Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Reflection

Thank God for my blog - none of this I could have remembered on my own :-)

Let's see - On the work front, both hubby and I have been at our respective workplaces for almost 2 years - in fact we started in the same week in 2011! Kids have finished grade 5 & year 9, turning 10 & 15 respectively.
January saw me on a Christmas ornament stitching frenzy, perhaps in a fruitless attempt at surviving the 6 week school holidays in a sane and calm condition.
February meant the return to a crazy schedule of 2 kids at 2 different schools, meaning 2 hours on the road each day, dropping them off and picking them up. It also meant a crazy after school schedule of coaching & participating in our masters calisthenics team on a Monday night as well as a karate class, Tuesday meant another karate class, Wednesday was tennis, Thursday was 2 karate classes, Friday was DS assisting at a karate class & Saturday was either state team training for karate in the first half of the year or black belt training in the second half. Oh, and amongst all that our cat was bitten by a snake. A trillion dollars later, and some touch and go moments, and he's back to his usual self. See why I'm so frazzled yet?
March was the Victorian State Karate Championships, a compulsory event for state team selection. DS started the day by vomiting once. He'd been all stuffed up with a cold so I thought it might just be a build up of mucus because apparently blowing your nose is a sin. We went anyway in the hope it was a one off thing and he'd be fine. Turns out he wasn't and we returned home pretty much as soon as we got there. Not a great start to state team selection! Oh, and the following day he was just fine!
April saw us spend a weekend on the coast, down at Warrnambool, along with more stitching and stash purchasing :-)
May was apparently quiet, with either no time, or nothing to blog about. I'll take a few more months like that thanks! Um, I think it was actually a case of no time as there was a karate tournament or 2 I missed reporting on.  From 2 events at 2 tournaments DS gained a 1st and a 2nd in kata.
June saw another tournament, where DS did incredibly well to win kata, beating an older boy whom he had never beaten before. He was sooooo excited. The state team was announced at the presentation dinner and he made the team for both disciplines on offer!
July was pretty quiet, just another tournament where DS took home 2nd in kata. I believe Monday night debating ended for my other DS. Despite him personally doing well, I don't think his team won a debate. No real surprises as I don't think any class time was devoted to it, and many of the other team members did their prep just hours before the debate. :-O
August was exciting, we went to Plantation Island in Fiji. It was very relaxing and enjoyable, the only down side being the food. We had our first calisthenics competition where we did OK, but not as well as I'd hoped. Youngest DS also had a regional chess competition through school where his school came 3rd, earning him a medal. He personally came 4th overall and was the best one from his school. August was also Nationals for karate, held in Melbourne this year. Unfortunately DS had an unfavourable draw and was knocked out first round in both kata and kumite. He wasn't happy with his results as the last 2 years he has come 4th in kata and was hoping that he may break through for a medal. We also had our 2nd calisthenics competitions where we snuck up at the last minute to take 2nd place overall, a very pleasing result. It was our most successful comp in the masters team history.
September saw more competing, both calisthenics and karate. We did OK in team calisthenics, and also did our first ever duo where we also performed well. Karate was more successful, taking home 1st in kata with a new routine and narrowly missing 3rd in kumite.
October saw our last local calisthenics competition where did well, but not quite well enough to take home another 2nd place trophy. We came close though, with the trophy coming down to the last item again.
November saw the final competitions of the year. There was a karate tournament in Warrnambool so we decided to make a weekend of it. DS did well to take home 2 3rds. The car didn't do so well, getting 2 flat tyres in 2 days, almost leaving us stranded. I travelled interstate to the Gold Coast in Queensland to compete in the first ever calisthenics section at the Pan Pacific Masters Games, in both teams and a duo. We performed well, but were quite outclassed.
December was busy, busy. Lots of baking for Christmas and some exciting achievements for the kids. Eldest DS got his 3rd school award in 3 years, this time it was an overall one, the Julia Gillard award for overall excellence. Youngest DS earned his black belt in karate after 5 1/2 years of training.

Do you see why I need a drink nap now? If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading and get a life, seriously! ;-)
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Friday, December 28, 2012

My Latest WIP

Here is a progress picture of "Keep friends close at Christmas" by Imaginating. I won't be stitching the wording as it won't fit within the snowflake framed fabric.

WIP as of 28/12/12

What it should look like finished, minus the wording
It's so much more vibrant in the latter pic, although I'm using the called for threads. I hope the pic wasn't photoshoppped  to look so bright and glossy. Maybe mine will pop when backstitched? I hope so!
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas - Better Late Than Never

I hope you all had an enjoyable day with family, friends and loved ones. I spent the day with my family at my sister's house, with lots of good food. I've also done some baking for various things, here's rudolph caramel tarts that I made for my youngest son's class break up party:

And some oreo balls and "swirly" cookies gone wrong, but they tasted yummy! These were for dessert for lunch on Christmas day.

A butterscotch cream pie that tasted OK before I froze it, then it was kind of bland :-(. This was also for dessert for lunch on Christmas day.

Here's some "faux"rer roches I made as a gift for my husband.

This was also a request of my husbands, chocolate ripple cake for dessert at dinner on Christmas day.

Here's some bon bons I made for Christmas lunch.

Here's our table set for dinner, just the 4 of us.

And last but not least, just because he's cute, here is my sister's dog Beau with his present from us.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another Exciting Award

Yes, I know, I've been absent from my blog for sooooo long! Busy, busy, you know how it goes. Part of that busy-ness was my eldest son's school awards night. He is in his 3rd year of secondary school and has won an award each year. The last 2 years he won a class award, but this year he took out a school wide one! He won the Julia Guilard award which consisted of a personalised letter, a book and $50 voucher for school supplies. Not sure what he won it for exactly but it was something like overall excellence. A very proud moment indeed. :-)
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

There's a black belt in my house!

My 10 YO son has been doing karate for 5 1/2 years and has achieved quite a lot in that time, but this weekend was a very special moment. He gained his black belt and can now be called a sempai - or teacher/senior student. He had to do a 5 hour session on Friday night that involved basic skills and endurance. Then he came back on Saturday morning for 2 hours of various katas, including a weapons one. Then a lunch break and back for about 3 hours of demonstrations and sparring which was very challenging. Several of the young ones struggled with this aspect but toughed it out to gain their new belt. They also had a nice ceremony at the end where their main instructor walks each student down a candle lit aisle and presents them to the head sensei and everyone who assisted. He has worn his new belt with pride ever since he got it! Congratulations to my little sempai!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sweety is done!

  • Name of the design is "Sweety". I added the wording myself and made a few small changes along the way
  • Chart is from Allessandra Adelaide Needleworks
  • Fabric is 28 count "strawberry milkshake" evenweave from silkweaver. (I think - I deleted the part of my blog with all the info on it :-( )
  • Thread is a DMC.
  • Stitch count is  112 x 139 without the wording. 
  • Started on 3rd of October 2012
  •  Completed on  15th of November 2012.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some Stitchy Bits & Pieces

Here's a progress pic of "Sweety", which I started on the 3rd of October 2012. It's working up quite quickly. I'm toying with the idea of stitching "Kim's Kitchen" under it, framing it in a white frame and hanging it in my kitchen.

On another stitching note, I took advantage of a sunny dyes fabric sale at youthful hands needle crafts  recently. I got the following fabrics, including this cute winter print. I can just see a snowman or two on it.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

My new project

Just posting a "before" pic of my current project:

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Last Local Competition

We had our final local calisthenics competition yesterday and were hoping we may do well enough to take home a trophy. We gained 2 2nds and 4 3rds, and yet again it came down to the last item to find out the runner-up, but sadly this time it didn't go in our favour and we ended up 3rd overall. We were very happy with the 2 2nd places as they were for items we haven't done all that well in prior to this, with one only being half a point behind first place! Next up we take on the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November. There's 2 heats with the first 4 place getters in each item in each heat going through to the finals. I'm also competing in a duo competition. It should make for a lot of fun, especially being that it's on the Gold Coast. In November!
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cooking Up A Storm

Well it is school holidays here which means 2 weeks of no alarm unless I'm working, and no running around dropping kids here, there and everywhere. Due to all this extra time I have been experimenting with meals in the kitchen, as dinner is usually on the run between various classes and commitments.  I'm not sure what's for dinner tonight, I may have to browse my magazines before I head out grocery shopping later.
I made my own version of smashed potatoes, with Italian chicken meatloaves and Italian dinner rolls. 

I also made some red onion relish to go with ham steaks.
And sinful brownies for dessert.

Some time ago I also  made cupcakes for Father's Day. 

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

More karate & calisthenics

We had our third calisthenics competition of the year recently & it was quite disappointing. However, we have one more local competition before we head to the sunny Gold Coast in November for the Pan Pacific Masters Games. That will be a different competition as there are heats to get through first, as well as a duo competition which has never before been available to masters. In fact, our governing body is running a practise competition tonight which my partner and I have entered. It should be fun.

Also, DS #2 has competed at what will probably be his final karate tournament of the year. I wasn't sure who would enter as it was a week before the Oceania Championships. I figured those who had been selected for that would either enter for one final practise, or rest up and avoid injury. Turns out it was a bit of both, and the #1 kata kid didn't enter. There were 9 other boys entered though so 4 rounds to get through. DS had been talking to a friend from another club and they kind of decided that if they both got through to the final, they would try a new kata they'd both been working on. They practise the same style, so it would have made the judges job a little easier. Funnily enough they did both make the final, but only DS decided to give the kata a go. He was a little worried as there is a spinning jump right near the end of it and he wasn't sure he'd land it. However he did, and managed to take home 1st place!

Then in kumite he drew the really good 11 year old that in some stroke of bad luck, he had managed to come up against first round in 2 prior tournaments this year. Thankfully they were taking entries on the day and another boy entered, meaning they had to redo the draw. This worked in DS's favour as he got a different competitor first up. He fought really well to take that round 3-1. Next up was a much bigger kid but he kept with him and the points were even until the dying seconds when his opponent scored. Had he won that round he would have made the final, but ended up fighting the same kid he beat in the kata final for 3rd place. Again he fought really well but lost 1-2. He was rapt as he fought confidently in all his matches and none were one sided. Not to mention he was the only 10 year old in the final 4.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

Ok, first things first. Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there, I hope you get a relaxing, enjoyable day to do as you please. Just to make you smile, I'll post a pic:
On another note, I woke up yesterday and discovered this beauty. I presume it's just popped up overnight as I hadn't noticed it before, and it's pretty hard to miss.
In my final news, we had our second calisthenics comp of the year yesterday. We didn't do too well in our first one two weeks ago, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, although we were against mainly new teams. We do 6 different items and after the 4th one we were tied with another team for second place overall. Knowing we had our worst 2 items to come, I thought we would just miss the runners-up trophy. My fears appeared to be confirmed when the other team beat us in the fifth item, meaning they had a 2 point advantage going in to the last one. However, we shocked ourselves to win that item and grab the runners-up trophy. I'm afraid I was so shocked and excited that my speech was pretty embarrassing. This was our first comp ever where we won a medal in every item, gaining 2 firsts, 1 second and 3 thirds. Here's our trophy:

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chess Tournament

My youngest son, who's in grade 5, entered the inter school grade 6 chess tournament which was held yesterday. There were only 4 schools represented and his school came 3rd. I think he played 7 matches and won 5, several of them in some sort of "4 move checkmate". He was very pleased with his results, as he was the best player from his school, and he came 4th overall out of 30 kids. He did get a"distinction" certificate saying he was in the top 10% of the region - not sure how 4th out of 30 is in the top 10% but hey, it's chess not maths! This is the first medal that he didn't win through karate.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

We went to Fiji!

How could I forget the most exciting news of all? We recently spent 5 days on Plantation Island in Fiji, with a night on the mainland either side. It was very relaxing as we didn't try and cram too much in which is often what we do on holidays. Sadly the food wasn't very nice and I even managed to LOSE weight while away! However the rest of the trip was great. We swam, snorkelled (off shore and on a couple of boat trips), kayaked, took a banana boat ride, lay in hammocks, had a massage, got my hair braided, took an island hopping tour and visited an island village.

Lookout at Mana Island
View from our room
Sunset on Plantation Island
Plantation Island
Fish off the pier at Plantation Island
Our room
Cocktails by the pool
The new extreme sport of hammocking
Perfection on Turtle Island

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I'm Baaaccckkk!

I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth lately. I've had so much to do that blogging and cross stitching haven't featured in my life for ages. Let's see, a quick run down of what's been going on in my life:

DS had another small karate tournament where he met the number 1 kid in the final and lost to take home 2nd place in kata. Kumite he lost out first round to a stronger boy again. Then came nationals which were quite disappointing for him. He had placed 4th in the last 2 nationals in kata, but got a strong draw and lost first round this time. In kumite he also got a stronger opponent first round but managed to keep the score at 0-2 which was by no means a massive loss.

We have had our first calisthenics competition for the year and our results were also not what I was hoping for. Our next one is next weekend so hopefully we can improve.

I picked up a needle again for the first time since May, yes May, and finished a Christmas ornament I had been working on for my kids. I don't know any of the details of where it came from, but here he is anyway:

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