Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No blackberries today!

Sadly, this Autumn we did not had the chance to pick any blackberries. Dad chopped down all the easily accessible bushes (which always bore a lot of fruit), Daniel works all week, and then I work and play soccer on weekends. Mum went away and I didn't want to leave Nicholas asleep and alone in the house while I wandered around the property picking blackberries, plus the nice Autumn days have been few and far between. I also couldn't imagine carrying Nicholas on my back and walking around my parents very uneven property in the wet and cold, so it just didn't really happen.

I was afraid having kids would somehow impede on the things I enjoy doing, such as preserving fruit. In some ways it has and it hasn't. If I didn't have Nicholas I would have happily walked around picking blackberries alone and in the cold. It's been done before. But because I don't want to risk tripping, for instance, and hurting Nicholas, I just didn't bother. I've also found that before Nicholas it didn't matter if I stayed up late preserving. Now for obvious reasons I want to be in bed before 10pm, which means I have to be a lot more organised, something I am not particularly great at.

Thankfully, the Thermomix makes preserving super easy. I just put the fruit and sugar in, set the timer, turn it to the correct speed and off it goes. All I have to do at end is just pour the jam into the sterilised jars...so easy. So even though I am disappointed that I didn't get my hands on nay blackberries this year, when I saw a bunch of jamming figs going cheaply at the markets I couldn't pass up the offer.

So I got all the ingredients prepared:
Figs, sugar and lemon juice,
Put them into the Thermomix, set the timer and let it go.
When I returned, it was finished :).

I definitely I want to plant a fig tree this winter, but like the mulberry tree it can get huge, so I'm not quite sure if we have the room in our backyard for it. I guess we'll just have to find some!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Soccer: Round 4

It feels like weeks since our last round of soccer. We started with our first game and then nothing. Round 2 was moved to May because it was during the Easter long-weekend, and then because of the uneven amount of teams Round 3 for us was a Bye. This means Round 4 is actually only our second game, and even though we lost, we did score our first goal. Woot! In the end the score was 3-1.

It certainly wasn't a bad game this weekend against Olympia Blue, and I would definitely say that our skill level was quite evenly matched. Sadly a few easy goals got in, including a penalty in the box and it quickly put us behind.

The game was played at a pretty quick pace, with lots of good passing and lots of shots on goal. From what I saw at the back of the field, in right full-back position, we had majority of possession most of the game, we just had trouble getting the ball into the back of the net. The one goal we did get though was great. Emily ran it down the middle of the field, then passed it off to Hannah on the left, who kicked it and scored. It was well executed and well timed. Just what we needed after 80mins of play and no goal. Earlier in the game we missed out on a header, from a beautiful corner kick that hit the top of the goal bar and bounced off. It just wasn't our day to score goals. Despite the lack of goals, I still think we played really well as a team, and will continue to improve as the season continues.

I actually played in a right-full back position this week. A position I haven't played in for a long time, but I really enjoyed it. I remember when I first started playing soccer, all those years ago, I was placed in this position and told to just man-mark. It took me back a few years. I just hope that my skills have improved since then. My main struggle though is with my speed. I am just so slow. I struggle to keep up with players and get the ball once they are on the run. Also, since having Nicholas I feel somewhat fragile. A feeling I've never had before. I'm somewhat scared to go in and tackle. I really don't want to get injured. If I injure myself I can't look Nicholas properly and so maybe I am a bit reluctant to play 100%. At least I am aware of it, and I hope that I can overcome it.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to next week's game. It will be out first home game. I'll try and get Daniel to take some pictures as well :).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Birthday!

This weekend we celebrated Nicholas' first birthday. Although a month early, because of work and soccer on weekends, it was a wonderful day and the weather was surprisingly perfect. It was warm and sunny and all the more better because all our close friends and family shared the day with us.

All Nicholas' closest little friends came along. So many children in our life now. It is wonderful. Nicholas enjoyed eating cake for the first time and spending time with all his friends.

I decorated the backyard a tiny bit with bunting that I made for a friends wedding and picnic rugs. I even splashed out and made Nicholas his own birthday bunting from coloured paper and twine.

I tried not to overdo it with the food as it was only morning tea, so I just kept it to the essentials. Jelly cups with fruit, my Mum's delicious cream cheese and curry dip, bread and dip, and bright green muffins.

Emily, my wonderful sister, who is so great and talented at decorating cakes, helped me out quite a bit with Nicholas' first birthday cake. We decided to make a bear seeing though we often call Nicholas 'Nicholas bear'. 

I love how the cake turned out. I wouldn't have been so game if it was only me making and decorating the cake. I would have only made a face and I'm pretty sure it would have turned out terribly.

I just can't believe that we have almost had Nicholas is almost a year old. It has just passed by so quickly. I never imagined how much joy one little person could bring to your life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thermomix adventure no. 1

So I did something recently that I never thought I would do. I spent an obscene amount of money on a kitchen appliance. But not just any kitchen appliance I might add... a Thermomix. And I must say, this is one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I think it is fantastic. It saves time when cooking and motivates me try new food, and since it arrived on Tuesday I have been using it two to three times daily.

On Tuesday, after it was dropped off, at 3pm in the afternoon I used it 3 times. I made a carrot salad, cauliflower soup and quince paste, and the quince paste turned out amazingly.

I used some quinces I picked up from the side of the road, and I followed this quince paste recipe I found on the Thermomix community site. Unlike my attempts at making quince paste last year this was surprisingly easy because it avoided all the time wasted in straining the paste to make it fine and smooth. 
Here I am cutting everything up.
This is the core and peel after it had been blitzed, and before the water had been added.
Here it is after being cooked for 25mins, but before being strained to get the liquid out.
After cooking for a massive 50mins it is ready to be placed in the tray to cool and set.
Such a vibrant red colour.
The end product: so smooth and tasty :).
 I am looking forward to all the Thermomix adventures that are ahead of us.

Friday, April 13, 2012

11 months

Not long until Nicholas is a year old! It's gone so quickly.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little People

Nicholas and I have been attending a few little people's birthday parties this past month, so I made a few little presents and cards.

First I made another cap, but this time a size bigger and in brown corduroy. So cute.

I love this little hat. I think I am going to have to make one for Nicholas.

Then made another pixie hat, and a colourful card for a cute little girl I know.

For the last first birthday we attended, I made this card...

and gave the little one year old a wonderful children's CD by Holly Throsby called See. This is a great sound track which is super kid friendly. The songs are catchy and easily stick in your head for days afterwards, which is a problem when you don't know all the words yet. They are carefree and have a childhood naivety about them which I love. And even with winter drawing in when I listen to it, it reminds me of summer. Nicholas always bops up and down when he hears it. I have even been singing one of the songs during swimming lessons at work, "I'm going to buy you a motor boat and we'll go 'put put', over the ocean...". It seems quite appropriate. This is the only song I can find that has been put up on YouTube so far. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Semester 1

I'm not sure that I have mentioned this yet, but I am back at uni for my last semester of study this year (unless I fail something). I am taking two subjects, and only have one adjective to how I feel about the whole situation: apathetic. I have an assignment due this week and it is taking all my motivation to finish it. It is just soooooo boring. Only 7 weeks and 3 assignments to go and it's all over (except for a prac). Can't wait!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Soccer: Round 1

I have been training, but I still feel unfit. I lasted 85mins in a 90min game, but I was tired and could barely run. To be honest I could barely breathe. I need to get fitter!

If you haven't guessed it soccer season has started again and I decided to give it a go this year after taking last year off. I am enjoying kicking the ball around again, getting out of the house and being by myself for a while but I am unfit and rather slow. The girls we played against today were fast. I was constantly having the ball taken away from me. I felt weak and useless. Hopefully, with a bit more training and a few more games I will feel a bit stronger.

In the end we lost against Kingborough 6-1. I am ok with this. As a team we haven't been training for long. Plus, it can take a while for a team to find its groove, especially when we have new players and old ones coming back after taking time off. We worked hard but their shooting skills were impressive. Cassie (our goal keeper) just didn't have a chance to get to the ball in some of them. In top left and right corners, right out of reach. I'm sure not even a pro would be able to catch those! We did score one goal though and that boosted everybody's mood. Maybe we'll get two next game :).

As I look forward at the season ahead, I have a feeling it is going to be a difficult season with a few losses. This is the nature of moving up a league. The girls are more skilled. It is faster and a lot more competitive, but we will get there. As a team we work hard and that will be a real strength for us.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the season, which will hopefully be injury free for all involved :).

Here is a little picture of Nicholas during the first soccer game.  It was such a beautiful sunny day.

This is the caption Daniel used on facebook to accompany the picture: Watching mum play soccer is nail biting stuff.