life as pen knows it

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a change of mood

a tipoff at a friend’s garage sale led to the purchase of this fantastic addition to our lives.

so now we’ve got plans for piano lessons. i did piano when i was a child, so now i’m sitting at the keyboard trying to channel all those old memories. it worked for knittng, crocheting, and sewing, so i’m sure it’s only a matter of time before scales and tunes come tinkling out of my fingers!

we are a little squeezed in our playroom/PenPal studio/workroom/art room/music room but when our neighbour offered us this, we managed to add this in as well.

it has seven games – backgammon, table football, air hockey, table tennis, ten pin bowling plus some others i can’t remember. and all kid sized.  it’s been so much fun already!


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soothing and sewing

we’ve all been sniffing a bit with this sudden cold snap. we seem to have gone from summer to winter, and skipped entirely over autumn. so 3 days at home over last weekend was time to start using up my fabric stash.

i found fabric i had totally forgotten about (ahem) i mean put carefully away. so i washed, dried, ironed, planned, and then sewed the requests that had been building up. “pets please” they always ask. so voila.

“she doesn’t have anyone to play with” really? have they looked around the playroom? and harvey wants an owl. a big owl. as big as a cushion. and cordury.

so by the time they were all named, shown around the house, fed, wrapped up, pushed around in the pram, put down to sleep, and cuddled – the sniffly days were over and everyone had been happily occupied.

and many bowls of Thai sticky black rice with coconut milk made everything good too.

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the first activity that occupied ALL DAY!

aaaah, the young paleontologist at work, with his trusty assistant (“she’s on work experience, she hasn’t finished university yet”) out on their first dig.

and there he stayed, pretty much all day. the assistant wandered off to look at books, watch tv, eat fruit, play vets, and much more. but he persevered till he had found all the bones of his dinosaur.

after a swim at 4pm, it was back to the museum basement to clean up their finds, and assemble the beast

a wooly mammoth!

thanks grandma for the fantastic and very popular birthday present! it was worth holding onto until the rain stopped. wet red clay is not as much fun for me  to clean up 🙂


2011 already?

it’s been a fun time, lots of rain, some sunshine, and even a few days away. there’s 2 weeks left of school holidays and we’re squeezing in the activities! today is our first day spent totally at home. my new family calendar from kikki-k is fantastic as my “external brain”.

new years day boardwalk at currumbin creek

sasha's first karate class

biggest (7) and littlest (1) cousins

sunny days away

a new creative space

swimming in the rain

did i mention the rain? we’ve had 4 sunny days in 4 weeks. i hope for some lighter rain for the last 2 weeks of the hols 🙂

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we’re eating mangos it must be summer

we still only buying them a few at a time, but it’s nearly time for a tray of mangos under the sink, a permanent fixture in our kitchen until well into january.

the stone fruit has appeared and nectarines and blueberries are being consumed in embarrassingly large proportions.

our playroom (used to be the dining room until about 4 years ago) has been tidied up, cleared out and is ready for summer playing with the deck doors wide open. you’ll see my space-saving idea here of a table over a cupboard. so fabulous as the cupboard is my grandmother’s glory box, and now serves as our art cupboard as behind those doors are 3 wide drawers. perfect for storing all the art supplies, and easy for the kids to help themselves.

the blue ikea table (what did we do before we had this???!!!) is a moveable one, and can be moved well away from the carpet play time, the flurry of play-kitchen activity, and the stool is used to play comfortably with the dolls house. in fact i think it is standing on the stool to play with the dolls house that makes the dolls house sooooooo popular.

here they are, looking so much taller every day. twice-daily swims in the pool have started with both kids doing amazingly new things every day. today it was harvey swimming 2 laps of the pool underwater. amazing for such a lean little fella. his time in the pool is spent 90% underwater, 10% doing bombs into the pool. miss s has her new foam bubble firmly attached to her back and is breast-stroking her way around the pool, that face getting further and further into the water every day. we’ll see her underwater with marine boy before the end of november for sure. her very words.

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cardboard boxes

a cardboard box, it’s always fun.
a dolly’s bed
hold on, i could fit in that
tuck me in please
a kiss goodnight

night nighty sleep tighty

we can both fit in i’m sure

remember muskettes from darrell lea? the kids bought a packet each in the last school holidays and limited themselves to 5 each day. needless to say, there’s still some left and i’ve been munching on them. musk just tastes like pink doesn’t it?

i was going to get them a little bottle of “dolly mix” but it’s a glass bottle. i couldn’t even see them getting out of the shop without smashing to the floor! remember those? i remember getting them as a special treat and loving how each one was like a little plump striped – and sticky – pillow.

we’ve been feeling very smug with warm sunny days up here in currumbin. t shirts and a cardigan in the afternoon. but today the expected cold snap blew in with a cold windy day. back on went socks, tracky pants, long sleeves and even hats. the markets this morning were great but very blowy. there are strawberries aplenty this close to spring and we’ve been enjoying our favourite indulgence – cooked strawberries.

a punnet of ripe or overripe strawberries, leaves trimmed off and cut in half if they’re huge

a splash of water

1-2 T sugar

simmer gently for 10-15mins. cool and serve over icecream or porridge.

if there’s a lot of juice left over that you don’t want to use (???) add it to the next batch of cooked strawberries instead of the splash of water and these ones will be even more syrupy.

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park life

we’ve had some lovely sunny days this winter, especially in the recent school holidays. my friend Julie is a photographer and we spent a morning at the park with a bunch of mums and kids. We just love how she records our lives.

Have a look at more of her work at, you can follow her blog here too. If you’re lucky enough to be a local to the Gold Coast, you can visit her at her photographic studio at Bridezillas Bazaar, 44a Wharf Street, Tweed Heads. She can organise your event totally with floristry, hire, invitations, chair covers, all with invidually designed personal details just for you. Love your work Jules!