Monday, May 31, 2010

Apples and OCD

The husband brought me back a big box of apples from Cobram. Looks like it's time for a big baby food cook up... and maybe a pie.

In other news the house declutter continues. I've even arranged my books by colour... a little anal retentive maybe but it makes me oh so happy! A little patch of order in a disorderly world.

Don't you just love peeking at other people's bookshelves?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rage remorse...

Photo (once again) from Uncle Ross - I don't have a camera this weekend so I had to reach into the archives for this picture of the husband with Minty.

I confess, I was in a foul mood yesterday. The washing machine has broken down, my home phone hadn't been working in two days and the vacuum clogged and wouldn't work either. Both the kiddlets were on sleep strike for the day and as a result were behaving wretchedly. To top it off my husband was set to be away for the entire weekend photographing a Christening in Cobram, taking both my car and camera with him. Let's just say I might have been a little snarky and possibly took things out on the said husband. I may or may not have made one or two snide comments about how I was going to have to ride into town on my horse and buggy to send a telegram.

Today I feel a little ashamed...

My lovely husband stayed up late last night (even though he had a 5:30am start and a six hour drive ahead of him) to fix the phone and when I got up in the morning I discovered he had cleaned the kitchen, put the dishwasher on and (here is the clincher) bought me a king size Toblerone and put it in my secret chocolate stash location on the top of the fridge. He even arranged for his mum to drop us off dinner so I wouldn't have to cook tonight (thanks Diana!). We've been together for just about ten years but it's days like today that I remember why I love him so much, and why I am such an arse!

Friday, May 28, 2010


*shock* "What's this control crying you speak of?"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Glass and a half full...

A little list of things I'm loving on this cold, wet Wednesday evening...

1. Cadbury chocolate in now fair trade! Amazing. Now I no longer have to divide my guilt between western exploitation of third world labour and the amount of fat I'm delivering to my thighs.

2. This video...

3. It's silverbeet and pumpkin season. Loving the fact that I can pull out all my winter veg recipes again - really is there anything better than silverbeet pasta??

4. This...

It is a stunt pulled to raise awareness about the loss of funding for the New York public library (you can read about it here). Props for creativity.

5. Home made bubble mix (more info and pictures on this to follow in the next couple of days)

6. The sales at Seed. Can you believe these jeans are only $29.95? If only I had a spare $30...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life is a cabaret old chum...

We currently have the sound track from Cabaret on repeat play. Minty is obsessed. When she wakes up in the morning before I've even had a chance to make her breakfast she says, 'Please mummy, put my money on'. I go about my daily tasks, washing the dishes as 'Beedle dee dee dee dee two ladies' pipes on in the background and Minty dances about bopping her shoulders up and down, somersaulting across the lounge room and sliding into the splits for her big finish. She calls out 'sing with me mummy!' whenever 'Tomorrow Belongs to Me' comes on the stereo which feels a little eerie given the intended subtext of German patriotism and the rise of National Socialism.

What can I say? I'm not sure this is exactly what people meant when they said they were concerned about young girls being exposed to raunch culture but I seem to have exchanged the sleaze of pop stars like Lady Gaga and The Pussy Cat Dolls for the 1931 equivalent. In my defence, I've never let MInty actually watch the film and I'm quite sure her attraction to the music is solely due to the unusual orchestration. Still I can't shake the feeling I should be trying to steer her toward some more wholesome listening before she sings 'If you happen To be rich, and you feel like a night's entertainment you can pay for a gay escapade', or some other similarly inappropriate lyrics, at our baptist playgroup.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

birthday love...

Happy 30th birthday to 'cool' Uncle Simon!
xoxo Love Minty and Turi
We're lucky to have you in our lives.

Photos courtesy of Uncle Ross

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First food...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Painting dilemas...

Image from Domino Nov 2008

Nobody freak out but I'm considering painting our bedroom dark blue. Either that or white (because I'm all about the extremes). I think it could either make the room seem warm and cozy or like a being entombed in a navy coffin. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm tired...

I just have to say my least favourite chore is cleaning out the oven. I mean it really is a thankless task. I know it has to be done but I am the only person who ever opens the oven so after I have spent an hour of back breaking scrubbing no one is going to give a brass razoo. Sure other chores are tiresome but they are much more visible. People are going to notice when the bathroom is sparkling clean and when their clothes are freshly laundered and folded away. But no one pops around for a cup of tea and peeks their head into the oven to remark on how pristine (or otherwise) it is (unless perchance you are inviting Gordon Ramsay over for scones). It really is the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it. So I'm just going to take this opportunity to shout it out to you all… 'TODAY I CLEANED THE OVEN'. And in case you were wondering I would like a medal and a mars bar.

I know today was supposed to be nearly wordless Tuesday but I never really was much good at keeping quiet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nearly wordless week: Monday

I'm in the process of a major declutter, scrub down and clean out of the entire house. Since this process is a bit time consuming there might be a few less words on the blog this week.

We've finally converted little Minty's cot into a big girl's bed. She's spent a fair amount of time dismantling her room, reading books from her book shelf and sleeping on the floor. Here's hoping for some sweet dreams for the little ones tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2010

rainy days...

Well the wet weather has well and truly set in. And with it (as I'm sure you're all aware) comes it's own set of parenting challenges. The week can seem very long when every day is wet and dreary. We've moved our finger painting operation indoors. We have carpet throughout the house so we do our painting on the lino bathroom floor. The added bonus being that we are right next to the bath when it's time to clean up a paint covered small body. I just use an old plastic bag like a drop sheet and any paint that wanders off the bag is easily wiped up with a damp cloth.

I really do love this time of year though. All the tourists have finally gone home. Minty and I have been fossicking along the virtually private beaches with not another living soul (save a seagull or two) in site. It's finally cold enough that Minty is less inclined to launch herself fully clothed into the ocean (always a risk in the more trans-seasonal weather). She's keeping her special beach treasures in an old jar. Not quite as perfect a storage method as this painter's block (see picture below) but pretty non the less. I'm keeping my eye out on my thrifting travels in the hope of finding something similar.

The image above comes from Heart Felt. You really should pop across and visit. It is such a lovely blog and really inspiring if you're looking for ideas for having fun outside with your kiddlets.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Introspection: a belated post-mother's-day reflection on motherhood

All my adult life I've had a recurring nightmare that I am sitting an exam and don't know any of the answers. I haven't studied, and I don't just mean I haven't done the pre-exam revision. I haven't studied for the whole semester, haven't done any of the reading, sometimes haven't even turned up to class at all. Last night I was sitting a history exam on the Russian Revolution. I couldn't answer a single question, my pencil didn't even write a single thing on the paper. Clearly it's a dream about failure but also I think it's about not reaching my full potential, whether because of laziness, arrogance, fear. Unless of course the dream is some freudian psychosexual exploration (just saying, I'm not a qualified analyst or anything!).

You might be wondering what is triggering my nightmare at the moment given that I'm full time at home with the kids. Well last night I was reading this post about confessions of unclean habits in the kitchen. The post itself wasn't anything that shocking, (though who knew the microwave had a filter???), but the commenters were like a frenzy of piranas attacking the filth of the people confessing. What struck me was the complete lack of compassion or imagination on the part of those criticising that they couldn't conceive of a single situation in which someone may not have the inclination to douse their kitchen in bleach every evening. Those who were defending the behaviour seemed to feel the need to list all the things a modern women has to juggle as an excuse for not having time, full time work, volunteering, caring for sick relatives, lazy husbands etc. It really came across that women didn't feel like raising their kids was enough of a reason to be busy and tired.

I guess in this post-feminist era motherhood isn't really valued in and of itself. We feel pressured to be more and do more. Occasionally childless women (most notably Oprah) will patronisingly and insincerely proclaim that full time mums have the hardest job on earth. Clearly it isn't. I'd hazard a guess and say that trauma surgeons, and counsellors of victims of sexual assault (just to name a few) have harder jobs. On the flip side others seem to assume stay at home mums are sitting around all day watching Jerry Springer and picking fluff from their belly buttons. I myself am guilty of buying into this loafing theory, often introducing myself as 'just a stay at home mum'.

I choose to stay at home because I think I have something valuable to offer my children. I work hard to make our time together productive and worthwhile. I love it and I don't think I'm wasting my intelligence or potential by doing it. I don't think I've sold out or that I'm lazy. Frankly I don't feel like I'm in some holding pen waiting to rejoin my 'real' life when my kids are old enough. That said, I do get tired and my kitchen floor isn't clean enough to eat off (no apologies). I read somewhere that having kids makes your life twice as hard and twice as good. So very true.

Anyway, that's enough navel gazing for one evening. I hope you all enjoyed mother's day on the weekend. The picture at the top of this post is of some canvasses Minty painted for her Grandi for mother's day.

Apologies if this post was a drivelling rant that lead nowhere, but it's my blog and I'll rant if I want to!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When the temptation to be bad is overwhelming...

A conversation with Minty upon returning home after a particularly successful outing...

Minty proudly: I didn't run away.

Me: I know! You were so good today. I'm so proud of you.

Minty: I couldn't do it anymore...

Minty turns and runs away down the driveway

Saturday, May 8, 2010

In which we make pavlova and I wish I bought an Ooshka...

I went to the stitches and craft show yesterday. I'd been dying to go last year but somehow just couldn't manage it, so this year I was going to go come hell or high water. I managed to convince my better half to watch Minty and the littlest man of the house and I set off for a day out together. The show was great. It probably would have been better sans baby because I couldn't actually get involved with the classes or watch 'The September Issue' (I'm busting to watch it - hopefully I'll get a chance soon). We still had a great time though. Turi flashed winning smiles at all the ladies and I got to see some lovely fabrics and cute products. I gave myself a little early mother's day treat and bought a panel of Anna Maria Horner's little folks square dance (see the picture above). I just love the weight of this fabric, it has the most gorgeous drape and is oh so soft. I restrained myself from buying anything else, other than a scrap bag of fabric. The thing that has stuck in my head since the show are the Ooshkas from the red thread. I didn't buy one but there was something special about those faces (which were also being sold as fabric panels)… hmn I wish I had.

In other news... After watching Master Chef I felt inspired to make a pavlova. Before we get onto talking about the pavlova I just have to get something off my chest. The number of people on Master Chef who claim they 'don't do desserts' really rankles me. I mean sweet food is a massive category to sweep aside off handedly. It's as ridiculous as saying 'I don't make main courses' or 'I don't make savoury food'. Aside from anything else they are on Master Chef for heaven's sake. Obviously when they signed up for the show they knew they were going to have to make dessert. Surely they could have put in some time to practise the basics. Watching the contestants try to make pavlova was mildly excruciating. More than one contestant had no concept of what 'whipping to firm peaks' meant and one lady even managed to bugger up measuring the sugar. I'm not saying I've never had an unmitigated kitchen disaster (I'm sure we've all been there at least once), but I'm also not entering a contest to win the title 'Australia's best amateur cook'.

Enough rant. Is anyone still reading this?? Coooooeeeee! Where were we? My pavlova… right. I used the Donna Hay recipe from the master chef website. It was delicious… but a little cracked on top - nothing some whipped cream couldn't cover. My oven has a troubled relationship with all things meringue. It is a relic from the 1970s and runs on bottled gas, which basically means it's minimum temperature is about 160C. Never mind, I'm not one to back down from a challenge.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm confused...

Last night I had an overwhelming desire to rip out my overhead kitchen cabinets, totally rearrange the layout, replace the tiles and add streamlined exposed shelving. Needless to say my husband was not impressed. The spare room is still in a state of complete disarray after my wallpaper stripping and there are 1001 other renovation tasks to completed before I should even start thinking about the kitchen. I think maybe I should be banned from reading interior design magazines. It is a guilty pleasure of mine. I currently justify my addiction because Minty also loves to 'read' them with me so I feel it is a 'bonding' activity.

I'm actually still feeling rather under the weather, so energetic renovation tasks are a bit out of the question. So instead of working on the kitchen, or the spare room, I decided I would give the blog a facelift. It is actually a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I'm a little confused with all the widgets and fandangled code. I'm going to try and sort things out a bit before I load things up but if you happen to stop by and I have my jumper on back to front and my shoes on the wrong feet (so to speak), try not to be alarmed. Things will hopefully return to some sort of normalcy soon. Fingers crossed we don't end up with the blog equivalent of Heidi Montag.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't touch me!!

This series of photos makes me laugh. It's a little window into a brother sister relationship - adoration, curiosity, antagonisation, annoyance, amusement, friendship.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bread wars

I was feeling a little depressed about my lack of success with the 5 minute bread and was beginning to doubt my baking prowess (insecure much?), so I decided to make some bread the good old fashioned way this morning.

There is something soothing in the rhythms of traditional bread making. I love tucking the loaf up like a little baby under its tea towel to rise. I feel a little like ma from 'Little House In The Big Woods' (minus the bear).

I made honey spelt bread because for some reason using spelt makes me feel a little virtuous. This loaf smells scrumptious while it is baking!

I got this recipe here but I've simplified the method a little.

3 cups spelt flour

1 cup warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbs softened butter

Pour water into a large bowl, mix in honey. Sprinkle yeast on top and leave for 5 minutes.

Put flour and salt into the bowl of your mixer. Add the wet ingredients and the butter. Knead using the dough hook attachment. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Tip the dough onto the floured bench top. Knock back and knead. Place in a greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise until just over the top of the pan.

Bake for 15 mins at 210C (preheated), then 30mins at 180C. Cool on rack in pan for 15-30mins then turn out on rack until cool.

Results = yummy! Minty even said it tasted like chocolate which I can only assume is a good thing.

Take that 5 minute bread! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"5 minute" disappointment

Sorry for the recent blog absence. We've all been sick with a horrid cold. It' really frustrating because it has meant the renovations have had to go on hold, and I had to cancel our weekend in Melbourne. The house is a mess. The laundry hamper looks as though we have been on extended camping trip and the bathroom is beginning to resemble a service station rest room. Poor little Turi is having real trouble feeding and sleeping and just wants lots of cuddles. Minty seems determined not to let it slow her down and continues to rampage around the house in her usual maniacal fashion.

Meanwhile I have finally tried the "5 minute bread" from 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day'. I'm slow to get in on a craze. I think I was the last person to read The Da Vinci Code, I didn't watch Sex and the City until it was in reruns and I still don't have a pair of crocs. For months people have been telling me how amazing/ life changing/ rock your world good this bread is. Maybe it's just that the book couldn't possibly live up to the hype but frankly my overwhelming feeling after trying it out was… frustration.

Lets just begin by pointing out the obvious. You can't actually make bread in five minutes. This method is faster than making regular bread but you'll need to allocate about an hour on the day you want to bake bread when you aren't going to leave the house or begin a marathon twister competition that you won't want to leave abruptly.

But more importantly than any of that, I don't actually like the taste of the bread. It is slightly sour, spongey and overly salty. I want to like it and for a few days I even tried to pretend to myself that I did like it, but honestly I just don't.

I have only tried the basic recipe - which I've also used to make focaccia (see photo above), so maybe the other recipes are better?? I'm not sure I can be bothered trying them to see. I think I'm going to go back to traditional bread making for now.