Sunday, February 28, 2010

A weekend Of Cooking

Not much free time his weekend for blogging, Saturday we had some good friends, newlyweds and newly pregnant over for dins, even thought we have been down that road so many times its always exciting when friends get themselves knocked up
I did a fairly large sized piece of beef for Saturday for dinner with roasted herb potatoes.
I'm still trying to find the perfect herb mix for beef, but this turned out pretty good.

Sorry no "After photos".

I also had a gig catering the meet for a work colleague who recently resigned o move back to the states. I did 3 Lambs (all double boneless legs) 1 was injected with garlic cloves, the other 2 copped a oregano/rock salt dusting over extra virgin olive oil rub. Needless to say they all turned out fantastic.

I cooked them on High for an hour medium for the next hour then high for the last. I also filled the bottom of the spit with water, this makes cleaning out the tray easier and also circulates a bit more steam making the meat partially steamed as well as roasted.

I really enjoy cooking for large groups and a few extra hundred in the wallet for 1/2 a days work cant hurt. So given today's success and all the positive feedback I received I think this year I might make a bit of an effort to set myself up and maybe even start a little business, just doing meat/spit roasts not full catering. I have another giog lined up for late March/April so who knows.

Until next time...................

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The secrets to parenting 6 children

Many people who do or do not know us make the assumption that our level of sanity is directly linked to having 6 children. It is in fact, but in a positive way, not negative as most assume when they say "6 Kids? You must be crazy!!" The fact is that comment, heard as many times as we have usually gets accompanied with "I dont know how you do it, I have trouble with my 1/2/3".

And there in lies the fun part. Its my morbid sense of satisfaction when I hear 2.3'ers as I call them (the average amount of children used to be 2.3) complaining about how hard it is and how they need a break etc etc.

So here is my top 10 tips for dealing with 6 children:

10) Childcare/Creche/Day Care - It doesn't matter what you call it, it's still you paying someone to parent your own child & what I would classify as a form of neglect. If you need your children watched then ask someone you trust and who loves them and respects your wishes in every way (we had ours watched twice last year) . Single parents excused of course

9) Embrace the chaos, the sooner you do the sooner it wont feel chaotic .

8) There is a big difference betwen yelling OVER your children & yelling AT them, try to limit the latter.

7) With 6 children you need to accept that the toilet will always need flushing prior to use, but this is ok as we try to teach water conservation.

6) Television is evil, it is, we recently went commercial TV free, not even the simpsons is suitable for young children these days, dont get me staretd on the news.

5) If you dont have the stomach for Vomit, urine or Faeces you soon will have, i'm blessed with a cast iron stomach and have been cleaning up excriment since my nursing days but each child has still surprise me at least once in this area.

4)When on an outing organisation is key, while it is stressful we do go out in busy shopping centres. I carry Miss 2 in a kozy, Mumma Bare carries miss 0 in a sling, Mr 3 is pushed by me in the stroller, miss 5 holds the stroller & Mr 7 & Mr 9 walk between us.

3) Relish the little things - My renditions of childrens nursery rhymes in strange voices always get more laughs than the latest pixar movie.

2) Parental Team Work - This is important, we dont have husband jobs or wife jobs, we share in everything, what use are you if you aren't cross trained?

1) The most important thing that applies to just about all facets of being a parent.....

RELAX!!! It doesn't matter if its a baby that wont sleep or an arguement over a toy. Children sense your stress and react accordingly, the sooner you chill out the sooner they will.

Until next time.........

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whats that on his face??

(Please note that these pictures and words ae very emotinal for me)

Our youngest son Mr C is unique in many ways, not only is he the only Queenslander in our family he also wears a rare form of Birthmark on his face and scalp.

Back in 2006 we were living in the hills just outside of Brisbane (having moved there 6 months earlier for a job opportunity).

We experienced our first homebirth (a story for another day) and as this little man was on his way out of his mum I noticed something on his forehead. I started to mention it at the time but stopped myself not wanting to concearn mumma bare in her birthing state of mind.

Needless to say once he was out we were all somewhat surprised at what appeared to be dark bruising and marks on half his head.

Knowing that he was perfectly healthy we waited until the next morning to go to the hospital and get his face checked out. I guess ignorance was bliss, I remember distinctly carrying him close to me through the hospital carpark and lobby so nobody could see him, it wasn't a feeling of shame, more being protective
After recording all his details we met with a doctor who appeared to be quite senior (we later found out he was pretty much the head paeds) who explained that the area on Mr C's face was a pigmented lesion called a Congenital Melanocytic Nevus.
This form (covering more than 20% of the head classified it as the "GIANT" form. The doc explained that it was rare. Aprox 1 in half a million children are born with a Nevus, its even more rare for the Giant form. He said there was explanation for the cause it was just "Bad Luck" & that there were no options for treatment. He also explained that the skin pigment was similar to that of a mole meaning cells could be more prone to developing melanoma so no more sunshine.
At this point we sat there stunned, speechless, not knowing what to say or do, another doc came in and asked if she could take some pictures for documentation, still gob smacked we agreed and the photos were shortly followed by a dozen or so stuent doctors eager to have a look.
The head doc explaiend that he had only seen it once before in 30 years, we left shortly after they had all had their fill of looks and photos.
Earlier that morning Mumma bares mother had arrived via plane and was watching the other children. I remember that afternoon, all we wanted to do was lay in bed and stare at him, I kept thinking that we did the wrong thing moving, that he was going to be picked on, that he would never have a girlfriend.
I think I just felt overwhelmed and at one stage closed myself in the garage and sat on the step crying.

But things changed, we quickly started to see past his birthmark, he was perfect in our eyes.

As the weeks past we researched more and more, turned out the doctor in his infinite wisdom (of dealing with 1 case) was slightly off, there weRe options for treatment, there were support networks in place in Australia meaning most importantly we were not alone. We also learnt that there were no sweat glands on the nevus tissue this meant the decision to move home and avoid the QLD weather and all round sunsine. Out of the blue I was offered a job and it all seemed to fit together.

We moved home, the months past, we obtained a referral to the Royal Childrens resident expert in Nevus removal. We found the birthmark became less a part of C as his eyes and smiles shone past it.

Hair Grows quickly on Nevus tissue, I would guess 2-3 times faster so we found ourselfs giving him haircuts every few months, to this day I am the only person who has ever cut his hair, the skin is very thin in places and I wouldn't trust anyone elese to do it.

In terms of treatment there we several options, I wont go into them all as they are quite complicated. Our preference (seeing the photographic evidence online) was tissue expansion. The process involes inserting an inflatable ballon under the healthy skin next to the nevus and over about 12 wees inplating it with saline. The good skin is stretched creating an excess skin flap that can be then moved over the area of the nevus alowing for segments to be surgically removed, kind of like patch work. Its the most distressing to look at but yields good results.
This was our preferred option and after meeting with the surgeon he also reccomended this, we were pleased and went on the waiting list.
In late 2007 we received the letter scheduling surgery for October. He went in and had a section removed from his cheek (yay for chubby cheeks) and the largest tissue expander possible inserted under his scalp.

Here he is the day we came home from having the expander inserted.
The expander has a Port located under the nevus tissue, it is this site where they then inject more fluid to infate the balloon.

You can see it here (raised and lighter in colour) & also the scar from the cheek section removed.

We basically went into the childrens hospital every thursday for top ups, see below - Starting to get bigger.

And bigger

On the day Miss P joined us (at home in water)
Holding his new baby sister (this is considered Full Inflation)

I took this shot of him sleeping just before I woke him so the two of us could make the trip to the hospital to get the expander removed, and hopefully more cheak tissue.
And home a few days later. He basically had about 100 stitches running from his chin to the back of his head forking across his eyebrow. He akso had a drain tube in.
He pulled his dressings off so we grabbed a snapshot. You can see the bruising from all the paddling around under his skin.

When we first saw the scars we were taken a back however as he started to heal his face settled down.
Fast forward 2 years and here we are. Waiting again for the next round of expansion
He is by far the best looking out of all our children

Until next time....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

These are a few of my favourite things - Tools

You're only as useful as your tools allow you to be. I thought i'd run throught the 5 most useful tools I own. Everybody should amass a tool collection.

1) Rubber mallet AKA FBH (F*&$ing Big Hammer). This thing does it all, i've change tyres, beat panels straight, broken apart furnitured warned off would be carjackers (ok that last one was a lie).

It was actually a purchase from a local market from memory but the wooden handle quickly broke so a steel handle was retro fitted. The Tape measure should give you an idea of the size of this puppy.

2) Driver Set (With tamper proof bits). I stole this from a former employer (its ok they went bust so they aint missing it). This set comes with normlat screw driver bits as well as tamper proof stuff (good for tampering). As they are clip in style they go well with number 3 on this list.

3) Cordless drill. So so handy, I bought it with 2 batteries so I always have one charging and one draining. Its far from top $$ as far as drills go but its survived some hefty drops of the years. I highly reccomend getting one if you purchase ikea furniture.

4) My Dyson. Yes I will be the first to say it, i'm a man and I enjoy vacuming. You cannot do a full house with anything less than a dyson.
5) Leatherman Wave. Last but most importantly!!! This is the most usefull thing I own, it was a fathers day gift about 10 years ago. IF you own one tool you NEED a leatherman.

I have many more tools, honorable mentions go to my socket and allen key sets as well as my heat gun, angle grinder & Multimeter. You can never have enough, I'd like to add some circlip plyers and a torque wrench this yeah.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Land Ho!!!

Ok so this blog will feature 6 or so regular update types aside from any other random dribble I see fit to regurgitate
1) Children
2) Motorcycles
3) Cooking
4) Opinion
5) House Building
6) These are a few of my favourite things

With that I thought I should roll on with number 5 -House building

October 2009 saw us finally get our old 3 bedroom home of some 8 or so years "renovated" to a point where we could sell it. I use the term renovate very lightly, Mumma Bare caught the renovators bug quite badly, this meant she directed while I worked, some things came naturally and easily (I'm pretty happy with my painting skills) others were more of a struggle.

Renovating on its own is hard, throw the (then) 5 children we had into the mix and you had many an evening where I'd be painting a wall while my then 3 year old son C would be down the other end drawing on it. Frustrating to say the least.

We finally got the house ready to go on the market and thankfully it sold within 3 weeks, I dont know how much longer we could have kept it sparkling clean anyway. I have a lot of fond memories of that house but we never really felt at home there.

We intended to buy another established home but after seeing what was on the market in the areas we liked, this was soon realised to be impossible. We knew we wanted a tree change, somewhere with enough room for the children to run around, somewhere close to the parts of Victoria we love but still within suitable commute to my work.

We had been looking at 1/3 and 1/2 acre lots for weeks seeing nothing that grabbed us. Then a day spent with friends whose property adjoins anovergrow forrest see below:

We knew we wanted bigger, plans were changed, budgets reassed and the decision made to spend a little more to get more land, rent for 12-18 months and then build our dream home.

We settled on a nice spot, just over an acre, half cleared half bush surrounded apple orchards, vineyards and looking across to the yarra ranges.

The View frm the front of our block

Looking up our road towards the national park
Looking down toward the main road

Looking down the block

We haven't done much with the land over the past few months other than clear it and keep the grass down, we have 2 large dead trees to cut down then we can get the bushfire assessment done and start deciding on what design we want and can have. More on those later

Until next time.....