Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas. I trust you all had a wonderful time with family and friends. I know some don’t have the blessing of mobs of family around them, so, I really appreciate the luxury of a large family. I must say that this time last year things were not as merry. I was very tired due to being sick, and was looking forward to having my breast cancer removed a few days after Christmas, so couldn’t focus on the festivities. I feel very happy to be celebrating Christmas a year later surrounded by most of my family, we even Skyped Sarah and just left it going so we felt like we were all together as she chopped and prepared for their Christmas dinner in Sydney, and we cooked for our brunch here in Perth. Modern technology is amazing. It must have been hard if you lived centuries ago, as you said goodbye to family who moved miles away, often never to be seen again. Mail took ages, and to travel on long train or coach rides to get to visit would have been a major even. Now we just jump on Skype or a plane and in a few hours, we our hugging the little people we are missing.
Meanwhile, our roof is on our house. Things are going very quickly, so we should be able to lock things up in a couple of weeks. It is much more exciting thinking about tiles and decorating instead of brickwork and gutters.
We had great fish and chips down on Rockingham foreshore, catching up with our good friends Chris and Marcia, who moved from Perth to Kangaroo Island a couple of years back. They are in the west to spend time with the grandees before heading back to the peace and quiet of life on the Island. It is like living in an animal sanctuary, Koalas and wild life everywhere you go, just lovely!
The New Year is approaching. and with it all the resolutions, which we genuinely mean to keep but, often don’t. The thing is if you really want to do something, you usually will. We make room for what is important to us. Can I just encourage you to do like Isaiah said ‘forget the former things’ don’t look back, at past mistakes, just because you failed before, doesn’t mean you will fail this time. The year ahead is new, with no footprints on it as yet.
It is never to late to start fresh!
I made this yummy Nut Loaf so that the Vegetarians in the family would feel like it was Christmas. I just pulsed
Nut Loaf
1 onion
3 spring onions
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1/2 zucchini
pop this in a large bowl and add
2/3 cup chopped apricots
1 red capsicum diced
300 grms mixed nuts (whatever you have) pulsed gently so they are still chunky
1 cup flour (I used white S/R, but, any would work)
2 eggs
1 heaped teaspoon sage and oregano
1 tspn garlic powder
salt and pepper
cover with foil and bake in a loaf tin lined with baking paper for 50 mins – 1 hour
180 c
Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce, or cold with salad.
I’ve got to say, I don’t particularly like mushrooms, and you can’t even taste them, they just blend in.
I have several friends going through Chemo Therapy at the moment, which sucks. Unfortunately, life throws us curves at very inconvenient times, and we just have to cope. You are in my thoughts, and for others that have unpleasant things going on in their family lives, try to steal moments of enjoyment in amongst the dramas, so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed.
Merry Christmas from our house to yours xx
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Bricks Arrived

Here is Allan watering our pad a couple of weeks ago, to stop it curing too quickly. I wonder if he thought it might grow into a bigger house. Nah! It is perfect for two and can accommodate house guests and family dinners.
The Bricks, Cement, Shed, and toilet all arrived yesterday. Our brickie is raring to go, so is already getting stuck in.
I made a mistake with the building insurance. Stupid me thought I was paying a premium for the term of our house build, wrong, they charge yearly just like anything else. Being a bit gung ho, I signed up immediately I read that we needed it on our owner builders course, this was last October, we didn’t even get approval for our plans from the council till December. Consequently, we are having to pay for an extension to our policy. You live and learn.
Also a word to Owner Builders, order your window frames early. Things moved very fast for us because our bricky is going on holiday for six weeks in December, so needs to be finished with our house. I found myself hurrying to try and get window quotes, and ended up paying $1300 more than our lowest quote which came in late, so I could get the frames delivered in two weeks. Most places take 3-4 weeks. Our lowest quote came in after I had ordered from the other glass place, and they only took 10 working days, I was a bit annoyed, but, too bad ‘there is no use crying over spilt milk’, my Mum always said.
For the most part, owner building you can save on all the little things. We have paid for some custom made wooden door frames for our French doors and Front door etc, but, most of the interior doors were purchased from Gumtree for $20 or $25. Even with our Powerpass from Bunnings standard door frames are $64 each, so all these little bits add up, and we generally have been able to source things that are not far from home, and usually with the occasional fish and chip stop on the way home for our trouble.
Anyway, that is enough of house talk for now. Saturday night we celebrated with our good friends Dave and Denise as they celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. We share our beautiful Granddaughter Hannah with them. Such a talented family, they all entertained us with their singing talents, we felt like we were at the Royal Command Performance.

Next Friday I go for my first Mammogram, I can’t believe it is nearly a year since I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Also, Wedding season is upon us, so my Celebrant life is getting very busy, so it is good that I don’t have to do much house stuff for a little while and can concentrate on other things.

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Pad Party

I have been meaning to post this for a week. Our house Pad is down at Che’ Summers. Whoo Hoo! Very exciting. Our tradies have been awesome so far, so helpful and organising things for us over and above the call of duty.
Things are moving very fast, now I am trying to organise window frames, bricks and frames. Coordinating it all is like juggling. Everything needs to be on site for the brickie, a toilet, lock up shed, power box, lintels, door frames, window frames, scaffolding, cement, sand, mesh, insulation for the walls, brick ties, flashing for wooden doors. Hopefully, that is all. Once that is all done I can take a breath for a moment and get onto some other stuff. (hopefully decorating will come into it, brick ties and M4 cement are not that exciting to a girl).
Its raining here at the moment, but, we still need to go down and water the pad for a few days, to make sure it doesn’t cure too fast. The rain isn’t enough to count.
Meanwhile, in Claremont today, grandson Beau was mesmerised by this man with a beautiful yellow and orange parrot on his shoulder, just sitting there in the street.

Lets Build a House

Went for my Radiation Oncology follow-up this afternoon, and he was pleased with everything. It looks like Check ups at hospitals and scans will be a part of my life for some time to come. But, for now we are concentrating on building our house in Golden Bay. Because we are owner building and that requires a very hands on experience, We had to put it on hold while I had surgery and follow-up treatment for the Breast Cancer. Anyway, now it is full speed ahead.

I want to blog about this part of the journey, because even though I have done an owner builders course and looked up heaps of information, I thought it would be nice to show step by step the order we did things in.
Before I start I just want to say, I am definitely not an expert and this is just our experience and not an exhaustive list of how to Owner Build. If you are building two-story, or renovating, you would have other things to do that we do not. So please don’t yell at me or write nasty letters, if you think I have said something wrong.

First, we had plans drawn up by our draftsman friend Ross. He must have done a great job because they got passed straight away. An engineering firm, checked the block, did site and soil testing and did working drawings of the footings etc to go with the house plans.

Got a quote and plan for electrical work to go with all the other stuff then we submitted all this to the Council. We didn’t realise that new builds now have to meet 6 star energy rating, so had to send our plans to an Energy Assessor to make sure they pass the 6 star rating. The only thing we needed to do was put blow in insulation in our living area as it gets the afternoon sun. Natalie our assessor, said if we can budget it in it would be great to do the whole house, so hopefully we will be able to do this and save a lot on energy bills. Rockingham City Council were great and sent out a list of Energy Assessors, Surveyors, Engineers etc in our local area. That was all good, and our plans were approved and sent back looking all official and stamped, ready to get building. The next day I found out I had breast cancer, which kind of spoilt things.

Before building in Western Australia you need to apply (online) to the Water Authority for permission, this was granted and we paid the application fee.

Our friend Glenn came with his Dingo and cleared our block. When we bought it it was flat with hardly any vegetation. Now it has been so long since we started, and being the last house on the street to build it now has brickies sand, great big clumps of cement, bags, cans, pavers, and roof tiles, along with limestone all dumped by the builders close by. I did complain to the builders next door, as the tiles match their build, but, they didn’t care, which, I expected, but, wanted to have my say anyway.

Next step will be the finish off of the site clear and prep. Will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, took some time off from thinking about house stuff, and headed to the beach with Beau for a walk as we were babysitting him, he always has so much energy, its good to use some up, plus the exercise was great for us oldies.

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Enjoying the now

He just needs a mexican moustache and he is ready to go

He just needs a mexican moustache and he is ready to go

Daughter in law Dani, Hayley, Beau and I went on our Bi Yearly op-shop crawl. Last time we did the CBD, but, this time we stayed around Mandurah. Had a great day and got lots of bargains. Beau who is three just loves the variety of toys to play with as we move from shop to shop.
We stopped for lunch at Grilled in Mandurah, and enjoyed not for the first time the pleasure of living in this lovely location, which in past years we only experienced when we were on holiday.
Meanwhile, I am stalking building sites, trying to get my head around what needs to be on site, when. We hope to get the site works started really soon.

I find it all very exciting. Over the weekend we purchased an as new cupboard for the laundry, and a kitchen sink brand new off Gumtree. Our house is starting to fill up with French doors, wooden door jams, taps, lights and other assorted things for the fit out later. They say if you take care of the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves.
Needless to say, this owner building has completely taken over my thought life, and so I realised I have completely forgotten about Breast Cancer.
My hair is growing back, it looks like dark grey felt, so not beautiful enough to show a picture of as yet. Will keep you posted.
Thursday is my follow-up appointment with Radiation Oncology, then in November will be my first Mammogram since this journey began. It is hard to believe that once that happens a year will have gone by already. Wow!
Have a fabulous week.

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