie & Fraser for the yummy homebaked biscuits and Lindt chockies (camera wasn't quick enough- Rick and I can inhale chocolates!) and to Shelly L for the scrumptious chocolate-dipped star-shaped butter biscuits (another inhaler- sorry no photos!!).  These gifts were a total surprised and were loved!

What have you been given that makes your heart sing?  Tell me, I love a good story!

xxx BNF

Zumba Challenge over Christmas

I hate New Year's Resolutions so instead of pledging to be a better person from 1 January 2011, I have decided that my final challenge for 2010 is the Zumba challenge, starting before 2011.  Zumba reckon that if you do their hour-long workout everyday for 10 days, you will lose a dress size!  That means post baby me will go from a 16 to 14 in only 10 days.  And what better time to do it but over the Christmas/New Year break- if only to equalise the food gorging expected to take place and therefore I may just stay the size I am (better than getting bigger).

So who's with me?  Sign up by leaving a comment below and check in everyday for my updates and we can support eachother!  Let's start Friday, Christmas Eve 2010 and finish on Sunday 2 Jan 2011.  The prize is the brand new body you will have, the energy gained and the satisfaction of rising to this challenge- 10 days over Christmas! (yes I am crazy- had all year to do this!!)

If you don't have the DVDs you can join a class or ask around as I am sure every second person owns a set of DVDs by now!  You won't be able to purchase it in time before Christmas but you can get it here too.

Edited: Just saw an ad for Zumba DVDs, now being sold at Target!  No excuses!!

I know more people read this blog than are following so please leave a comment of support, I'd love to hear from you!

xxx BNF

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yummy Cakes for Yummy Friends

Relaxed dinner parties are so much fun.  When I say 'relaxed' I'm not talking about serving up three courses in our tracky-dacks on the lounge.  I mean, the guests are selected because the ease at which you feel around them and that there is no competitional impressing on the agenda (trying to out do their last dinner party!).

Last Thursday's gathering was relaxed and fun.  Our friends, Beth & Shelley attend uni in Newcastle, living away from home, so we just love having them over for a feast (usually only two courses- they are petite girls afterall!!).  I love when they come for a number of reasons but mainly because they love my children - perhaps I should say that Shelley LOVES & ADORES Liam.  Both girls come in and go straight the playing with the kids while Rick and I continue getting things ready.  Just perfect guests!!

In honour of Shelley's birthday, I made Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes and Chocolate Mud Cupcakes.  I linked the recipe for the Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes previously that I had first seen on Martha.  I didn't end up using the recipe but used it as a guide in creating my own version.

If you like the look of them here are the recipes:

Brave New Fiona's Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes (as inspired by Martha)

1. Using a sharp knife or apple corer, make a small circle incision in the top of the Vanilla Cupcake (see recipe below) going one third down, remove cut cake so you are left with a small well.

2. Fill each well with the prepared Lemon Curd by spoon or piping bag (I just used a spoon and a steady hand).

3. Pipe or spread Vanilla Butter Frosting over top of cupcake, being careful not to disturb the lemon curd.

4. Top with a fresh rasberry.  You can use a frozen raspberry but be sure to thaw them out on paper towel.

Brave New Fiona's Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup custard powder
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste (I prefer paste for the little spots- cheaper than beans)

1. Preheat oven 180C.  Line muffin tin with patty cases (I'm loving the choc-brown patty cases!)

2. Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, milk & vanilla.  Sift in dry ingredients and beat until colour has changed and is even.

3. Fill patty cases just over half full with mixture and bake for 15-18 mins. 

You can freeze uniced cupcakes.

Brave New Fiona's Lemon Curd

1 1/2 cups sugar
200g diced butter
finely zested rind of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (~6 large lemons)
6 large eggs

1. In a double boiler add sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice. Stir until butter is melted.
2. Meanwhile, mix together eggs and whisk into the double boiler mixture when the butter is melted.  Don't allow the mixture to boil and stir constantly for approximately 5 mins.
3. Strain before bottling into sterilized jars.

This amount is way too much for the cupcakes but you can use as a gift or fold through whipped cream for a lemony pavlova topping.  Or make some yummy mini lemon tarts!

Brave New Fiona's Butter Frosting

125g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture

Beat butter until fluffy.  Slowly add icing sugar mixture and beat until smooth.

I got the Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Ganache from Notebook's Little Book of Cupcakes and Cookies.  Although Notebook: is no longer in publication, their recipes are found on
With some of the left over lemon curd, I made mini lemon meringue tarts.

And the evening was topped off with two rounds of Canasta and a late night discussion on pregnancy and giving birth (Rick went to bed by this stage!!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Retromummy's Flower Sugar Giveaway

It appears I may have the early stages of fabric obsession.  It started with me reading about others who blog about it.  At first I thought it was so strange that so many people hop on the net and write and write about fabric and sewing.  Then I went to a friend's house who showed me her collection of fabrics like she was revealing her most prized possession.  She was so affectionate towards these folded, mainly floral patterned 'yards' of cotton who only today confessed to me that she can't bring herself to even cut some of them!  It is almost like they are her pets or children!  But it is happening to me too.  I want to 'adopt' a family of clean, smooth, brightly coloured fabrics to put away in a secret place to bring out when the kids are not around and dream about the different forms they could take when I have psyched myself into cutting them!


So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this competition on Retro Mummy.  I'd love one of my followers/visitors to win these fat quarter packs even if it means I miss out.  If you miss out, don't worry, you can also purchase this fabric and other lovely fabrics from Retro Mummy Store.  I have purchased items a few times from this site and have received excellent online service and advice from Corrie not to mention speedy delivery! Good luck to those entering (fingers crossed for me too).  Thanks Corrie, such a generous giveaway.


Friday, December 17, 2010

All I want for Christmas is . . . .

Aren't these NinjaBread Men gorgeous?!  I am putting the call out for someone to buy me these for Christmas!  Love them!  "They're cut out for action"  too funny.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2cm less a woman

It was remiss of me to let you know how I went with last week's challenge - Lemon Detox meal supplement.

1. Felt great!  Really cleared up the mind.  Had a head ache one day but it passed quickly
2. Lost 2cm!  Yes, 2 whole centimetres -  not exactly where I wanted to lose it first but I am not complaining.

The weekend saw a fairly tamed attempt at not dieting but Monday, Tuesday and Today have been really hard to get back on the wagon.  I am making christmas sweets so it has been challenging! 

What are your tips for keeping nutritionally focused at Christmas or do you just let it all go for the season?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knitting - the final frontier NOT

You know, I never want to get a reputation as a quitter so I just "shelve" projects.  Now, there isn't an expiry date on the shelving of projects, take for instance my latest renaissance, knitting.

My beautiful late Granny showed my sister and I how to knit when we were still in our single digits (8 perhaps?).  She was an amazing knitter, with beautiful tension consistancy and a can-do attitude (she was queen of unravelling and starting again!).  I feel terrible because she gave up on me ever finishing this jumper I started 10 years ago.  I miss her terribly (she was 97!) but when I knit I feel like I am keeping her alive in my heart.  I look at my fingers as the knitting needles click and my mind jumps through all the memories, moments shared, jokes laughed over and the "Oh blast, dash it all- I'm going to have to pull this back!".

Here's where I am up to
Just completed the front panel

This is the reason why I shelved it 10 years ago- couldn't cable!
This is where I am up to: sleeve 1

Back panel - only part I had completed before shelving!
 You may notice that there are some pulled stitches in this panel.  I was so happy when I realised that I didn't much more to go, only to find that Liam had hacked at this part with knitting needles (bless his cotton socks, he was trying to mimick me knitting!).  He has actually snapped some threads in the yarn so I have to pull this back and start shaping the armholes and neck again.  Oh well - *sings* the never ending knitting ahhh ahh ahh ahh ahhh ahhh  . . .

Here's what it is meant to end up looking like.

From Patons Bluebell 5 ply

I am such a scatterbrain, so my knitting patterns always end up scribbled on.  Do you do the same thing?

What's the longest you have left a crafty project for before picking it up again?

We are NOT ready!

I've heard many times that toilet training will happen when the toddler is ready.  I agree but I thought that perhaps I was holding Liam back because I wasn't ready.  You see, life hasn't been smooth sailing and moving to Port Stephens was going to be where I achieve all that I have put off.  Good news is, I am not holding my son back from abandoning the nappies the bad news is, Liam is not abandoning the nappies.  Oh well- not yet anyway.  This challenge is temporarily shelved.  I chatted with my fellow mum friends who gave me awesome advice (thanks ladies!) and checked out the internet like Essential Baby - Toilet Training Tips

To prove to you that I indeed have two little men in my life, here they are . . . .

Liam aged 2 years

Dean aged 11 months
 I am so grateful for my children - life's biggest paradox!  The only thing that can keep me sane and drive me mental all at once.  But that is love really isn't it? 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lemon Detox on the Rocks Thanks!

Since I have been drinking my lemon-cayenne pepper bomb cocktail I have been asked numerous times what's in it and does it work?!  I got it from here but have made a few changes as I am not doing the actual master cleanse but just supplementing my diet (to get through the hunger pains too of eating less!!)

Brave New Fiona's Lemon-Detox on the Rocks

Take a 1L bottle and fill almost to the top with chilled water.  I use unrefined tap juice and have not died yet!  Add to it the juice of 1-2 lemons (I use one at present as lemons are pricey), 2 teaspoons of maple syrup (the real stuff please) and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Put the lid on and shake!  Drink 1-2L a day.  You can omit the maple syrup if you are game or add some stevia.

And voila!  This is what you end up with

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My 1st Sewing Lesson

My Friday's are usually very busy.  It is the day that I like to clean the house top to bottom, get the beds made with fresh linen, and prepare meals for that evening, next day lunch and sometimes next evening too.  Did you know the bible calls Friday 'Preparation Day'?  Well, it appears I take it seriously as preparation is what I seem to do mostly then.  Shall I admit here that I hate mopping and usually fail to complete that task?  Well it seems I just did admit it but to put your minds at rest, we are not living with grotty floors, my wonderful Hubby does it (I do promise everytime that I will do it next time- only promise I seem to regularly break!)

Well, last Friday was a little different.  Jen from is a very special friend of mine (friendship spanning 25 years!) and has graciously taken the task of teaching me to sew!  I am not one of those people with fearless initiative to take on new things but she is and she is brilliant at it!  I'm so blessed to have a personal sewing teacher.  Friday was our first lesson (shared with another sewing enthusiast found online). 

Not a lot of sewing is happening in this pic and that is because I didn't actually get to sew!  But you can't sew until you cut - so lesson one was 'Cutting out the Pattern'.  How awesome is that fabric?  I can't tell you anything about the fabric as Jen supplied it but I do know the pattern is from the O+S range - a shirt for my 2yo son (who is mad mad mad on guitars!).  And that smile on my face was not for the benefit of the photo, I am genuinely stoked (and terribly nervous) to be cutting out my first pattern.  Hooray!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quilt challenge - TBA

Well, one of the challenges I am giving myself is to get crafty. I have always had a facination with crafty things but dared not attempt!  Fear, laziness, high standards, uptightness  . . . whatever it was that stopped me, that is going to stop!  I used to buy all the homey magazines (that's homey as in homes not as in rollin with my homies) and would drool over all the lovely hand made things. 

I have completed a small amount of knitted things (jumper, scarf, child's cardi and mobile phone pocket!) but it is the 10 year old unfinished jumper that has moved with me like an old pet to every home I've lived in that is bugging me.  So recently, I did something "brave new Fiona" and picked it up again.  I quickly realised why put it down in the first place - I couldn't understand the knitting pattern, couldn't count and really couldn't do the cable feature down the middle!  I started it in my impatient 20's and miraculously now in my 30's I am really noticing the difference!  Somewhere in the past few years I became more patient.  Woo hoo!  Have you noticed that about you?

I have taken photos of my knitting but haven't yet figured out how to download them off the camera- waiting for hubby to show me or rather, figure it out together as he hasn't downloaded any pics yet either.  I'll post them ASAP

Now to the quilt challenge.  As the end of my knitting quest is coming to an end (finally!) I am going to learn to sew.  My friend Jen has volunteered to show me and has even started me off by supplying me with circles that she cut out (she must know that me and scissors don't equal precision!).  I'll post them up later too.  Jen has done a good job at sparking my interest as I have been trawling the web for fabrics (oh my, how addictive is that?!) and for designs.  As I don't own a sewing machine (yet) I thought I would start with handsewing some hexagons.  And then I found this quilt!
It is from this beautiful barn in Victoria Red Brick Barn that I first saw on
First challenge is to figure out how many hexagons there are!  Or perhaps I can find a similar pattern on the web.  Any one got any ideas?

As for my 2 meal thing. . . I've done well but I have snacked today!  Arrgghh . . . one chocolate covered biscuit and one ANZAC biscuit . . . . I'm definitely hormonal. 

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes and Toddler tantrums!

I write this whilst Liam is chucking his umteenth wobbly this morning!  As I am wanting to keep this blog positive, I will not be recording the details of this one.  He is usually very well behaved but I think he has cabin fever as I haven't taken him and Dean out for a couple of days (I needed a break from packing up kids and carting them around!).

So I just briefly wanted to check in and say:
1. I have been taking photos, just haven't downloaded them off camera (love camera)
2. Hosting a small dinner party next thursday so I have been going through the old recipe books and various recipe downloads.

Here's what I think I will make for the dessert as one of my guests will be celebrating her birthday following Saturday:

This is a lemon raspberry cupcake from here

I'll let you know how I go!

And one last thing- still going well on 2 meals & lemon water concoction.  Not weighing myself but have taken measurements!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dean's crawling!

I thought it was never going to happen and that Dean would just go straight to walking.  Dean is 10.5 months old and until now was as stationary as a doll- could leave him anywhere and not worry about losing him (like a dog with no legs! ha).  But about 2 weeks ago, Dean decided he had enough with whinging and started actually trying to move but he wants to walk.  He finally has realised that he doesn't have the core stability just yet and is giving crawling a go.  Well, I am calling it crawling as it is getting him from A to B.  First he would roll to get around, then he did this caterpillar movement (quite hilarious and beyond my ability to describe!) and yesterday, bonafide crawling, if you call scampering around on all threes crawling!  Yes, he is kind of dragging one leg around in a kind of cocked position ready to stand and walk (he must think just in case he has to get up and run but meanwhile he looks like a wounded animal or amputee!).  Truly a funny sight, but kids are like that, funny.

Liam (2.25 y/o) has not really taken much interest in his little brother.  He would play in his company but not with him.  Occasionally, the two would look at eachother and just fall about in fits of hysteria, a joke that is known only to the two of them.  And only the other day I was telling a friend on facebook that I can leave the two alone together and not worry about Liam doing anything to Dean- all that changed today (what, can Liam read my facebook posts now?!).  Today, Dean decided to take a leisurely crawl through the living room when Liam thought that he would hitch a ride!  I was on the computer and looked up when I heard a blood curdling scream from Dean to find that Liam had jumped on his back and Dean had gone SPLAT like a flat pancake on the floor with Liam 'giddy-upping' on his back.  Far out!  I thought Liam was going to kill him!  Liam is by no  means a big boy but he is boney and thumpy when he lands on you (believe me, I have the bruises to prove it!).  Tears, sorries and kisses later, all is good.  I love my boys - they scare me and give me joy constantly!

So, the fridge came yesterday and only about a third of our food got thrown.  It was a hot day but whatever couldn't fit in the esky, was placed under the artic winds of the aircon.  All is good.  Ate party food last night and topped it off with a Maggie (Magnum- almond flavour- I'm affectionate about my sugary food). 

Still going good on the 2 meals thing but I think that I must now work on reducing my actual meal sizes and perhaps should not eat desserts- it isn't as pleasurable as it was last week- maybe I am detoxing afterall!

I've come up with next week's challenge, and believe me this is a challenge big time.  I am going to start, no excuses, toilet training Liam.  Yes, it is time!  Problem is I have recently baked a batch of Happy Bickies (Walnut Maple Cookies) that are loaded with linseed and Liam can't get enough of them and in return he can't poo enough!  Loaded nappy after loaded nappy!  This will be interesting.

My other challenge is to get some photos up on this blog.  You'd think with the new camera and all, I would be snap happy but I warned you, I am not an early adopter of new things.  It takes time.  I figure with one person following me (hi Jenny), I can take my time (sorry Jenny- working on it I swear!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

*sing* Monday Monday

The boys and I haven't been to our regular Monday morning playgroup in weeks!  It seems that something is always happening on Monday from babysitting other children to disease and mayhem! 

Today it is waiting on the delivery of our new fridge!  Yay!  The current fridge is so loud that everytime time it switches itself off it makes a racket like someone just cracked a joke- boom-boom boom ching!  And the frost-free function should be rented out to the ski fields for snow making!  But it is 11 years old, bought before I settled down and I think all married couples should get new white goods in the early years - its like planting a tree, as the years go on, so do the fridgy memories . . . all the different food fads, disasters and so on. 

The other thing about this fridge is that it is an 'upside down' fridge.  Why do they call them upside down?  Surely having the freezer on the top is upside down?!  The freezer on the old fridge hardly ever got visited which it enjoyed reminding me.  Everytime I opened the jolly thing, the door would silently glide back towards close, bumping my arm so irritatingly, over and over again, like a nagging child.  And the other consequence of having the fridge section at the bottom meant that the 'crisper bin' resembled more like a compost bin!  I have been having fantasies about opening the new fridge and seeing at eye level all the contents of my fridge and not needing to worry about my produce amnesia as there it is all before me!!  Can't wait!!

Due to my poor planning, I have a freezer full of food that I fear will go off as I don't think that you can start up a newly delivered fridge for a couple of hours (must remember to check the manual before plugging in - or can I trust delivery men for advice?).  So tonight is going to be a freezer feast!  Spring rolls and cheesey parcels (party food- yum), magnums and vegie patties . . . interesting mix really- mmm might need to rethink if I don't want to get a belly ache.

Ok, so today is also the second day of my 2-meals-a-day challenge.  So far so good.  I have decided to tackle the hunger pains with a concoction of water, lemon juice (1 lemon), maple syrup (2 tsp) and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (extra hot!). I put it all in a 1L bottle and have been swigging ever since.  Cayenne pepper is good for the blood and I am hoping it is good for clearing out fuzzy brains!  So, I expect to be eating a meal at 11 am and then dinner at 5pm (swigging my spicy cocktail in between - hope my pee won't sting!)

Gotta go, BB just landed on my lap and despite doing my pelvic floor exercises I am not confident in my 'long-range tanks' anymore.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What happened to my Sunday?

As anyone with kids will attest, the day can disappear so quickly when you don't want it to!  I love the pace of Sunday.  Yes, some cleaning and washing often occurs in the mornings (hubby doing the lawns or messing about with his boxes of tools and toys) but the rest of the day is a mystery - what shall we do today?- endless possibilities (paradoxically, kids-allowing) . . .  a morning of sheer optimism!  So today, Hubby and I decide that it is about time we got ourselves a decent camera and off we trot to the local Homemakers.

Being Sunday, most shops don't open for trade til 10am and being us, we arrive at 9 am!  But the Westfield across the street obliged us with coffee, choc banana smoothie for Liam and a run around.  I bought a trifle bowl (tired of presenting christmas trifle in an old glass mixing bowl) and a pressie for my friend.  Oh what a perfect morning with the kids being so well behaved.  Usually a trip to the shops entails a couple minor tantrums and even the kids get upset!  But today, all good. . . . until we went to Homemakers, seeking out the Goodguys.   Well, Hubby says that he knows exactly what he wants and won't be long so I should just stay in the car with the boys.  The boys were behaving brilliantly for me (wish they did that for Hubby when they were waiting for me whilst I tried on bras a couple of weeks ago- wouldn't have rushed and bought a boulder disaster).  It was hot today so I had the fan going, and BB and LB love their CD so I played it.  20 mins goes by and they are still fine but the radio cuts out.  25 mins and I think uh-oh . . . so I turn off the fan.  30 mins and we are cooking, kids are both crying and I am wondering where the heck Hubby is.  I ring to tell him to hurry and that I am going to turn on the engine for air con.  Then I phone him back to tell him the car won't start!  NRMA say that they will meet me at Bunnings (like where?) in about an hour- NO WAY, not with two little kids crying for naps and cool air. 

I am so glad I am not living in Sydney anymore.  You can certainly ask people for help and quite often people will help you but it seems to come with an irritance, or they ignore you hoping you won't ask so that they don't feel obliged to help.  When I was pregnant with BB, I fainted at the bus stop and the 5 other people standing in the queue with me didn't help me up, ask if I was ok or help me get on the bus- all of them infact left me there and scrambled on the bus!  Today, feeling like I was going to have to be forthright, boldly asked a man for help and you know, he did very obligingly.  Hubby had wondered off to find help too and was met with the same friendliness- I love this place!  Not even 10mins later, we are back on the road and I am cancelling NRMA.  And to top it off, Hubby loves his new camera.

We have just come home from an early dinner out with a couple of friends and their family.  My friend passed her medical exams- exams that doctors take 6 months off to study for but R did it in 5.5 weeks.  I am sooo proud of her- she's a legend.  And tonight we celebrated as best as we can on a school night with little kids in tow.  But it was lovely and my kids love her kids and the night was great.  Home early, kids in bed only 1 hour passed usual bedtime and no washing up. 

Now for this week's challenge: eating only 2 meals per day instead of 3+.  I am not active enough to justify the amount of food I consume.  So the challenge started today (being the first day of the week) and was achieved with no problem.  But today I had plenty of distractions.  Tomorrow the real challenge will begin.  What do I hope to achieve? Clearer thinking and weightloss.  I'll let you know how I go!

For now, it is time to get ready for bed.  Good night.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Eye's closed and not thinking too hard about it

From the outset, I must begin this blog with a pledge. I will:
1. not use this blog to whinge
2. not use this blog to bad mouth others (unless fake names are used and it is essential!)
3. try to be unboring

I am new to blogging - both ways - not just writing but following.  I am not what you call an 'early-adopter' of new things (usually the last one to try something!).  I'm X-gen but virtually sitting on the cusp of Y-gen, yet I had to get my stepdaughter to sign me up to facebook!  But this blog is named Brave New Me as I am going to do some new things myself!  And it seems, after a brief perusal of other blogs, that blogging is an excellent way of recording life, sharing thoughts, sewing patterns and recipes!  Toss in a little accountability (ie updating blog) and I have great mix for the 'new me' (apart from sewing patterns cuz I can't sew!).

Well, I actually started writing this blog on a piece of paper because I was turned off by actually going on line and figuring out how to start a blog - not a good start to the 'new me'.  In fact, pathetically, some of this blog is copied from my notes from a couple of days ago.  That is ok, I'm here now.

I may have already broken pledge point #3 . . . I'll work on it.
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