Monday, September 2, 2013

Feasting on Father's Day

Yesterday it was Father's Day.

We all hopped out of bed, ate breakfast and got ready to go to Mass like we do every Sunday. But on the way back home from Mass we did something we don't normally do.

Dad parked the van outside the supermarket and then he and Mum walked into the shop to buy something special for lunch. They came back a few minutes later. Dad started the van and we drove home.

"Everybody out," Dad bellowed from the front of the van. We all piled out of the van, trotted down the driveway and into the house. Imogen started to unpack the lunch and I smiled as I saw a container of potato salad, a packet of cheese, a bag of rolls, followed by some peppercorn ham and pesto ham. We all tucked into a good lunch.

 "Gemma-Rose, go to my bedroom. In my cupboard are some presents," Mum whispered to me after lunch. I dashed off to Mum's bedroom and soon came back out with a big bag of presents.

I chose a present from the bag and walked over to Dad. "Happy Father's Day," I said giving him a kind of square and squidgy parcel, and a big kiss.

Dad opened the present and a smile crept onto his face. "A pair of shorts. Thank you."

Sophie gave him the next present. "Socks! Groovy socks," cried Dad in delight.

"Here you go, Dad," said Charlotte, handing him another present.

"Ooh...arr...Um I can't get into this one," Dad admitted as everybody watched him struggling to get it open.

"Maybe I put just a little too much sticky tape on that," pondered Charlotte.

"Nuts! Yummy hot spicy nuts," exclaimed Dad when he finally got the present open.

"Another pair of shorts! Thank you Imogen," said Dad, taking the paper off another present.

One by one the presents got opened and oohs and arrs kept going round the room.

Mum handed Dad the keys to the car. "Go look in the boot of my car," she said with a mischievous grin.

Dad, Imogen and I headed out to the car. Dad opened the boot and inside was a huge cardboard box. He looked at the side of the box. "Ocean," he read,"You're giving me an ocean?"

"No, no," said Imogen as we plodded back into the house.

"Is it supposed to make all those click clacking sounds?" Dad asked.

"Yes," Mum reassured him.

Dad pulled out of the box lots of black pieces of plastic, then some black square plastic frames and four white plastic boxes.

"It all looks like giant Lego," said Charlotte.

"Does it have any instructions?" Mum asked.

"No. There's only lots of plastic," said Dad.

"I think this part goes here and this one here," Imogen said, helping Dad put up a rather tall tower.

"What is it?" Dad asked.

"Not telling," said Mum.

"Done," said Dad, standing back to view the masterpiece. "It's a cabinet with four drawers, isn't it?"

"Yes. It's for all your stuff that's lying on the table in the other room," said Mum.

After a relaxing afternoon we had dinner and ice cream. We did the dishes and then settled down to watch Oliver Twist. When we had finished that, Mum said, "Callum sent me a text message telling everybody not go to bed."

"Not go to bed?" I asked.

"Yes. We've all got to stay up till he gets home from work."

"Imogen, while we were at the supermarket I bought some crumpets. Do you want to cook some?" Dad asked.

Imogen walked into the kitchen and soon we could hear the kettle boiling and the toaster being placed on the kitchen bench.

We ate crumpets and talked until we heard the front door open and Callum walked into the family-room.

"Good. You are all still up," he said and with that, he walked into the kitchen.

Callum came back a few minutes later with a platter of salmon, olives, a orange dip, cheese and crackers. Everybody scrambled to the table and started filling plates high with cheese and crackers.

"I am full," said Dad as he polished off the last of his crackers.

"So am I," said Mum.

"But it was good," I said, getting up from the sofa.

"We better be getting to bed," said Sophie.

I toddled out of the room.

"Good night," said Mum as she bent down to give me a cuddle.

"See you in the morning ," I said drowsily.

Mum closed the door softly and padded off down the hall.

Everybody enjoyed Father's Day and the feast that came with it. But I was glad it was all over and I could go to sleep.          

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Interesting Taste

"Gemma-Rose, I brought home some bananas from the shop so you can cook a new recipe I found," Mum said, handing me a piece of paper with a recipe written on it.

I read the recipe, then read it again. But how ever much I read the recipe it still clearly stated that I was supposed to put peanut butter and bananas in the same batch of biscuits, which I thought was strange. Would it taste weird?

"Er, Mum," I said uncertainly, "are you sure that I am supposed to put peanut butter and bananas into the same biscuits?"

Mum nodded, undaunted by the fact.

 As Mum and the recipe had quite clearly decided that I was going to make this batch of biscuits with that strange combination, I plodded off to the kitchen to start cooking.

I grabbed the bunch of bananas, a packet of oats, the peanut butter and with much reluctance, put the chocolate on the kitchen bench without so much as taking a tiny nibble. Then I set to work chopping, measuring, mashing and stirring. A few minutes later a batch of unusual looking biscuits where thrown into the oven and I, feeling quite proud of  myself  and the biscuits despite the contents, started to clean up the kitchen.

 "Mum, have they cooked for long enough?" I asked, peering through Mum's bedroom door.

"Not yet," answered Mum who had her eyes stuck to the screen of her computer, so clearly she wasn't paying much attention to me.

A few minutes later I was back. "Mum, should I take the biscuits out yet?" I asked anxiously.

"You should leave them in for a couple more minutes yet."

I poked my head round the door again. "Mum, are you certain they aren't burning?"

"Yes, I am quite certain. Go sit down for a few minutes and stop worrying," Mum said determinedly.

I slunk out of Mum's bedroom and sat down at the table with a good book.

"Gemma-Rose, they can come out now," called Mum.

I jerked my head out of my book and sprinted for the kitchen, questions bubbling up in my head.

"What if they were burnt?"

"If they were, would I have to make more?"`

"Would I get in trouble for burning them?"

"No I wouldn't get in trouble because I had asked Mum to tell me when they were done, hadn't I?"

I opened the oven door, and  inside were some biscuits that weren't burnt at all. "What was I worrying about?" I asked myself.

"Mum, the biscuits still look squishy," I said, as I raced into Mum's bedroom.

"That is probably just the banana," Mum reassured.

The next day Mum asked, "Can I have one of your wonderful biscuits?"

I opened the lid of the container and placed one of the biscuits onto a plate. "Here you go, Mum," I said placing the plate on the table. Then I found myself a biscuit and sat down to eat.

"Interesting taste," Mum commented.

I bit into my own biscuit and had  to agree it was an interesting flavour.

"Sophie, what do you think of my biscuits?" I asked.

"Interesting," Sophie answered.

I thought about the peanut butter and bananas I had put in them, and decided that even with those odd ingredients, they had turned out well.

If you want to brave the peanut butter and banana combination......

3 ripe bananas
1 cup of quick oats
Half a cup of chopped up dark chocolate
1 heaped dessertspoon of peanut butter

Mash up the three bananas in a bowl and add the oats.

Chop up the dark chocolate and put it in the bowl.

Take a dessertspoon and heap it with peanut butter, then plop it into the bowl.

Mix all together and then make small balls and place them on a tray lined with baking paper.

Cook for 15 minutes at 180 degrees C

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kind Hattie Big Sky

"Hattie Big Sky" is about a real American girl who moves out of Iowa to her dead Uncle's claim in Vida, Montana while her school friend fights in World War 1. She has just one year to prove up her claim.

In Vida, Hattie meets a lot of new people and makes heaps of friends, even a family with a German father. 

 Hattie arrives in the winter which is so cold that when she goes outside to pump water her hands stick to the pump. I don't think I would like to live in such cold weather. One of Hattie's friends, Rooster Jim, says that it is a very cold winter and it will be a very hot summer. 

A man called Traff Martin is the head of the County Council of Defences and makes sure that everybody is supporting their country by buying Liberty Bonds especially the Germans that live in Vida Montana, even if they don't have the money. 

Hattie learns to cook biscuits that are lighter then lead and to make quilts. She decides to make a quilt with her own pattern. It is hopefully going to look like the big sky and the prairie.

Hattie stands up against Traff Martin when he tries to accuse her German friends of being unpatriotic. 

I think Hattie is very kind.


My Mermaid

"Mum, I think the parcel man is at the front door," Sophie cried.

"It is probably a parcel for Callum," Mum said, getting up and heading towards the door. In a few minutes she was back with a package in her hand.

I rushed over to Mum. "Who is it for?" I asked eagerly.

"It is the sewing book I ordered for you and the other girls," beamed Mum.

"Can I open it?" I asked impatiently.

"If you want to," Mum smiled.

I tore off the wrappings and inside was a sewing book called Fleecie Dolls. I started flicking through the book.

"That mermaid is so pretty," Imogen exclaimed.

"Look at her tail," sighed Mum. "It's covered in pretty sequins."

I found a needle, some thread and a piece of fleece and set to work making that pretty mermaid. I really enjoyed sewing the doll and soon the body and tail were finished.

"Mum, you marked the white fleece with a dark pen to show me where to sew the dart..." I started to say.

"Yes, what is wrong? Did the pen show through the fabric?" Mum asked. I nodded. "You had better give your doll a bath to get rid of the pen marks."

I grinned. I was about to give a mermaid a bath. Soon I was scrubbing the doll with a bar of soap. "Imogen, look! I am giving my doll a bath," I squealed.

A few days later I was ready to start putting sequins on my mermaid's tail. Mum showed me how to sew the sequins on and I was soon sewing them on all by myself. But then disaster! "Mum, I have lost the needle."

"What do you mean?" Mum asked getting up.

"When I was sewing my sequin on I lost the needle inside the mermaid," I spluttered, close to tears. Mum and Imogen searched the mermaid and the seat, and even Jenny the cat who a few minutes ago had been perched on my lap.

"I can't find it," announced Imogen.

"You can use my needle to finish sewing the sequins on," Charlotte offered.

"You will all have to watch your feet," Mum warned, "in case the missing needle is still on the floor."

"Mum, I am ready to sew my mermaid's hair on," I grinned. Mum handed me some wool and some orange fleece.

"Do you want me to help you with the hair?" Mum asked.

"Yes please," I thanked. Sewing the hair on was not as easy as I had anticipated and our fingers got frequently pricked.

On Sunday Charlotte drew the face on the doll with a fading pen so I knew where to sew it with a needle and some thread. After lunch I headed to the table all ready to sew the face on. "Mum, the face has faded and now I can't see it," I wailed.

"It has faded  all ready?" Mum asked in surprise.

Charlotte patiently drew the face back on and I started to sew the eyes. After one eye I was already having trouble seeing the face. After both eyes I could not see the mouth at all. The pen marks were fading again. "Charlotte, can you please draw the mouth on one last time?" I asked. Finally the mouth was done and the only thing left to do was the bikini top.

Mum carefully measured out some ribbon to make a top, and then tried to fit it round my mermaid's waist. "She is too fat," Mum declared. "We will need to cut a bigger piece of ribbon."

"Mum, I have finished sewing the top," I announced happily. "Could I please have a button to sew on the ribbon?"

Mum opened up her button box and found a button that looked like a pearl. "Will this do?" she asked.

"Oh yes," I breathed. I sewed the button on. I'd finished the doll.

For the rest of the evening I went around showing everybody my wonderful doll. I love my mermaid.

Next I am going to make this doll called Florence.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Editing Photos

I have been editing some flowers on Picmonkey and Befunky. It is a lot of fun.

"Gemma-Rose, what are you doing?" Mum asked, peering over my shoulder. "Editing a photo I downloaded," I answered.

"That is pretty," Mum smiled. "Do you like editing photos?"

"Yes, it is fun to play with different effects," I smiled back.

"What kind of photos have you been editing?" Mum asked.

"Flowers and leaves, maybe a fish," I said staring at the screen of my computer. I was only half listening to what Mum was saying.

"Crop it, put some sparkles on it, maybe I should try putting some shadows on," I mumbled happily away to myself.

"She really is enjoying herself," Mum said to Charlotte.

I love editing photos. Do you like editing photos?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lots of Scones

On Sunday I decided to make scones so I sought out a very big and very, very old book and flicked to the dough covered page and checked that we had all the ingredients.

"Sieve the flour into the bowl, then rub in the butter,"I mumbled to myself as I checked the book.

I cut the dough into pieces and put them on the tray hoping that I had remembered all the ingredients.

 While I waited for the tray of scones to cook, I decided to make another batch.

I plodded back to the kitchen counter and threw more flour, butter, and milk in.

"Now for the parsley and cheese," I announced. I looked on top of the counter, then I moved aside an empty flour bag, but the parsley and cheese weren't there! After awhile of searching it became evident that the two ingredients weren't anywhere on the counter.

I flew to the oven and peered through the door at some big white scones.

"Silly me, how could I have forgotten to put the cheese and parsley in the first batch of scones?" I chided myself. Grabbing the cheese fiercely, I started grating it to add to the second batch and finished making the scones.

Finally I wiped down the kitchen counter and rescued the second batch of scones from the oven. Finished.

"Mum, I made two batches of scones. One has parsley and cheese and the other doesn't," I said in an apologetic tone of voice. 

"YUMMY," Mum shouted. 

I grabbed a plate, cut a chunk of butter and a scone and arranged it all on a plate to be presented to Mum. 

Today I decided to make more scones but this time I was determined not to forget the cheese and parsley. It all went well and now we have HEAPS of of scones.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Very Cold!

 "It is very warm for this time of year," Mum commented a few days ago.

 "We better make the most of the good weather," said Imogen.

 We ran outside at morning tea time because it was nice and warm at that time. I played outside without freezing to death and we were so warm we didn't need to wear coats every time we went out. 

Then there was a change in the weather. 

"Mum, it's VERY COLD out here," said Charlotte as she pegged a T-shirt onto the washing line.

We started to use the gas heater, put extra blankets on the beds, wear big warm coats and sleep with hot water bottles.

"Sammy climbed into my bed this morning," said Mum.

"He must be cold," said Imogen, stroking the cat.

"They all seem to want to sit on people now," said Sophie.

I looked down at Poppy and wondered how she could be cold under all that fur.
 I think everybody hopes it will warm up soon.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zumba Girls

Mum decided to learn Zumba so naturally all us girls decided to learn it too.

Charlotte and Imogen move the table to the side of the room. Mum puts the disk into the DVD player. "This is going to be fun," Mum encourages. I pull a big silly smile. A lady appears on the screen and starts shouting at us.

"Get your heart rate up there. The higher you get it, the more calories you burn. Come on, wiggle those hips. Walk like a crab," she shouts.

I take three steps to the right and then three steps to the left and end up on Charlotte's toes. I pant away. I never thought Zumba would be this hard.A few sore toes later we stop.

"I think that's plenty of Zumba for one day," smiles Mum.

"You have learnt Zumba, but before you start partying, I would like to introduce you to the creator of Zumba," shouts the lady.
"It is beyond me how the ladies get their hips all the way round like that," pants Charlotte.

I can move my hips but I keep stepping on Charlotte's toes.    

We keep going back and doing this strange sport. Why? I have no idea. We have no coordination.  
Finally it gets warm enough to run outside and we give up Zumba. Zumba is fun but we prefer running.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Yummy Cakes

We always celebrate a special day with a yummy cake.

                                             My eighth birthday cake    

                                                           Happy Anniversary cake

                                                              Epiphany Crown Cake                         

                                                            My 9th Birthday cake

                                                Charlotte's First Holy Communion cake  

                                                   Easter Egg Nest Cake

                                                           Pentecost Cake

                                                        Imogen's 18th Birthday Cake

                                                             Fathers Day Cake

                                                       Sophie's Confirmation Cake  

Tomorrow we will be having another cake. It is Mummy's birthday!

X kisses, O hugs and letters

To Dear Grandmother Charlotta,   

 I am writing to tell you about our holiday. The beach house is lovely.

I am sharing a double bed with Susanna. It is very high and I have to take a run up and leap to get on it.

I have two lamps on my bedside table. One of the lamps has a switch. The other one gets lighter the more you touch it. Susanna has one lamp on her bedside table.

My bedside table has a cupboard attached to it. Susanna has a a wardrobe on the other end of the room. We both share a desk and chair.

Susanna and I did some colouring in.

Mum decided that we should go for a walk down to the beach. The beach was huge with lots of sand.

When we got back we had dinner. 

I love you so very much.

From a very loving granddaughter, Mary-Rose.


Dear Mary-Rose, 

I like the sound of your bedroom. Can you climb on the bed properly yet?
Have you been in the water? I hope you bring lots of shells home.

Are you enjoying yourself?

I am missing you.

I hope the weather stays good.

Does your house have a garden?

I did some cooking today and made huge biscuits. (It is a new secret recipe.) They are very chocolaty.
Lots of love from Grandmother.


Dear Grandmother Charlotta, 

Yes, the house does have a garden. It is all mulch. Mum loves it. There are metal fishes hanging in the trees.

The biscuits sound yummy.

Yes, we did go in the water. Today we went down to the lake again and then to the park. It was fun.

 We went home for morning tea and had hot chocolate with marshmallows and ate biscuits. We played some card games while we ate the biscuits (the biscuits that we ate I doubt are half as good as your biscuits.) Irene was on my team.

Dad helped us lower the seats on our bikes. Mum announced it was time for a bike ride. Mum, Susanna, Caroline and Irene sped along. Dad stayed behind and helped me. I am not very good at riding a bike and I kept riding into the gutter. I fell off the bike.

Mum took me to the beach and I made a huge sandcastle.

                                    Love from Mary-Rose

Dear Mary-Rose,
Our cat Scratchy has had three kittens. We called one Rosie after you. The other two are boys and they are always fighting. Their names are Trouble and Hero.

Trouble is very fluffy. He is light brown with a slightly darker face. Hero is sleeker than Trouble and is mostly dark with light brown socks.

Rosie likes to sit on people. She has a darker brown tip of her tail and dark ears and socks.

I hope you are enjoying yourself,

                                                       Love from Grandmother     

Dear Grandmother Charlotta,

Today Dad decided that we should have a look at the canoe that lives in the shed of the holiday house. Dad and Irene dragged the canoe all the way to the beach on its wheels. Caroline and Dad were the first people in the canoe. Dad is teaching her to row. When Irene came back from her rowing lesson she had a big smile on her face.

After Irene had finished her lesson Dad said he and Caroline could take a passenger along. I got to be the passenger. I had to put on a bright yellow life jacket. 

Caroline and Dad are good rowers. It was very peaceful in the canoe. Suddenly we felt ourselves rock back and forth in the canoe. One second we were in the canoe and the next we plunged into the cold water. Dad got us out of the water and back into the canoe, and Irene and Susanna pulled us to shore. Irene swam out and found the paddle.

                                   love from Mary-Rose 

To my dear granddaughter, 

It sounds like you are having a very exciting time.

Grandfather and I are wondering if you want  Trouble. Trouble and Hero don't get on well at all. They are always fighting.

Rosie and Trouble are trying to eat King the budgie.
Today I planted a rose bush in the garden. It is going to have pink roses.

Grandfather and I  hope you are coming home soon.

                        Love from Grandmother  

Dear Grandmother, 

We are coming home tomorrow.

I asked Mum and Dad about having Trouble and after a lot of persuading, they agreed.

I love the sound of the rose bush.

Today we went to a flea market and I bought five dolls. Caroline bought a bracelet. We went to a shop where Susanna bought a little toy dog. Irene went back to the flea market and bought a bracelet like Caroline's. 

I can't wait to be home.

                                                Love from Mary-Rose              


Friday, April 26, 2013

When We Went to the Moscow Circus

We went to the Moscow Circus a few years ago. It was very exciting. They had a huge tent. They were very good.

One of  my favourite acts was the trapese artist. Don't you think it would be grand to hang up side down on a trapese? I also liked the juggling. You would have to be very talented not to drop anything.

Circuses go on for a long time but they are very interesting. I wonder what it would be like to be in a circus with everybody in the crowd cheering. I think I would be scared and fall off the trapese or drop balls and sticks on my head. No, I think I will stick to watching the circus and let everybody else do the work.

I like the circus. I hope to go again soon. We might even go next week to celebrate Mum's birthday, because the circus is back in town!          

Thursday, April 25, 2013


We have been learning about Vermeer. He was a Dutch artist. These are some of his paintings we looked at.

Young woman with a water pitcher  

Young woman with a pearl necklace 

The milkmaid  

The girl with the pearl earring 

I like all the paintings but I think my very favourite one is Young Woman with the Pearl Necklace. Which painting do you like best?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Uninvited Fleas

"Imogen, could you please give those cats a bath? I got bitten last night by a flea," says Mum.

Imogen sighs and turns to look for the first terror (bathing cats is hard work) .

"She is probably in the settee," calls out Charlotte.  

Imogen grabs the first cat and hauls her out of the settee.

I try to clog up my ears and read my book at the same time but it is impossible with those cats yowling and hissing all the time.

Imogen throws Poppy out of the laundry after her bath.  (Poppy is the worst cat in the bath.)

"I bathed the cats, Mum," says a VERY wet Imogen.

"Poppy tried to climb the wall," says mostly dry Charlotte, who has been helping.

"Thank you. Do you think it would be possible to look through the cats' fur?" says Mum.

Charlotte marches into the family room armed with a comb and a cup of hot water.

One after the other the fleas got plucked  out of the cats' fur and into the hot water.

A few months later, Imogen makes a terrible discovery while hugging Sammy.

"Mum, I found a flea on Sammy."

Mum takes Sophie and me to the shops.

"We will see if we can find some flea shampoo and some flea collars."

We come home some time later with a yellow collar, a blue collar, a red collar and a bottle of flea shampoo.

Imogen starts putting the yellow flea collar on Jenny.

"That shade of yellow looks like the worming paste they get on their paws," I say.

"What if she chews through her collar like she did with the one Imogen got her for Christmas?" says Sophie.          

"I doubt it tastes that nice," says Charlotte.

A few days later Imogen is out.

"Charlotte could you please go through the cats with a comb and see if there are any fleas?" asks Mum

Charlotte nods and picks up Poppy who is lying sprawled out on the floor in the sun.

Again in the family room, with a comb and a cup of water, Charlotte, Sophie and I sit down on the settee.

Charlotte holds the struggling animal who doesn't like anybody that close to its tummy while Sophie combs through the fur.

I have a cup of water all ready for the fleas but no fleas come.

We trudge off to Mum's bedroom.

"We couldn't find any," says Charlotte.

"Not a single one," concludes Sophie.

But Mum keeps getting bitten. There are fleas hiding somewhere.

Mum suddenly has a great idea.

Mum jumps into the car and we go off to buy flea bombs.

We come back home with eight flea bombs.

"What are we going to do with the cats?" asks Charlotte. The instructions say the house must be empty when the bombs go off. The house has to be empty for two hours.

"I don't know," says Mum.

The next day we put the cat question to Callum.

"Why don't you put them in one of my cars?" suggests Callum, after a lot of thinking.

"They will boil in the car for two hours."

Finally Mum has another one of her fantastic and strange ideas. "Why don't we take them down to the park."

To the park? We all look doubtful.

"People take dogs down to the park so why don't we take our cats?" says Mum

 We all grin at the thought of us taking the cats for a walk.

Sophie, Charlotte and I hop into the van while Mum and Imogen get ready to set the flea bombs off. We have the cats in their carriers. Mum and Imogen come running out of the house.

"I set off all the flea bombs," says Imogen proudly.

Imogen and Charlotte are in the middle of the van with our cats Poppy and Jenny, while Sophie has to look after Sammy in the back.

Mum starts the van. I listen from the front of the van as the cats start meowing and yowling.

We finally reach the park. Sammy and Jenny stop yowling. They are fascinated by the ducks but Poppy doesn't like it at all. She starts trying to dig her way out of the pet carrier.

Lots of men with big dogs walk by and ladies with puppies. Two ladies stop to have a look at our cats.

"What have you here?" says two ladies.

"What an adorable cat you own," they say pointing to Poppy.

Mum reads part of a book to Sophie and me, while we are at the park. After a while Mum closes the book and I pick up my drawing.

"We can start heading home now," says Mum eventually.

We all get up and Imogen goes to find the cats' bowls which she fills with water, so she can give the cats a drink before their ride home.

Mum pulls in at the driveway. She goes into the house with Imogen and opens the door and all the windows. Imogen then returns to the van.

"Mum is airing the house. She told us to get ice-creams."

We walk up to the village shop and buy big ice-creams.

When we get home, Charlotte opens the front door and a terrible smell wafts up to our noses. Flea bombs smell awful.

I am glad it is all over. The fleas are gone and the house now smells okay.