Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do fun stuff

I just wanted to use today's post to share with you this kids music album from Ryan at Pacing the Panic Room. Ryan's stepson was diagnosed with Smith Magenis Syndrome and he has put this album together to raise money for research. It's such a fun album and a good cause - enjoy and get behind it if you can...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Conversations with Minty

After falling off her bike...

Minty: I won't be needing a kiss because I'm OK.

Discussing the prospect of moving...

Minty: we can't move because this is our lounge and we can't be in somebody else's lounge. Maybe we can move to Santa's house where there will be presents… and maybe Santa can bring you a cake and sing happy birthday and then you would feel better.

While trying to decide what music to listen to...

Daddy: how about Ben Harper?
Minty (innocently): I didn't want Ben farter
Daddy (trying not to laugh): Do you want Britney Spears?
Minty: No I didn't want Britney's beard.

Friday, August 27, 2010


"I'm painting my face as a giant"
(because all self respecting giants wear lip gloss on their chins)

Thanks to everyone for all their comments, emails and messages on yesterday's post.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saddle up readers, I'm getting back on my high horse...

I'm enraged. For some reason or another (now long forgotten) I was trawling The Age website and stumbled upon an article published back on August 2nd in the Sunday Life. The article by Jacinta Tynan, entitled, 'Is motherhood really that hard?', sported the tag line, 'quit moaning about your lack of me-time and unread novels… this motherhood thing is all a bit of a lark'. I kept waiting for the punch line when it was revealed Jacinta was being sarcastic. She wasn't.

The article even went so far as to imply that women who say motherhood is hard are simply whingers who want to fool others into believing they're working hard. The whole thing smacked of a lack of empathy and imagination for situations other than the writer's own. How much support a person has is a key element on how easy or hard motherhood is. Staying at home with the kids can be isolating and down right lonely if you don't have people around you to share things with.

As far as I understand it women's lib was all about giving women a voice, so that they didn't have to stoically and silently battle on unacknowledged and unappreciated polishing the silverware and fetching their husband's slippers. We've won the right to a voice so dagnamit I'll be using mine. To shout from the rooftops about women's rights and women's issues. And one issue is that some (read most) women do struggle at home… at least some of the time. I say this not to scare people or put them off motherhood, which I think everyone unanimously agrees is a gift and privilege. Rather I say it to inject a bit of reality into the discussion.

All too often when we discuss motherhood we seem to fall into the trap of veering to one extreme or the other. We either wax lyrical (as Jacinta did) about the joys of motherhood as though we are some saintly madonna whispering sweet nothings into our angelic babies ears, savouring the moonlight hours alone with the tiny 'love of our life', 'motherhood is a cinch', and really anyone who isn't managing to breeze through their mothering days, whilst also holding down some kind of paid employment and putting up a fancy dinner for their husband each night is frankly downright lazy. This kind of thinking sets up unrealistic expectations for the childless among us and feeds into the ever prominent cycle of guilt and self flagellation of those women who feel they're not living up to this ideal. News flash - no one lives up to this ideal all of the time.

I sometimes worry I feed into this cycle of supermumdom by writing this blog. I am probably guilty of feeding this fantasy by (for the most part) showing you the best parts of my days and shamelessly editing out the bits I'd rather you didn't see. I'm not trying to be dishonest, rather I use this to focus my mind and celebrate the positive aspects of my days.

On the flip side some women will rant and rave about the horrors of motherhood, and make you wonder why anyone would sign up for what is effectively a prison life sentence. I have to say I don't think these women are lying either. You've probably caught them on a bad day/week/month. We've all had them. Recently I recall sitting on the floor in a sleep deprived haze scrubbing poo from the walls of Minty's room, after yet another Pro Hart inspired faeces artwork installation and sobbing, wondering where I had gone wrong in life when a few short years ago I was decorating this beautiful nursery, enjoying daily intellectually stimulating exchanges with friends and colleagues and now I was faced with a wilfully disobedient two year old, who flat out refused to cooperate in the creation of the picture perfect magazine ideal of the family I was trying to create. I would hazard a guess and say that the women who tell these horror storries aren't trying to scare you, they are merely trying to lift the veil of unrealistic expectations or elicit a little sympathy.

Children are people, not dolls, and just like any other relationship there are going to be challenges, ups and downs. There are few things in life that can be simplified down into black and white categories of 'good' and 'bad', 'easy' or 'hard'. And frankly we probably wouldn't want them to be. Within any given day of motherhood you are likely to experience the whole spectrum of emotions, rage, boredom, hilarity, joy, peace, tedium, frustration and elation. I refuse to box this up and label it with a simple tag of 'easy' or 'hard'. It's beautiful, messy, ugly, and fun. Motherhood isn't a static state of mind, it's forever changing and adapting and entering new phases.

Frankly I feel like publishing an article like this is downright irresponsible. I worry about its affect on new mums who are struggling. What these women need is a little compassion not judgement. Thankfully those who are struggling as new mums are unlikely to have had to time to be reading the Sunday Life. It is about as narrow minded as writing an article claiming that 'I have a job' therefore anyone who doesn't is a lazy, dole bludging, whinger who needs to get off their backside and make a contribution to society. Actually that does sound like an article The Age might publish so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

And yes Jacinta, I do want a medal. What may I ask is wrong with wanting a little appreciation for the work I put in?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In which I sound frighteningly fanatical about food and Turi learns to stand up...

You may have noticed, I like to make as much of our food as possible from scratch. I don't like to be beholden to the manufactures of processed food. I like to be in control of what goes into things and I am generally incensed by excessive packaging. I like sticking it to 'the man', whoever that may be. When I pick up a product my mind tends to assess whether I could make a tastier, better, cheaper, more wholesome item if I made it myself.

It is true, on occasion I have been known to take things a little too far - like when I tried to make tortillas from scratch (I seriously do not advise this unless you invest a tortilla press) or marshmallows (why bother?). But for the most part I do think the extra effort is worthwhile.

My latest I-made-it-from-scratch adventure involves home made rusks. I did a little research on teething biscuit recipes here and came up with my own recipe:

1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 cup brown baby rice cereal

3 tbspns vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients together. Then slowly add ice water until the dough comes together. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut into shapes and place on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 180C for 12mins or until firm and golden.

The kids seem to like them and they are certainly more economical than buying a packet of rusks. I probably wouldn't recommend them for a very young baby as they are a bit more crumbly than bought rusks.

In other news, Turi learnt to stand up today... let the head injuries begin!

Monday, August 23, 2010


This week we're trying out a new source for our fruit and vegetables. Ironically seeing as we live in a rural area it is fairly difficult to source fresh, organic produce at a reasonable price. The local farmer's market only runs once a month and regrettably I seem to end up buying most of my veg from Coles... until now! Phillip Island Food Fanatics is a not for profit group run by volunteers that organise purchasing fresh organic fruit and veg from the Footscray markets. A box costs $50 and is filled with a random selection of goodies. I'm sort of loving the fact that the contents of the box is a surprise (master chef mystery box challenge anyone??) I'm usually really anal retentive with my weekly menu planning. I hate waste so I generally meticulously plan our meals and only purchase exactly the ingredients we require. I think the box is going to push my cooking boundaries and hopefully we'll eat a lot more veg. The picture above only shows a small portion of what we got. I'll let you know how it all goes.

And for those of you who come here for the craft, here's a sneak peak at some fabric I'm cutting for Minty's new quilt. It is unapologetically pink... because, move over yellow, I think pink is the happiest colour in the world!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In which we fail to boat...

There was a little misunderstanding on the way to the polling booth today. It seems Minty thought we were going to 'boat'… "in the water", not to 'vote'. Needless to say she was somewhat disappointed when all we did was stand in a line and then post a slip of paper into a box.

For those of you who aren't interested in watching the most likely depressing election tally this evening I thought I'd share with you a few fun links...

Firstly I've fallen head over heals for vintage clothing patterns from the 1950s. I love the exquisite tailoring, the drape of fabrics - designs oozing romance and class. I love that these clothes come from an era when fashion did not equate to parading around in various states of undress. Blue Gardenia has some amazing vintage patterns (the site is a bit difficult to navigate but it's totally worth wading through).

In the same vein, you really must visit Gertie's new blog for better sewing. Gertie is working her way though Vogue's new book for better sewing from the 1950s. Some of the clothes are just divine. The pictures below are a couple from the book. (Is it just me or has this woman on the left had some ribs removed? Surely that waist isn't natural.)

I'm also crushing on these knitted baskets from Joelle's new book. I can just see them in the kid's room housing their socks.

Lastly I wanted to share this children's summer reading booklist over at Posie get's cozy. There are so many long forgotten old favourite's on the list, as well as books I've never heard of that I'm keen to track down.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Garden Explorer

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Conversations with Minty

Minty (while listening to Musicology): What's that music?

Me: Prince

Minty: He's got a lovely voice.


Minty (to the IGA catalogue after studying it intensely for several minutes): I'm very disappointed in you.


Minty (drinking a hot chocolate): I burned myself... I burned myself a bit more... I burned myself again.

Monday, August 16, 2010


A conversation with Minty at the zoo

Me: look Minty, a puma.

Minty: It's a tiger!

Me: No, it's a puma… puuumaa

Minty: No, it's a lion

Me: No it's a puma


Me: Well… it's sort of a cousin of the tiger, whose name is puma

Minty: NO its name is Zac!

A bear's bottom.

Credit where credit is due… the following pictures were taken by my husband. He would also like me to mention that he took the photo of Minty riding the elephant and Minty sitting on the park bench (apparently the two most technically proficient shots (his words)). He was concerned I was attempting to palm these off as my photos (paranoid much?) since they were interspersed with mine though in reality I was merely grouping photos to better tell the story.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In which I am a fried orangutang and Turi busts a move...

Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes! I had an awesome day. We went back to Melbourne and took the kiddies for their first ever trip to the zoo. I'm pretty sure it blew their tiny little minds. (I'm in the process of sorting through the photos so I'll have some to share with you tomorrow). Then my mum put on a cracking birthday dinner complete with roast turkey and a vanilla slice cake.

As is inevitable after any big event the family was somewhat flat today after all the excitement. Turi and Minty spent the majority of the day taking it in turns sobbing with MInty intermittently proclaiming, 'I'm very sad, help me!'. Minty managed to snag the skin of my neck in my zip as she tried to 'help me' put my hoodie on (ouch), and then later in the day I somehow smashed my head into the ugly wooden occupied/vacant sign which adorns our toilet door (double ouch).

Thankfully we had my new Glee CD to lighten the mood a little. To the groovy beats of 'Give up the Funk', Turi, bless his little heart, bust out his very first unassisted dance moves. This from the boy who is yet to sit unassisted or master a traditional crawling technique. He does a sort of rhythmic head isolation in time to the music. If you imagine a seal waggling its head from side to side you would be close to what it looks like. It is a definite contender for the funniest thing I have ever seen. I'll attempt to capture a video for you all but I suspect (as is often the case when you are trying to catch something cute the kids are doing on film) it may be about as hard as capturing footage of a snow leopard in the wild.

How I feel tonight

Thursday, August 12, 2010

worshipping the surf...

We have an old surf board in the back yard so the kiddies can practise their moves ready for summer… (or possibly summer five years from now!)

Turi is very keen to get started. He touches the board with reverence.

"Smokin' barrels dude!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

sewing on the cheap...

I made another ice-cream blouse. This time in some blue floral quilting cotton I picked up on sale at spotlight. Can you believe this was only $4 a meter? I only needed a little over half a meter for this so I still have some left for another project. This fabric is a lot sturdier than the double gauze I used for the last one so it hangs quite differently, not that you can really tell from these photos. It was freezing so I felt a bit cruel making Minty take off her cardigan so I could take pictures. I'll try and take some better photos another day.

Worn with the librarian skirt and a hand knit from granny.

I'm really happy with this one. At MInty's request it was finished off with a red button I had squirrelled away in my stash. I do think it adds a little je ne sais quoi.

I've had to put the 'fun' sewing away for a little while and move on to a more functional project. I've been sewing some more prefold nappies for Turi. He's grown out of the tots bots nappies we had and I don't really have money lying around at the moment to spend on fancy fitted nappies. Minty was so much smaller when she was Turi's age and we were practising elimination communication with her, so by the time she had grown out of the small nappy size I really didn't need very many nappies in the next size. So instead of outlaying a small fortune on a new set of cloth nappies for Turi I'm boosting the absorbency of some old school terry towelling nappies by sewing a panel of bamboo fabric inserted into the centre. I'm not sure if that description made any sense at all but if anyone is interested in some more info on this either shoot me an email or leave a note in the comments section.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stuff I want for my birthday...

...coz y'all know I'm not shy about such things, no pussyfooting around dropping hints or cryptic clues for me. I pretty much have a running list going all year which I amend when I receive things (yes I am basically David Sedaris).

1. Japanese masking tape. Click here to be in Japanese masking tape heaven.

2. Cupcake liners. I would particularly like some dark brown ones, but any other cute cases would be well received.

3. Glee CD volume 3... I'm a little embarrassed that this is on the list but I sorta, kinda, really love singing and dancing around the living room to glee (eek!)

4. Oliver + S puppet show pattern. This is out of print now but there are some available here.

5. Any pattern from Citronille. The postage cost to Australia is insane, so if you buy me this you are probably feeling guilty about something or angling to get something from me in return (your tactics will most likely be successful)

6. Sunday's Kitchen (I know I still haven't been sent a free copy... crazy right?)

7. Fabric!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In which I am a legend of my own time and Turi just wants to be loved...

"Love me!"

My husband had been complaining that I hadn't made pasta from scratch in a while. I have to admit I was tempted to counter this with a complaint that he is yet to present me with a goose that lays golden eggs for easter but the truth is I have trouble saying no to ego stroking requests for my cooking.

So this morning I had a big cook up. I made two trays of pumpkin cannelloni, enough lasagna for at least two meals and bolognaise with fresh pasta for lunch. I am feeling very pleased about my now well stocked freezer (I even have some of Thomas Keller's chocolate chip cookie dough frozen for a baking emergency - I'll post about this soon).

While I was busy in the kitchen the mister and Minty vacuumed the house and cleaned all the windows inside and out. So I have to say a productive morning was had by all. Except maybe Turi who spent the time practising his tap dancing skills on the lounge room wall.

Lately the littlest member of the household has been busy in his own way. Turi has developed a little carpet burn on each of his knees from his attempts at high speed commando crawling. He chases me around the house and when he catches me he grabs hold of my ankles and looks up at me expectantly waiting to be picked up for a cuddle. If I go out the front door he waits at the window and cries. It is all very endearing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

brown sugar how come you taste so good?

I'm a firm believer that there isn't much in life that isn't vastly improved with the addition of a little brown sugar. When I'm feeling a little low I even sprinkle a few teaspoons of the magical brown pixie dust into a glass of milk as a restorative tonic. Then while I sip my potation I ponder life's mysteries such as why I have such trouble shifting my baby weight…

Yesterday there wasn't anything tasty in the house so Minty and I decided to whip up some brown sugar cupcakes.

The recipe is adapted from
this one over at the cheeky kitchen…

Makes 12 cupcakes

113g butter
200g brown sugar
185g cake flour
2 eggs
120ml milk
3/4 tspn baking powder
pinch salt
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beat to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients. Beat until just combined. Spoon mixture into lined cupcake tin. Bake approx 20mins or until tops spring back when gently pressed.

I iced the cakes with brown sugar icing of my own concoction…

200g sifted icing sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix everything together until you reach the desired consistency, adding a little more water or icing sugar as needed.