Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Very, very frightening

We had a thunderstorm on Friday. The thunder was so loud that at one point I actually jumped off my chair in fright at the noise. At the same time lightening hit our street and knocked out the cable. It fried most of Andrew's computing equipment and meant we haven't had internet for quite some time. Time Warner said they would repair the cable connection yesterday between 8am-8pm. So we stayed home and guess what time they arrived? 7:55pm! Now Andrew is doing an inventory of all the broken pieces of electronics. This happened to us in Sydney as well. Is this co-incidence or are his electronics attracting lightening? Now we have internet and TV but I am way behind on blogging so there won't be much this week unless one little boy decides to have some good naps.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Product of the week: Pancake warmer

We have made a big effort in recent times to avoid "stuff" but I couldn't resist buying this pancake warmer for $9.99. I thought it would be a good joke present for Andrew. It turns out however that it is very effective at keeping pancakes warm whilst new pancakes are being made. I guess the joke is on me. It now stores the monkey/lion/elephant moulds and awaits our Saturday morning breakfast tradition.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


One of the fun things we have been waiting to do here in the US was to eat smores. There are three essential ingredients: graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. The marshmallows are toasted in the fire (or pizza oven in our case) and then wedged between two crackers with some (Lindt 85%) chocolate. They were very good and one very fun thing to do whilst camping.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Cables, trenches and mud

Much of the weekend was spent doing cabling work. Drying out the conduit which had filled up during the rains, feeding cables through, and sealing the ends. Some of the trenches are filled in but I'm afraid there is still a lot of work to be done as the backyard is still a huge mess.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Friday night pizza

On Friday night we were so busy having fun with pizza that we forgot to take any photos until the clean up stage! Terry, Petra, William & Elizabeth with Mike & Jen headed over for pizza. Andrew had learned last week that you can pre-roll pizza bases the night before. What he hadn't learned yet was that putting glad wrap/plastic wrap between each layer was essential. We know that now! And he ended up having to re-roll all the bases as they had stuck together. Chopping up the ingredients still takes a long time but the cooking time is very very fast. Andrew wasn't having a good night as he ignored his own advice and stacked his pizza topping extremely high (they slid off the base after cooking)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Well cared for

Our friends and church have looked after us very well since Henry's birth. Today marked our last provided meal (thanks Alexis!), nearly 6 weeks after his birthday. The freezer is now stocked with leftovers ready for the next few weeks. We have indeed been blessed by the generosity of those around us and we appreciate and love you all. [We especially love Jeaneen who braved the house of sickness to care for Henry on day 5 when we were unable to even get out of bed and our neighbours the Martins who looked after Lucy for the whole day]

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Wishlist update

3. 'Lick the bowl'
Lucy and I like to bake and for the past nine months I haven't been able to lick the mixing bowl. This is an important step in cooking to make sure everything tastes okay. But I have left the licking to Lucy. Not anymore!

4. Weed

This might seem like a strange one but if you know me its not (and this is one non-food related item on the list). I like things to be neat. I like gardening. Hence when I see our garden getting out of control with weeds I want to do something about it. I just need to slap on the ipod and some sunglasses and I'm set. The problem is timing! Between the NC extreme humidity and nursing it is very hard to find the time to commit to weeding. However on the weekend I managed to get two 1 hour blocks so that I could clean up the herb garden and getting it looking good again. Now I need about 5 hours to work on the front garden.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Scandalous medical costs continued

A friend of mine had a baby a couple of months ago. Due to some complications the baby was transferred to Duke in Chapel Hill and spent 10 days in the NICU. The bill was $57,000. My friend had to pay $700 of this bill and the rest was covered by insurance.

Another friend had a baby prematurely and the baby spent quite a few weeks in hospital locally. The bill was $60,000 of which my friend paid $300.

No wonder the insurance premiums are so high!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Wood fired oven creations

Of course everyone knows that the best pizza comes from a wood fired pizza oven. But now that we are lighting a fire every Friday night we are starting to experiment with cooking other things with the remaining heat. This weekend we cooked baked apples stuffed with raisins, almonds, currants and brown sugar for Saturday lunch. Andrew put a couple of lamb shanks in a tomato based stew and left them in the oven for 33 hours. Lucy and Andrew ate them for Sunday dinner and declared them delicious. They then sucked the marrow out of the shanks with straws. Gross.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Ditch witch digging

Andrew spent most of the weekend digging up our backyard with a ditch witch. He cut two long trenches: one for a water pipe and one for electrical cables. He also cut some trenches for water drainage at the back. He still has a lot of work to do in laying the cables but he got the back-breaking work done this weekend. We will soon have water and electricity at the pizza oven site.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Pizza oven update

Andrew has finished the tiling! He still needs to grout but there will be no more tile cutting or cementing. There is still stonework to do and the electrical cable needs to be laid but, dare I say it, the end is approaching. It needs to be as the County inspectors rang last week on the 12 month mark to check progress and have now extended the building permit. It is looking SO good!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Australian native plants

After much searching we tracked down some bottlebrush bushes last year and planted them at the side of the house near the garage. This year we were rewarded with several red flowers. Unfortunately they didn't last very long, just a couple of weeks, but we enjoyed them all the same. The plants are about to flower again so we look forward to some more wonderful red!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Scandalous medical costs

We have started getting the medical bills for Henry's birth and it is amazing/scary how much everything costs here. For example the delivery room cost $2980.00! It seems kind of mean to charge so much for using the delivery room when home births are illegal in North Carolina so women do not have a choice but to give birth in the hospital! I am keeping a list of all the costs involved and it is adding up to be a very scary number. And we don't get the Australian baby bonus even though we are helping to boost the Australian population!

We are still battling with the hospital to bill our insurer directly rather than go through us. Given that the hospital bills at the moment are nearly $6000 we are hoping that this gets sorted out soon.

Maybe Henry will have to become the US President one day and push through the health reforms that Americans seem so reluctant to embrace!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Whilst I was pregnant I created a short wishlist of things I'd like to do once I had given birth. I knew I'd be sleep deprived so I wanted to give myself an easy but fun list of things I could do. Now that I look at the list eight of the nine things are food related! I guess I was feeling a culinary deprivation. I'll have to add some more items to my list, for example I did keep 4 books aside from my reading list to specifically read after Henry's birth (short classics that would be easy to read) and I've read two of them already.

In any case I have achieved two of my items so far:

1. Eat raw sushi at Bento Box (My favourite is Rainbow KC - salmon, tuna, crab, asparagus and roe wrapped in cucumber in ponzu sauce)

2. Eat hollandaise sauce (poached eggs at Sweet & Savoury)

Monday, 3 August 2009

Weekend update

Friday night we had our first pizza night as a family of four! We are hoping to do this every Friday but we will need to be a little more organised as we didn't end up eating until almost 7pm. Lucy helped to roll out the dough bases and managed to get flour everywhere. We had a very excellent apricot and honey pizza for dessert which worked fantastically well as the apricots stuck to the base. Movie night followed and Lucy finally got to see Julie Andrews sing 'Supercalifragalisticexpialadocious' in Mary Poppins.

Saturday was hot so we had a quiet day at home. This was followed by a very busy Sunday at church and then Lilia's third birthday party. Lucy took charge of the camera and took about 50 photos until the memory card ran out of space. Henry was very tired but did not sleep through church or the party. He got a lot of cuddles! Everyone had a Sunday afternoon nap.