I had my 20 week scan the day we left for Melbourne, which made for a very hectic morning. But it was definitely a fun way to start our holiday. Three days in a car to choose a baby name, but we still haven't 100% decided, I'd say we're 90% there.
Anyway, my scan led to some special Christmas presents from our family.
Because by then they all knew that we will be having another baby girl!! A little sister for Matilda. So excited now.
This past weekend we really got back into the swing of things.
Friday night we had a little dinner with some old friends (my friends from high school). Some of them I haven't seen in a few years because now they live in England and then ones that live close, well it had still been more than 6 months!
Saturday we spent at a little cousin's first birthday party. It was all very pretty and girly and flowery and fun. We all ate lots of cake and lollies, yummo.
I made the birthday girl a little outfit as part of her present, I want to make Matilda one of these dresses too, they look so cool and comfy for the hot weather we've been having.
However, we are back to holiday mode for the next 2 days now. Matilda and I are headed to the Gold Coast tomorrow for the day and then up the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday. Friends and swimming and more fun to be had. Poor G has to work, but we will think of him while we're enjoying ourselves. Maybe. You have to love summer holiday time.
In case you're looking for a good recipe when you have friends for dinner I made the lamb below, and it was really good (if I do say so myself). The recipe is from this cookbook and seriously if you're looking for some good relaxed dinner party kind of food you should get it, everything I have made from it has been good and nothing has been too difficult either. It's definitely on my list of favourite cookbooks at the moment and has been for at least a couple of years now.
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
165g baby spinach leaves
1 handful flat-leaf parsley
Steep the muscatels in the wine for 30 mins to soften. Put them in a small saucepan with the honey, lemon zest and 60ml of water. Bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to a very low simmer and gently cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
Mix all the spice mix ingredients together on a plate, then press the cutlets into the spice mixture, turning to coat both sides. Set aside.
Start preparing the spinach salad. Put the onion, lemon juice and olive oil in a large bowl with a pinch of salt. Mix together and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb in batches for about 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cutlets and how well you like your lamb done. Set aside and cover lightly to keep warm.
Toss the spinach and parsley through the onion mixture, then divide the salad among serving plates and top each plate with the cutlets. Add the pine nuts to the honey sauce, drizzle over the lamb and serve immediately.
I cooked the lamb on the bbq and I just put it all together on a bit platter for people to help themselves. Yummy, I want to eat it again.
We spent our New Years Eve on holidays with G's family in Bright.
What better to spend your New Years Eve when you're staying in a holiday house in country Victoria then to have a Hawaiian party. Styled with some beautiful fake hibiscus from the $2 shop and we even found a wooden pineapple dish in one of the cupboards, very authentic.
It was planned though, so I had bought Matilda an outfit from home.
My mum & dad went to a wedding on Thursday Island last year and they had bought Matilda home a muumuu so her costume was all ready to go. I sported a fetching pink plastic grass skirt and lai from the $2 shop and G had borrowed a Hawaiian shirt from his uncle.
Apart from our rockin' New Years, we spent a pretty lazy and relaxing week with the family. Swimming in the pool or the river, having BBQs for dinner and we even visited the Emu & Deer Farm so the kids could feed the animals.
It was nice to just hang out for a bit before we had to face the drive back home to Brissie.
Despite the floods in NSW which we thought might have caused us some problems we made it back with no troubles (other than G getting pulled over by the cops in Goondiwindi for failing to stop at a stop sign, coming out of a service station! grr) and after being home or a week Matilda has fallen back into her non-daylight savings sleeping routine. Which is good because she's going to bed at 7.30 again but bad because she's also waking up around 6am again too, I was getting used to my sleep-ins in Melbourne.
So we're back, facing reality and getting back into the rhythm of things. 2010 hey, amazing. I have some plans for our little family this year. Nothing too major, but definitely want to get some stuff done around the house before we become a family of four. Then, come May we'll be adjusting to having a new little bubba to play with... hopefully that goes well for all of us, including Matilda. I am excited for this year and hopeful that it's going to be a good one.
I haven't really made any resolutions this year, no new ones anyway. But I must admit, I do start every year hoping that I will not proscrastinate on stuff as much as I always do and that I will be a bit more organised and efficient generally in my life. Maybe 2010 is the year! I am ever the optimist (maybe the right word would be dreamer). Hope the start of 2010 has been a good one for everyone else too.
Now, after that marathon catch-up attempt - back to our regular (sort-of) scheduled programming.
We spent 3 days driving to Melbourne with lots and lots of this...
and thankfully, a fair amount of this -
We took it fairly easy, driving about 600km a day and having lots of stops to run around in parks, look at nice old house, have lunch at country sandwich joints and buy cherries from farms. We stayed in one incredibly dodgy motel in Moree and one really nice motel in Young. We listened to a LOT of Yo Gabba Gabba on the new DVD player we bought for Matilda for Christmas (we gave it to her early) and we even got the chance to listen to some music of our own choosing while she slept.
It was definitely a relief to arrive in Melbourne though. We stayed with one of G's Uncle + Aunty's which was really nice, thanks! It was great to be able to stay somewhere where Matilda could run around and not get into too much trouble, she even helped (I'm sure) with some gardening.
We spent a lovely week before Christmas catching up with lots of friends and family, meeting new babies and playing with some toddlers who were just babies when we left. The time was over way too quickly though and there was no time for visiting all those special little Melbourne shops, cafes or restaurants that we have been missing. I think we might need to plan a child-free weekend trip to Melbourne for some of those adventures, and while we are at it I wouldn't mind another one in Daylesford and maybe one in the Yarra Valley - I better start saving and sucking up to the Grandparents!
Then, before we knew it, Christmas was upon us. Christmas Eve we partied with G's family at his Dad's house. Matilda behaved herself and slept well in the port-a-cot while we feasted and began the present opening at midnight. And we were extra spoiled when she slept in until about 9am on Christmas morning to open her presents.
Of course there was more food on Christmas Day, we had a great lunch with G's cousin and his family and friends... then a lazy Boxing Day before heading up to Bright with the family for more holidays and New Years.
Well, I never got around to posting again before Christmas. But here's a quick catch up on what the weeks before Christmas were like in our household.
Obviously the tree went up and presents were wrapped. This year we had to keep it all safe within a play pen so the presents didn't need to be wrapped 100 times each, and this way we only had one decoration breakage.
I managed to finish most things on my handmade list (although I did no baking this year).
Matilda got her Santa Sack, but baby number 2's will still have to wait.
I made the Socialite dress to go with my sister's present. I made it from really light-weight cotton and I figured that worn without a belt it would be perfect to wear around the coast for our summer annual beach holiday.
A sausage dog to accompany a Hairy McClarey book for a little baby cousin.
A pencil roll for Matilda. I made/bought her a bunch of little presents to unwrap in the car on the way to and home from Melbourne, mainly little activities and things she could play with in the car.
And finally some special Christmas PJs for Matilda. G's family celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and since Matilda would only be awake for a little part of it I figured she could have special Christmas PJs rather than a dress this year. Together with some special Peter Alexander sparkly slippers (like these, but pink), she was all ready to party (and then sleep!).
Sewing completed and Christmas presents wrapped, we had a small and early Christmas dinner with my family since we wouldn't be spending Christmas with them this year. Matilda took to unwrapping presents no problems this year, a good training session for what was to come in Melbourne.
So that done, and while G took Matilda out to see some Christmas lights I packed our bags and we headed on down to Melbourne.
Oh, and I forgot, I also made another tutu and headband for Matilda's little cousin in Melbourne. Ok, that's really it for before Christmas.
I finally read Time Traveller's Wife last Christmas and I was so excited to hear that Audrey Niffenegger's second book was going to be published in 2009. My sister gave me this book for my birthday and I devoured it while we were in Bright for a week just after Christmas.
I actually think it's kind of a creepy book and although I really enjoyed it it's the kind of story that left me a bit angry with the characters and the futility of some of their decisions. That wouldn't stop me from recommending it, I'm just saying it's not all light-hearted and happy holiday reading.
A great follow-up to the Time Travellers Wife I think.
We're back from holidays and I have a bunch of stuff to post from before, during and after Christmas that I still haven't quite managed to do yet. I think I am just about there. I thought to get back into the swing of things though I'd catch up on a couple of posts about my holiday reading so far.
I started this book just before we left on holidays for Melbourne and it really is perfect holiday reading - easy, interesting, quick to get into and satisfying. Perfect. I have read Ms Shaffer's previous novel, The Three Miss Margarets, and I really enjoyed that too so I think I'm onto a winner.
This is Carrie's story about dealing with her own mother's death and trying to understand the decisions made in her life - so it follows the story of three generation of women, working in the theatre in America from about the mid 40s until now. I always seem to go for these generational stories about families, especially the women in them.