Sunday, July 22, 2012

Regional Flavours

Regional Flavours was held this weekend at Little Stanley Street, South Brisbane (at Southbank).  Last year the kids and I went to it for the first time so we made sure it was on our calendar again this year.  We headed in about 10.30 am and stayed for about 3 hours.  Any longer than that and the parking costs were ricidulous and the kids were ready to go home as well.  It was much bigger than last year and the styling of the event was so organic and natural and I was very impressed.
Now in its fourth year, Regional Flavours plays host to more than 100 of Queensland’s best food and wine producers from 12 different growing regions; South Burnett, Far North Queensland, the Granite Belt and Lockyer Valley will all be represented, plus many more. The wonderful outdoor setting of Little Stanley lawns in the Parklands, South Bank will be transformed as the country comes to the city for a celebration of sumptuous food and healthy lifestyles.

Friday, July 20, 2012

James first time to Suncorp Stadium

A couple of months ago James went to see the local Brisbane Rugby Team "The Bronco's" play at Suncorp Stadium for the first time.  To say he was beside himself with excitement would be an understatement, and that was even before he went to the game.  He went with his friend Tate who is a big Bronco's supporter and his family (our good friends) and he had an amazing time.  James couldn't stop talking about this event all night, the next day and into the following week.  He got to see Darren Lockyer up close and just had a great time.  What a great memory for James and I'm glad Tate's Mum took these photos for me.  I've got her well trained....thanks Jo


Friday, July 13, 2012

The Cookbook Project

A few years ago back in late 2009  I came across a blog called "Sew Liberated" and read a post on her experience creating her own Family Cookbook.  I've always wanted to create my own after seeing her post and my sisters and I have talked about it over the years because we have our family favourite recipes as well.  She used a company called "TasteBook" and my understanding is that along with your own family recipes you can also select from a huge range of available photos or recipes to include in your cookbook if you like.  So lets say for instance that you've made some fresh pasta but haven't ever taken a beautiful photo of it, you could search their site and just include a picture from their website of theirs. 

The great thing about this particular cookbook is that it's in a binder format so later down the track if you need to get some more pages printed you just order those and then pop them into the binder.  In other words, if during the year you come across other great recipes given to you from family and friends you can just go ahead and get them printed and add to your book.  I was immediately drawn to the cover of old handwritten faded recipes and it reminded me of my own mothers "spirex notebook" which she hand wrote hers in.  I did have a conversation with my Mum back then and we spoke about her hand written notebook of recipes.  I will have to take another look into this as I want to photograph those pages so I can include my own mothers hand written recipes as they are personal and have history and meaning.  I could scan them page by page however the quality would be better if I just take a photo of them.

So the family cookbook has always been on my "wish list" when I get around to it (like finishing up December Daily 2011 and WITL 2012 (printing and photo book).  The other day I came across Sarah's blog again called "Clover Lane" and she has written about finally creating the most beautiful Family Cookbook called "Cooking on Clover Lane".

This was all the motivation I needed to start this project.  This is not a project that will be finished in a month and not something I will spend every day on however what I will do is start the process of going through my recipe binders to see which recipes I still use, which ones I have filed and will probably never make.  Just because I tore something out of a magazine years ago and its' in the binder it doesn't mean it can't be thrown away.  I started out with the one 3 ring binder with tabs for the different types of recipes.  Over time the file got so big so I decided to get smaller 3 ring binders and they would have their own recipes.  This way it was a light file to get down off the top shelf of the pantry and it was more manageable rather than keeping the one big file and every time I opened the binder it was so full, they would fall out.  So I solved that problem by smaller binders but now I want to put them into a photo cookbook with some of my photography.  Below is a picture of my pantry at my last house and the white binders up on the top shelf are what I'm referring to.  It would be good to replace all those with one book because I have a much smaller pantry at my new house.

Sarah's aim was to take a photo of her finished recipe however, after a while that seemed like a huge task (did I mention she is the mother of 5 children) so where she didn't have a picture to go with the recipe she substituted it for a family photo.  This makes it so personal and I just loved the idea.  A photo for each recipe reminds me of the movie "Julie and Julia"....could prove to be a bit obsessive.  If you had a hand written recipe that you always use that was from your Grandmother perhaps you could scan the B&W photo of your Grandmother on the opposite page.  Just because she gave you her jam drop recipe it doesn't mean you have to have a pictures of  jam drops.  I think everyone knows what a jam drop looks like so a picture of your Grandmother would be more personal.  It's your book and you are the creative director in charge.

My goal would be to have a cookbook by Christmas but it's not a deadline, just a wish.  I am rallying a few friends (half of them don't know this yet) to jump on board and do one for their family, the more the merrier.  I thought we could start by putting forward 5 of your "tried and true" best recipes that you know look great, taste great and would be a family favourite.  Apart from creating a special cookbook for your family it would also be an opportunity to get some other great recipes that our friends are making for their families.  I would also include a Christmas Cooking Section as between my sisters and I we have our "traditional" recipes we each make for our Christmas gatherings and Lisa makes the family Christmas Cake which is Mum's recipe.  At least I've already got photos of that I've taken in the past.

Other things you could include along with the recipe is the story of how the recipe came from and the story behind it as it's nice to know those extra little details.

We could get together every now and then and do a taste test and bring the recipe along which is a good excuse for a coffee and a chat and like any project the more the merrier I think.  Each person would do their own photo book, it would not be a collaboration of all these recipes and 10 of the same books printed.  Sorting through current recipes is the first place to start and this could be done in front of the TV at night "keep" or "throw" and declutter.  Also any recipe we come across that is the WOW factor while we are sorting can be shared.  Over the next 5 months or so all you would be doing is gathering "your recipes for your cookbook" (ie, your recipes + the ones others have shared and you like).

The last step is to go on-line and start the photo book process and upload everything.  It looks the above two companies have templates for cookbooks so you don't have to be a designer to create one.

Getting together with my friends with laptops for a few hours and coffee would definitely be on the cards as women can multi-task really well.  We can upload photos, drink coffee and carry on two different conversations with two different people at the table at the same time.  Sounds like fun to me and there won't be any shortage of "what will I make for morning tea".

Have you thought about gathering your family recipes and combining your own beautiful photos into a lovely book?  If you know of other great companies doing "cookbooks" that you have tried or heard about I would be interested to hear about your experience with them.  I love the idea of the binder so I could add a recipe when I got more of them but the "Cooking on Clover Lane" Blurb style book is what I would like to do.  I could always start the first one off with Part 1 so that there could be a Part 2.  Either way preserving your families recipes and having a personalized cookbook is something I will be doing.

If any of you have Julie Goodwin's first cookbook the style of that book was brilliant and on the inside covers it has copies of hand written recipes on top of each other like patchwork.  When I saw the inside cover I remembered about Mum's spirex notebook.  I'm very excited to be starting this project and at the end of it all I will be able to share my cookbook.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alice (James Grade 3 class mate)

On the 12th January, 2012 late into the evening we received the twitter message that everyone was dreading, Alice had lost her battle with Leukemia.  This beautiful family had lost their 8 year old daughter and 3 siblings had lost their sister.  Today marked the six month anniversary and our school had everyone wear something pink or green to celebrate Alice's life and her favourite colours.

I took these photos back in September last year when Alice was home from hospital and her family and relatives (and trust me there are many of them) had put on a wonderful 8th birthday party for her with a fabulous table decorated with sweet treats and very girly colours.  I'm not sure who was responsible for the table set up and I can't even remember what it looked like now, but I do know that I remember it was wonderful and it all looked so lovely.

Alice was diagnosed with Leukemia on the 5th September, 2011 and passed away on the 12th January, 2012.  These photos were taken 2 weeks after she started treatment and after a very big day of birthday celebrations so by 4pm she was pretty exhausted.  I especially love the photo of her yawning as I think it's so cute.  I was really pleased I captured the photos of Alice talking while they were listening as they are just so natural and real life.  I loved that I was able to capture those memories for this lovely family.

Six months on, our life is the same and we have our family routines.  Six months on for this family and I'm sure they wish they could turn back time.  When my own brother was killed at 17, Cher's song "If I Could Turn Back Time" was the number one hit and it was getting a lot of air time. I used to love watching the video clip and sing to this song whenever it was on the radio.  After my brother died I couldn't bear to hear that song because I longed to "turn back time" and it just wasn't possible.  Hearing this song after my brother died those words had a very different meaning to me.

Right now I think to myself how on earth do Libby and Tim and the kids get through each day as I couldn't bear it if it happened to my family now.  Even having lost my only brother (I have 3 other sisters) I don't think it compares to losing your own child.  It always comes back to one thing, and that is, they didn't get a choice in the matter.  This has happened and nothing can change it.  One day you are living your normal life and the next day your world gets turned upside down in the most tragic way. 

My family and I felt that it was better to have my brother with us for 17 years than not at all so that we weren't going through the pain of losing him however, it doesn't make you feel any better because you want them here forever.  When I think about it, I feel lucky that Paul was here for 17 years so in some ways I feel guilty (probably not the right word, but more grateful) that I was able to spend twice as many years with him than Libby and Tim because Alice was only here for 8 years.

I have no idea why these things happen, and why we all can't live until we are old and grey.  I do know that for Tim, Libby and the kids 6 months ago would seem like yesterday.  They would long for their life before they got the diagnosis but no matter how hard you might wish for it, absolutely nothing in the world can change things.  This is life and there are certain things that are out of our hands that we have no control over.   We like to believe we are in charge of our lives and for the most part we really are, however we can't control everything and in these circumstances I truly wish we could.   My heart goes out to them not only today, but every day they are waking up to such unbearable pain.  Every time I attend a Grade 3 function when Libby would be there for Alice I would be there for James I think of her as she is not in attendance.  Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things in the world no matter what age the person is.  A bad day, kids fighting, traffic, a messy house all seem insignificant when peoples lives are changed forever.

I am so glad I was able to provide some family memories for them as they are simply "priceless" to this family.  I'm also really pleased that I encouraged Libby to join in with a "photo a day" last year and she captured more "everyday life" photos of the kids just lying around watching TV.  The girls playing master chef and dishing up (oops... plating up) french toast.  One of the first things she said to me after they received the diagnosis was that she truly valued all those "everyday photos" of their family she had been taking the past 8 months.

There is another little story to Libby's Project 365 that I'm sure she won't mind me sharing and that is whenever she forgot to take a photo during the day (being a busy mother of 4 I'm surprised she had time for anything as I'm flat out with just 2 kids) however, she started out by taking a photo of one of the kids in bed asleep if she forgot to take a picture.  As it turned out, there might have been a few days where this busy mother of 4 forgot to take her daily picture until the kids were asleep.  It then became Libby and Tim's little joke that whenever they would see the daily photo and it was of one of the kids asleep they both would knew that it meant that Libby had forgotten to take the photo of the day.  All these little stories that get attached to Project 365 make up wonderful memories and family stories to be told.

For now Alice is in heaven with my brother Paul and I'm sure he is taking good care of her.  Also my very good friend and flatmate Lance whom I shared a house with many many years ago is in heaven too.  He passed away from Leukemia at 27 years of age some twelve weeks after he was diagnosed.  He realized his dream of becoming a cop the year earlier, so if there is any trouble to be sorted out in heaven Lance is the guy. He was a really funny happy guy and always made me smile so she is in good company.

The grieving process is hard, long and very painful and I'm very sad that this family has had to start that journey as my family did on the 25th November, 1989.   You go through shock, anger, tears, sadness and then back to the beginning and start that all over again. Every song you listened to on the radio during that period of time immediately takes you back there again.  If for some reason you catch yourself laughing, you feel guilty because you are sad and it seems disrespectful to laugh.  There are so many emotions that go with losing someone and working through them all takes time and lots and lots of it.  There is no magic formula, no quick fixes, just lots of chocolate and lots of tissues and lots of hugs from family and friends.  I have been honoured to take these precious memories of Alice for her family and since they were celebrating Alice's life at school today I wanted to share these photos today.  Libby, Tim, Emma, Ged and Mr Personality himself, William; you are in our thoughts and I know the place you are in. Sending big hugs to you all. Love Kathy, James and Sienna xxxx

Homework the fun way

I needed a fun way for Sienna to learn her sight words as she is struggling with them at the moment.  During the holidays we had a fine afternoon after about a week of heavy rain so we walked across the road to the easement and drew hopscotch with chalk with words instead of numbers.  Nanny wrote the words in pink that Sienna had to learn and whilst James didn't have any word to learn she put some words for him in blue all starting with "ph".  I must admit I have difficulty with spelling some of those words myself sometimes and really have to think about them before writing them.  The kids had to throw their little stone into the square and then had to hop on one foot five times and repeat the word five times.  When Sienna hopped onto the square instead of saying the wordwhich was written she hopped five times and said "one, one, one, one, one" to which Nanny you have to say the "word" five times not "one" five times.  In one of the photos Sienna is leaning back like she is scared or getting in trouble, but she's not, and you can seefrom her body language and the cheeky grin on her face that she is laughing's funny.

We only got to play hopscotch once because it kept raining the following days however it paid off for James because on Monday night he was reading his "Goosebumps" story to me and he came across the word "philosophy" and he knew the word instantly.  How great is that, that there was an opportunity to see the word in a book he was reading.  Here's the photos of homework done the fun and exciting way.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Focus for July

Inspired by Elise's "goals for the month" in 2012 I have come up with a set of my own to focus on in July.  As Elise points out it's not about "New Year's Resolutions" because what might be of value at the beginning of the year may change throughout the year.  So to do a simple list of achievable things to "focus" on keeps it out there in front of you. I took a photo of myself in the mirror like Elise and typed up my goals for July. Family and a healthy lifestyle are the main focus this month.

If you are having trouble reading the fine print double click on the picture or see the list below:-

to eat healthy
to start walking 2 times per week
to print July photos for Project Life
to read bedtime stories to kids Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
to put 5 things on ebay to sell
to complete 1 craft project
to take at least 5 photos of me with the kids
to spend time with the kids helping them with their jigsaw puzzles

Not a huge lot of pressure (maybe on the healthy eating front as the chocolate has slipped in daily) but the rest of the things is about family and some creative time for me.  I have a lot of projects "pinned" on Pinterest and have bought a few supplies but haven't got stuck into them yet.

Getting 5 photos with the kids and I could prove easy or difficult depending upon the mood of the kids.  Still it's a challenge and getting more photos with the kids is really really important.  I actually gave my girlfriend the task of taking 10 family photos with her in them while they were away on holidays.  If you focus, you will achieve.  Most mum's end up out of the photo because they know their camera and they just take the shot rather than pass it over to a stranger to take a photo because we've all been there and done that when you do hand the camera over and you get a blurred shot or one where you are a tiny part of the photo however it's a must do to get in your family memories.  I originally put down 1 family photo and then I thought if I get 5 surely I may get one I really like.  It's a challenge but one that I'm going to tackle.

I'm going to do my goals one at the beginning of each month sort of like a "to do list".  If it's written down you are more likely to focus on it and again after the month is gone you can see what you achieved rather than life just going on day by day.  I've already got a few things in mind for the month of's a simple idea so join in with me if you have 10 mins to think about it and of course get a photo of yourself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

More pictures from Rainbow Bay

The kids loved getting out on the beach and exploring and James and I played noughts and crosses and Sienna jumped in puddles....getting outside is so good for them and we just love being at Rainbow Bay as it's such a kid friendly beach.  I put the camera down on a towel and lay on the towel to set up a shot of the three of us on the beach.  Given the sand was so wet I actually got wet even laying on the towel.  We took a shot on self timer and when we ran towards the camera and James jumped over the camera with sand being flicked up a bit I decided that was probably not a good idea.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rainbow Bay

We were lucky enough to spend a night down at Rainbow Bay with our good friend Donna and on Thursday afternoon we went for a late walk on the beach.  While the kids look as if they are on the beach in summer I was rugged up with long pants and jumper and I was still very cold even though we had a sunny afternoon.  I noticed the waves were coming onto the shore and as they subsided there was a thin later of glassy water still left on the sand which created the most amazing reflections.  I got the kids to run towards me on the beach and they did it over and over again laughing and enjoying themselves.  Take a look at these wonderful photos.