Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"No Junk Mail"


When I am canvasing my Territories for new Avon clients, I don't put brochures in mail boxes marked "No Junk Mail". Today I was collecting brochures that I had dropped off the other day and one person had written on the order form:

"Please do not use my mail box for your junk."

I'm genuinely curious for your responses... as they didn't have a "No Junk Mail" sticker on their mail box, is the above commented warranted? I'd really love to hear what you think... and it's okay if you take the side of the person who wrote that message!

NB: For those of you who are concerned about the amount of paper that is used to produce the Avon brochure hopefully these points will relieve you: 1.) I collect the brochures after dropping them off, so they can be reused to canvas more areas; 2.) Once the brochures have expired, I put them in the recycle bin so they can be re-manufactured; 3.) Avon brochures are printed on paper sourced from sustainably managed forests (see the "Avon Paper Promise" here)

Sugar Cane Season

We are certainly experiencing some unique things living up here in Far North Queensland! This last week seems to have marked the beginning of sugar cane harvesting. You can pretty much drive in any direction in/from Cairns and pass a sugar cane field. While we were driving to Mission Beach on Friday, we saw the cane being harvested and caught a glimpse of a sugar cane train or two.

That in itself isn't really that unique or exciting, but what makes it so interesting is that the light rail tracks that carry the sugar cane train, run through our suburb, and right at the end of our street (very unsuspecting in the small, quiet area we live in!). To get to my local supermarket, I cross over the lines twice. We've gotten so used to not having to slow down because it wasn't sugar cane harvest, but the sound of the train horn (Do trains have horns? Or are they called something else?!) that we just started hearing from our house, gives us fair warning that we need to start watching for trains at the crossings.

The sound of the train isn't annoying (at least, not at the moment!), even when it toots; I'm enjoying the fact that just when things start to seem normal up here, something 'new' comes along and gets me thinking afresh about where we are living. Heaven forbid that we start to take for granted, living in Cairns! The train is a new sound and without being able to put it into sufficient words, it's giving me a fresh perspective on being up here. Praise God that 'normal' keeps changing!

I haven't seen the train in our area yet, just heard it, but here's a picture I found on the internet:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Office with a View

Many of you know that I am an Avon Representative. I love it for many reasons:

1. It provides a little extra pocket money
2. I can work the hours I want
3. I can have Darling Daughter with me while I 'run my business'
4. It gives me an excuse to get out of the house and go for a walk (which means much needed exercise!)
5. I'm meeting some lovely people as I find new clients
6. It exposes me to some beautiful areas of my neighbourhood that I normally would never see.

Just the other day, I was walking around canvasing a new 'Territory' I was assigned and discovered this gorgeous area only 10 minutes walk from where we live:


Our suburb is surrounded by mountains/hills, so a lot of the roads are quite steep. I got quite a work out, especially pushing the pram up those inclines! But it was so worth it as I practically walked through rainforest to deliver brochures! As you can especially see from the first photo, the scenery was gorgeous. I was amazed that there were houses in amongst all that rainforest... and even more amazed that it was in walking distance from our house!

I definitely need to go exploring more around our area, whether I'm delivering brochures or not! This is just too beautiful to never discover!

Mission Beach

For Hubby's day off yesterday, we decided to check out Mission Beach, which is about 2 hours south of Cairns. My parents-in-law will be staying there in a couple of weeks, so we thought we do a test drive down there!

It was extremely windy, but we enjoyed being down on the beach. Darling Daughter (DD) wasn't so sure! She enjoyed playing in the sand, but wasn't so keen on the water!

It's a bit hard to hear, but this video is where Daddy is calling out shapes that he drew in the sand and DD is pointing out each shape (we're not proud parents, or anything!)...

video

At one point, DD was so scared of the water, she clung to the backs of my legs!










Despite it being so windy, it was a lovely day and we enjoyed the drive down as a family. DD was such a good girl... she slept on the way there, had an absolutely ball on the beach and then slept again on the way home... no grizzles all day (perhaps a new record!).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Bend and Snap

Darling Daughter has just started to attempt jumping. Poor little thing, she hasn't quite got the coordination for it yet, but she's having fun trying... and we're enjoying the entertainment value of her efforts! We even caught it on video for you to enjoy as well! You'll note that closer to the end she's even a natural at the "Bend and Snap"... I love that the second ever bend and snap she attempts actually has the back arch and arm position correct!

video

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home Improvements

Now that we are settled in our home, I've found it time to go through each room and organise it a little better. As I mentioned in my first post on this new, fresh blog "you know when you move into a new house, you find places for everything, but after living there for a while, you realise there's better ways of putting things"... so I'm doing just that - finding a better way of putting things. Hence, Home Improvements!

My main focus has been rearranging cupboards and finding I have even more storage space than I realised, which is a wonderful discovery. I'm also happy to report that we now have a dedicated guest room, instead of a spare room that doubled as both a guest room and a toy/play room for Darling Daughter (DD) that contained a toy box and an area for her to play in. There were constantly toys all over the floor and the futon (when not functioning as a bed) was used as a dumping ground for stuff that needed to get put in the cupboard but I'll "do it later". We were never using the futon as a couch, so I decided to keep it as a permanent bed and moved the toy box out of the room. The result: a guest room!
(it's no Plaza Hotel but Hubby & I both love the feel of the room when we walk passed it now... feels more welcoming & seems to complete the house!)

(this is what it previously looked like, albeit a bit neater than it normally looked!)

We have a huge 'outdoor' area, that is actually technically indoors (fully enclosed), that forms part of the garage (it's a little hard to explain - come and visit and see for yourself!). Anyway, we've wanted to make the outdoor area an eating area and DD's play area. We've achieved the latter, but our boat (tinnie) is currently being stored in the other half of the area, so until we get it fixed, buy a cover for it and move it out to an arranged area at the school, we can't convert the other half of the area to an entertainment/eating area. This will come in time! But I digress, again! The toy box which was in the other room, was moved out to this area and I bought a few boxes so I could organise the toys so it was easier to keep them neat and tidy (DD has learned well that we pack up one box of toys, before we open another box to play with!)
DD playing happily on the foam alphabet mat. In the back ground are the toy box and individual boxes of toys... too many in my opinion! I'm slowly building up a craft box, which you can see on the shelf above the boxes!

This photo is looking back on the play area (sorry it's sideways... I STILL haven't worked out why that happens!! *$&@^#) The boat is currently stored to the immediate right of this picture

Since taking these pictures, I also brought out our portable CD player, which now sits on the shelf above the boxes and we play heaps of music during the day. DD loves dancing and giggles lots when Mummy or Daddy join in!

Mary or Martha Moment

I'm having a Mary or Martha moment... each Wednesday evening I/we host a Revelation study with some people from the church. Being Wednesday, that's on tonight. And being the leader of the study, I'd normally have read through the study and leader's guide to give me a heads up before the study tonight... but I haven't! Hence my Mary or Martha dilemma. It's not an exact comparison of the original text but this gives you an idea:

Be a Mary and read up on the study in preparation (sit at Jesus' feet and hear Him speaking to me) or;

Be a Martha and make sure the kitchen looks a bit more organised than it is now, in preparation of our guests tonight?

Okay, so I know what the obvious answer should be, but it's not as easy as that! Normally, I would do the study during Darling Daughter's (DD) nap time so I'm not distracted or interrupted and can truly focus on the study and absorb the words and what God is saying to me. Unfortunately I'm in this dilemma because I missed reading up during DD's nap and now that she's is awake I'm not going to be able to concentrate like I need to. So, should I just clean the house instead because it doesn't matter if she interrupts me while doing that? *sigh* oh the decisions! LOL

Alright, so I'm procrastinating by blogging instead of reading or cleaning, but I just had to share... isn't the saying something like a problem shared is a problem halved... or something to that effect!

Time to go reading... or cleaning... or reading! Okay, decision made, I'm going to attempt the reading and see how may interruptions I get (I'm not hopeful for a peaceful reading session!) and then give up and start cleaning... at least I will have tried... and another saying just to keep the vibe going: it's better to have tried and failed, than to have not tried at all. Deep huh?! LOL again!

Okay, now I'm really going to go and read (I promise, I'm going to try!)...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Importance of Teaching Children (2) ...

As I mentioned in a previous post, Hubby has recently started teaching our Darling Daughter the finer points of life skills. Here's another skill he's taught her (we are so proud!). LOL

video

I love how she laughs after she does it each time!

It's very hard to capture it on camera (both video and photo), but here's a close up picture of newly learned skill as well!

Monday, June 13, 2011

MasterChefaholic

Hi, my name is Janelle and I'm a MasterChefaholic.

Yes, I'm addicted to a cooking show! I can't help it! In previous Series, I've watched the show on and off. In Series 1, I was following Julie through, but if I missed an episode, it didn't bother me. In Series 2, I'm not even sure I watched one episode! I may have, but it wasn't intentional! However, Series 3 has me hooked. Not for any reason except I LOVE watching MasterClass on a Friday night. There have been a number of dishes I've watched being created, with some great tips for getting it right along the way. As I mentioned in a previous post, my sister-in-law and I attempted the Classic Baked Cheesecake, we think the end result was a success:
Call me crazy, but on Friday we are having visitors over for dinner and I'm planning on attempting (take a deep breath 'cause it's a mouthful) "Chocolate Marquise with Mascarpone Cream and Pedro Jimenez Poached Plums". They made it look easy (and oh, so delicious!) so of course, I can't resist giving it a go. I better have a back up plan in case it doesn't turn out... would hate for our guests to miss out on dessert because of a flop!

With all good reality TV shows, I've also (unintentionally!) gotten hooked on the contestants, seeing who is up for elimination and who is safe for another week. I don't have one particular favourite, but I do have my eye on a few people. And then there's those that I don't care if they get sent home or not. I do watch in awe as they put together dishes day by day, knowing that I could never do that... so MasterClass is my way of putting my toe in the water!

So, stayed tuned for an update on how Friday's dessert goes!

Play At Home Mom

What a great job title for me! I admit, I can't take credit for it though... through a friend, I found "Play At Home Mom's" Facebook page, with a heap of fantastic, cool ideas for playing with your kids at home. So many craft activities that I want to start exploring with my Darling Daughter. I just discovered that they have started up their own blog page: Play At Home Mom so even more opportunity for inspiration!

I look forward to posting about the fun activities we do together!

Drawing special pictures for Nana and Nanny last month for Mother's Day and another special picture for Nana's birthday

Attempted painting a picture on the back of Nana's Mother's Day picture with home made paint (recipe found in a parenting magazine), but the paint was too thick and gluggy!

The end result for Nana's birthday drawing. Very colourful!

Another type of Darling Daughter's artistic ability. Her favourite canvas to draw on are our tiles! Here she is helping Mummy clean it up (thank goodness for Crayola - it comes off so easy!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Date Night

Hubby and I went on our first Date Night Friday week ago, since arriving in Cairns in January. Thanks to some wonderful, generous friends, we were able to dine at the Sebel Reef House Restaurant in Palm Cove for free! (a lovely ordination gift for Vaughn) We had THE most delicious meals and were savouring every mouthful!

Hubby had the Black Label Eye Steak:
I had Ravioli of Pumpkin:
Accompanied by a red wine and a cocktail called Sea Breeze:
Not that we needed it, but I also ordered a chocolate fondant for dessert, but I forgot to take a picture of that mouthwatering dish!

It's always special going out on a date with my husband... these dates are few and far between!

Come Fly With Me

Here are some photos especially for my mum, as requested. Thankfully on our flight to the States at the end of last year, we had a bassinet seat, so Darling Daughter (DD) was able to sit and sleep in that, freeing up our arms and space to stretch a little. DD became quite the jet setter and was very content to sit in the bassinet and watch DVDs on the portable DVD player she got for Christmas.
(These photos were taken with Hubby's phone and I've only just gotten around to uploading them off the phone!)

The Importance of Teaching Children...

Hubby has recently started teaching our Darling Daughter the finer points of life skills and I thought I'd capture it on video for you... it's a little long, but all good lessons take time!

video

Monday, June 6, 2011

Go Ahead, Make My Day!

While we were down in Brisbane a couple weeks ago (Hubby attending his first District Pastor's Conference while his girls caught up with a friend and her daughter), we were having lunch down at South Bank. While we walked around, deciding what to get for lunch, a lovely old man came up to me and said how lovely it was to see young children.

"I'm 85 years old and it's good to see the young ones". I turned the pram so my daughter was facing him and he said "thank you, you've just made my day." He then said goodbye and shuffled off. He made my day too!


I couldn't resist taking a quick photo of him as he walked off. It still warms my heart to remember that brief moment!

Old Fashion Remedies

I'm an old fashion girl in so many ways, so it's nice when an old fashion remedy still works these days with all the advance medicines available to us.

Our household has succumbed to the flu/cold, but the doctor said that because it's viral, there's nothing we can take. Ah, huh! But, what about good old fashion Vicks VapoRub?
I put some on last night and what a relief! No more blocked nose overnight so a good solid sleep - just what you need when you're sick!

And here's a little tip that I've used for years... rub some Vicks on your feet and put on a pair of socks before you go to bed. The Vicks will work through your body in much the same way as you put it on your chest, if not better and as a bonus, in the morning, you'll have beautifully soft feet! (for more tips for Vicks uses, click on the "photo credit" above, which I stumbled across this morning!)

Another tip for Vicks: if your meerkats are fighting, hide their scent with VapoRub, by rubbing it on their noses. I've had meerkat fighting problems for years, so I'm glad I came across this website - our household will be much better for it! (I am kidding about our meerkat problem, just in case you weren't sure - our meerkats get along well and don't fight!) (Okay, you caught me out again, no, we don't really have meerkats, although my mum would love it if we did as they are her favourite animal)

What are your old fashion remedy tips that you use?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Visitors

Last weekend, we were excited to see my sister-in-law and her kids come up for 4 days for a mini holiday. For a lot of the time, I played tour guide and got to see some sites of the Cairns area that I hadn't seen before.

The kids went swimming in the Lagoon, on the Esplanade of Cairns:

We attempted the Donna Hay Classic Baked Cheesecake (from Masterclass)... and think it turned out quite well... and the taste test wasn't a disappointment!

We drove to Paronella Park, a castle located about 1hr 20min drive from Cairns. Beautiful grounds and I can't wait to go back there with Hubby and see it lit up at night:

And on their last day here, we took the Skyrail up to Kuranda, where we saw the Barron Falls and the Butterfly Sanctuary.
It was sad to see them leave, but we have some wonderful memories to cherish until we catch up again!

A Fresh Start!

I thought it was time to get a new look for my blog and while I was at it, a new name! So, what's in a name? Well, the most obvious is the fact that Spring is my last name! Other reasons for my new blog name:

- I love the season Spring. The weather hasn't gotten too hot yet, (I'm not a hot weather kind of gal - ironically, we are now living in Cairns, so God does have a sense of humor!) and Spring brings new life; the plants are so green, the flowers full of colour and there are baby animals all around! What's not to like?!

- Speaking of new life, as a Christian, we have the ultimate new life in Christ. Easter, as suitably celebrated in Spring in America is proof of this. And although Easter as the 'one day a year' event has passed, we can celebrate Easter and our new life every day! That's pretty awesome!

- Starting this new blog, I feel like I'm 'Spring Cleaning" cyberspace. Over this week, I've been thoroughly cleaning the house from top to bottom and moving things around (you know when you move into a new house, you find places for everything, but after living there for a while, you realise there's better ways of putting things?)... well, I thought I should extend that cleaning to my blog... when I first started my original blog, I didn't come up with a catchy, interesting blog name. However, with all my friends' blogs that I keep up-to-date with, I was inspired to come up with something a little more creative. Admittedly, it's only a small leap from my original blog name (The Springs), but much softer and and not quite so rigid!.

So, "Forever Springtime"... appropriate, don't you think?!

(NB: If you want to keep regularly updated on new posts, you can either subscribe by RSS feed (see the link to the right) or via email (add your email address in the box to the right). Too easy and it means you'll never miss out on a post... which means I need to make sure I'm staying on top of keeping this blog up-to-date! Also, I'd love it if you clicked on the "Follow" button so I can see who's interested in my Blog, thanks!)Link