Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bookclub - "Monique and the Mango Rains"

Bookclub came around so quickly this month, that I was still furiously reading the book all afternoon before heading off to our get together.

The blurb said...

Monique Dembele saves lives and dispenses hope in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter. Her unquenchable passion to improve the lot of the women and children in her West African village is matched by her buoyant humour in the face of an unhappy marriage and backbreaking work.
This is the deeply affecting story of the rare friendship between a young aid volunteer and an inspirational midwife who defies tradition and becomes - too early in her life - a legend.

It's a non fiction written by Kris Holloway.  Non-fictions usually aren't my cup of tea but this book was not so much about the author but the people in the village where she'd been sent as a volunteer with the Peace Corps.

For 2 years Kris worked alongside the village midwife, Monique.  Kris lived in a "house" the villagers built for her but became part of Monique's family.

It was a great book to read and one that I would recommend.  I loved reading about their friendship and all they shared together.  Many parts reasonated with me but the one part that hit me the most (besides female circumsion) was talking about pets in our society and pets in theirs.

Kris points out that we have whole aisles in our supermarkets dedicated to our pets needs and in this small village pets are inconsequential. 

Our blue heeler, Julius, had emergency surgery on Monday.  The silly boy swallowed part of his rubber ball, after much difficulty the vet managed to retrieve a piece 6cm x 2.5cm x 1 cm big.  There was no way it was coming up or out the other end.  I think we all know what would of happened to Julius in the village, they don't have a doctor let alone a vet but then I doubt dogs have rubber balls to play with either. 

Kris' time in this small village in Mali not only changed her life but the lives of many others, she continues to make a difference in this village even though she lives miles away.  A percentage of the book's sales go towards a clinic named for Monique. 

I think you should put it on your list to read. Living in our society where everything we need can be bought, there were many "oh, didn't think about that" thoughts going through my head.  I mean just for a trivial thought, how many babies from these countries do you see wearing nappies? We all know no-one's baby comes toilet trained so what happens?  Happy reading when you get your copy.

For more information and photos go to this website.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's that saying...

Time flies when you're having fun...I wish...

Artwork by Carrie Glen -

The picture sums it up...time's running away
from me.

Be back soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Football injury

You'd think at 56 Richard would be too old for a football injury, not so.  During half time of the A grade game he went out and had a kick of the ball with Tom, Michael and my nephew.

As he was taking a mark he bent his fingers back on his left hand.  Ouch...  Instead of grabbing some ice - lord knows there's plenty of it at a footy game - he carried on doing the A grade stats during the second half.  It wasn't until the end of the game that he showed us his hand.

By the time we got home his wedding ring was starting to turn his finger blue, so off to the local hospital where they cut the ring off.

He wouldn't let me take anymore photos today but his hand is very bruised and he can only use 2 fingers on that hand.  I've suggested that he might need to go and get his fingers looked at again, but unless they're about to drop off that's not likely.  You'd be amazed at how many times he's knocked that hand today. 

Last week of the holidays coming up and I haven't read one page of any book.  Might need to have a few early nights...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jack's kiss

As the moon was keeping watch Jack was a busy boy in the garden this morning.  Giving everything a frosty kiss as only he can do.

Is it any wonder that one little girl found the warmest spot in the house and wasn't coming out for anybody.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The lost puppy...

Instead of checking out the Op Shops with my sister these holidays we went to the High Street in Strathalbyn, where there is an abundance of antique shops.

I was amazed in one of the shops to see a bottle just like the one that had been left out in our back garden for ages - under the rain water tank, on top, in the bushes etc etc until just recently when I cleaned it up and bought it inside. 

This unusual looking bottle was selling for $68.   Maybe I might take it off the windowsill and put it somewhere safer.

The more I look at him, especially when there were 4 on the shelf at the shop, the more I am reminded of the Moia Statues on Easter Island. 

Imagine having one of these big boys in your back garden...

We did have one unplanned stop on our outing, to the local council office to help this little girl find her way home...

Meet the lost puppy.  We found her wet and wandering down by the river, no collar or tag and she was trying really hard to tag along with some kids but they looked like they weren't being particularly kind.  So my niece hopped out of the car and picked her up.  She was so sweet, immediately snuggling into my niece.  Madeleine asked other people in the park if she belonged to them but no-one claimed her.  It was hard not to just drive off, but we handed her in.  Of course my nieces left their phone number just in case no-one claimed her - for all of us it really was love at first sight. 

I was the only one who purchased something other than lunch.  The minute I saw this lady sitting on the shelf I had to have her.

She's a bell.  I don't have a bell and last night I put her to good use - summoning my husband to bring me a drink.  He foolishly came to find out what the noise was but sadly I think that may be the first and last time it works. 

The man in the shop was quite unusual - trying to sell me every other bell in shop but this one - was he trying to upsell me because she was only $4, I think so.  He had no chance tho, because I remember the same bell in my Mum's display cabinet when I was a child.  My sister and I couldn't remember if Mum still has it, I'll check it out next time I'm at her house.  Now just one more thing to find from my childhood and that is a squirrel jug.  Mum still has ours but since my sister and I want it, I think I'd best find another one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Late again...

It's Wednesday so that means it's time to link up with Hazel for Winter Wednesday.  You'd think, given that I'm on holidays, that I could get this post done a little earlier, but no it wasn't to be.

I had a look through the winter section of "60 second Secrets to a happy, healthy, more relaxed you" by Julie Maree Wood  last night.  I found what looks like an easy recipe for hand cream "to get rid of that winter crocodile skin".

Recipe from the book is:

Place an egg yolk and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice into the blender and whiz.

Slowly add 1/3 cup of vegetable or almond oil, 1/4 cup sunflower oil and 5 drops of your favourite essential oil.

Once it is thick and creamy, place it in a glass jar and keep it in the fridge. 

Rub it on your hands whenever you think of it.

I used a pre-mixed blend of Rosemary, Peppermint and Lemon pure essential oils.

It didn't take long to whiz up but not sure it went as thick and creamy as I expected - maybe my egg yolk was too small....

I had the perfect little glass decanter in the cupboard - I used to use a lot of essential oils and was always mixing a blend for "something".  I decided to put some on my feet as well as my hands as they need just as much help.

Now it's onto some edible whizzing - red velvet cupcakes here I come.

Monday, July 11, 2011

L plates

Success.  Michael passed his test for his Learner's Permit this morning.  We'll do the same as we did for Tom - start him in the automatic until he has some road sense and then he can practise in the manual.

Michael had to wait until Richard got home before he could go for his first drive.

He had the biggest smile when he got home.   

We've decided that I'll do the first lot of driving lessons rather than Richard - less chance of conflict between driver and mother.

New laws recently came into effect so Michael will have to be on his L's for 12 months and must complete 75 hours of supervised driving.  I think it's going to be a long 12 months...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shot glasses

We headed off to the North Adelaide Vintage and Fashion Fair this afternoon.  We've been before and last time I found some dessert cutlery that is the same as the one that Mum and Dad gave us as a wedding present.  There was a serving spoon and fork there today that matched but it didn't "sing to me" so we left it there.

Michael came with us today, he decided it was better than sitting at home, well marginally better.  He was surprised at the cost of some of the old stuff and that so many women were hunting through old clothes.

Surprisingly nothing tickled my fancy today but Richard couldn't leave these behind.

He remembered on Sunday night after their roast dinner, his parents would always have a drink of Creme de Menthe in a little glass.  So we had to bring these homes.  Not sure if I'm up for a drink of Creme de Menthe but maybe a sip of Bailey's Irish Cream would be ok.

First day of the holidays tomorrow and I'm taking Michael to sit for his "L" plates - 

I've lost count of how many times he's practised the test online.  He's excited and I'm nervous....


I had the pleasure of spending time with 2 of my sisters yesterday - without any of our children.  It was also an opportunity to check out my sister's new kitchen.  It certainly had the "wow" look when you walked in - all very swish.

Janet cooked us the yummiest meal - not only did she inherit the whole families supply of "neat and tidy" genes but she can cook too.  We started with French onion soup.

Then, stuffed chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto served on a bed of potato mash with sundried tomato, beans, with roasted mushroom, olives and garlic cloves.  I think the photo says it all.

Followed by a simple dessert - hah, yeah right...  Homemade waffles, ice cream and mixed berry coulis.

As it was also Janet's birthday so I made a Red Velvet cake with cream cheese icing.  Not that we had any room left for it.   I did like the glow in the dark candles.

Do you like our tiara's?  We got them for $10 each - unwanted bridal stock. 

Shirley had made Janet and I a tea cosy each - sew clever.  Which I just happen to be using this morning.

In some ways I look forward to the boys being more independent so I can spend more time with my sisters - well sort of...

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Monique and the mango rains" by Kris Holloway

Our new book for bookclub this month is "Monique and the mango rains" by Kris Holloway. 

The story:

"Monique Dembele saves lives and dispenses hope in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter.  Her unquenchable passion to improve the lot of the women and children in her West African village is matched by her buoyant humour in the face of an unhappy marriage and backbreaking work.

This is the deeply affecting story of the rare friendship between a young aid volunteer and an inspirational midwife who defies tradition and becomes - too early in her own life - a legend."

I don't usually enjoy non-fiction books, so we'll see what this one is like.

I haven't done much reading lately so my goal these holidays is to read a minimum of 2 books...and tidy the study...and paint the family room/kitchen area...and...and...and...the list is endless - shame the holidays only go for 2 weeks.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gilbert's home

Thursday is my favourite day of the working week.  I love having only 3 sessions to run and I finish work at 12.30.  I try not to plan anything for my afternoon off but today I took advantage of it and went and picked up my new cupboard - Gilbert.

Fortunately he is light and I was able to get him out of the car by myself.

I had fun putting things in and taking things out.  Then putting them in again on a different shelf and taking them out.  I think the contents of Gilbert will be a work in progress.

I might also have to visit a few op shops in the holidays and see what I can find and maybe, just maybe, Enchanted Moments might put some lovely things up for sale in Nana's House.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winter Wednesday

I'm belatedly joining in with Hazel's Winter Wednesday again.  I don't get to do my post until I get home from work and I should be cooking tea right now can wait.  Unfortunately, I'm not the sort of person who could plan it the night before and quickly post it while eating brekkie.  Although maybe I could work on improving those organisational skills.

One of the things I've always enjoyed about winter is having boys who adore being outside and getting wet.  I maybe haven't enjoyed cleaning them and the clothes later but I have enjoyed watching the amount of fun they've had.  They could spot a puddle from a mile away when they were little and we've never had any strict rules about not getting wet or dirty.

We've had some fantastic rain this week and our usual puddles are appearing in the garden.  Only last winter the boys were still pulling each other through the puddles on their toboggan and I thought it was probably the end of an era but today Michael proved me wrong.

How could I not love winter when it's provided so many fun experiences for our family.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tea from two families

Do you like to collect "things"?  I do.  I like to collect china and other bits that tickle my fancy.

After my Dad died, Mum decided to sell the big house they had in the country and move closer to us, but also into a tiny house.  So she held a good old garage sale. We were allowed to keep bits that we felt were part of the family.  I chose a tea caddy, amongst other things. 

It came over from England with us and obviously had been in our house for as long as I can remember.  Personally I couldn't believe that Mum was going to put it in the garage sale.  I rescued it just before Mum opened the gates to let the buyers in.  It is made from different timbers and I think it is beautiful.

When my mother-in-law came to live with us, she bought all her "things" with her too.  I was fortunate enough to be left with her tea caddy when she died.  I don't know where it came from or if they used it for tea leaves, because sadly, it never came up in conversation before it was too late to ask.

They both now hold our tea bags.  My parent's one holds the Lipton tea bags that Richard drinks and his parent's one holds my Twinings Lady Grey tea bags.   Fingers crossed that my boys also like family "things" and that they'll keep and use them too.

Do you have a tea caddy or do you simply store your tea bags or leaves in the box they came in?

I also rescued my Dad's favourite plaque.  It now stands on the windowsill in the kitchen, keeping watch over us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sweet sixteen

My baby is 16 today.  I know lots of people say it, but, WHERE DID THAT TIME GO?????

Here he is just 5 days old and our first day home from the hospital.  In the arms of his cousin, Madeleine, who turns 21 this year.

Christmas day with his big brother Tom.  We don't have a lot of baby photos of Michael as Tom (who could climb anything, any time) found three rolls of film on top of the cupboard and pull them all out.  You can imagine my tears when I found him having fun.

My three favourite boys.  Michael was a blondie as a little boy and now look at him...


Happy birthday baby.  Let's hope the next 16 don't quite go as quick. 
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