Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In which we make pick-me-up pikelets...

chocolate pikelets
So we were all feeling a bit 'meh' yesterday.  The Mr. had been away working for a few days and it was freezing cold and foggy.  I thought we were all in need of a pick-me-up.  So I suggested pikelets for breakfast.  Minty suggested we go one better and make chocolate pikelets.  I've never really had a chocolate pikelet or pancake for that matter but it sounded pretty awesome so we did a bit of experimenting and this is what we came up with.

chocolate pikelet pancake recipe

These would taste amazing with vanilla ice-cream or you can follow our lead and have them dusted with icing sugar and a generous mound of berries.  Or just eat them plain straight from the pan in their unadulterated fabulousness.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In which we take our art to the street...

sidewalk chalk paint
Yesterday the kids and I got up to some fun making our own sidewalk chalk paint and defacing decorating the pavement outside our house.  This is really simple to do.  Just mix 1/4 cup cold water with 1/4 cup corn flour and then add some drops of food colouring (I used about 5 drops liquid food colouring but you'll need more if you use the all natural stuff).  Then head outside with some paint brushes and go wild!

It's great because you don't need to worry about the kids painting themselves or trying to eat the paint (and let's face it, when you're working with children under the age of two someone is going to eat the paint!!).  

This activity was seriously fun and so easy to set up, I totally recommend you give it a try.

I originally found the idea here.

painting with sidewalk chalk paint painting with sidewalk chalk paint

Monday, June 27, 2011

In which I get carried away on ebay and buy (another) bath...

hanging out in the bath

We all enjoyed the glorious winter weather yesterday, and spent the entire day outside in the garden, blowing giant bubbles, riding bikes and playing chase.  We even got a chance to make a start on our bath restoration.

During my ebay travels I managed to score another free standing cast iron bath.  This one is brand new and only cost me $107 dollars (these retail for around $3000)!  It has two wooden blocks to mount it on (not shown in these photos).  The only damage is a large chip on the rim which I don't think will be too hard to fix.

We did a test fill of one chip with some UV resin and did a patch test of some paint on an inconspicuous spot to try and match the colour.  I'll give more details of the restoration process when I get started.

I'm blogging over at food fanatics today with a recipe for sweet potato brownies so if you're interested check it out.

filling a chip

the (admittedly very large) chip

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In which Turi exhibits cat like behaviour...

We bought the kids a fish.  Even though I sort of hate fish.  The kids are very excited.  They are having trouble concentrating at meal times since the fish bowl sits in the middle of our dinning table.  They spend all their time standing on their chairs, pointing and chanting, 'fish, fish!'.  Minty has named it Boomda, because apparently this is the sound lightning makes.

I am beginning to think the term 'gold' fish refers not to colour but to the amount of money one of these things costs.  Naively I thought I could just buy the fish and bung it in a bowl of water.  I didn't factor in the 'water conditioner', 'ammonia and chlorine eliminator block', the stones for the bottom of the bowl, the fish food and the bowl itself.  Nearly $80 later, this would want to be one amazing fish!  (Complaining about the cost of a pet makes me feel very grown up!)

Sadly the fish doesn't seem to like it very much at our house.  This may have something to do with Turi darting his hand into the water and trying to catch the fish, moments after it was placed in its new bowl.  The fish spends most of the day sitting motionless at the bottom of the bowl.  I suspect it's in shock.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Glitterrific failure...

This afternoon Minty and I decided to try and make our own glitter.  According to google this is a relatively easy task.  All you do is add a few drops of food colouring to some salt, mix it up, and then bake it on a tray lined with baking paper for 10mins at 175C.  Sadly our glitter was an epic failure.  It looked beautiful… until we put it in the oven.  Then it bubbled up, lost its sparkle and converged into a dull lumpy mess.  I suspect this is because we used epsom salts.  I did a quick experiment using sea salt and it seemed much more successful.  Oh well, you live and learn.  Minty didn't really care.  She had so much fun stirring together the colours and probably would have been content to do this for hours given the chance.  It was certainly a great way to fill in a rainy afternoon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In which Minty is dumped and Turi hangs out in the john...

don't worry it's just face paint!

Do you remember Minty's 'boyfriend'?  Well she recently experienced whatever the three-year-old equivalent is of being dumped.  A new kid arrived at playgroup a few weeks ago and the group dynamics changed.  Suddenly it was supremely uncool to be friends with a girl and now instead of kissing and cuddling, the boys spend their time roaring in Minty's face and pushing her over.  Minty is fairly shell shocked and can't understand why her old friend no longer likes her.  It's sort of tragic to watch and impossible to explain to her why kids are cruel (I suspect it's inappropriate to say ' it's nothing personal, sometimes boys can just be assholes!')

So now I have the task of trying to distract her by finding new friends for her to play with.  I feel like some kind of booking agent or pimp, soliciting phone numbers from other parents and trying to set up 'play dates'.  My natural state is one of complete introversion and I would probably rather poke myself in the eye than try and make a new friend.  But much like wiping up poo and snotty noses, I find myself performing this unpleasant task for the good of the children.  Minty is a social animal and one of the first things she asks me in the morning is, 'who is coming over today?', followed by the announcement, 'I want friends!'.  I can't wait for the age when I am no longer required as an intermediary.  Here's hoping I can deliver the goods.  Anyone want to come over for a play date?

Monday, June 20, 2011

In which everyone wants a liberty pillow...

I got a chance to do a spot of sewing this weekend and made this sweet little baby oobee sleep set.  I was lucky enough to win the pattern from Leslie over at onegirl designs.  In case you can't see from the pictures, the little oobee has it's own quilt, pillow and drawstring bag to carry it all in.

These would make fantastic presents for the little people in your life.  It's the kind of thing you can easily whip up as a last minute gift for a kid's birthday party or during that pre-Christmas sewing crunch.  

Leslie also sent me one of her fabric packs which includes all the specialty fabric you need like the hemp/cotton fleece for the oobee body.  It is seriously snuggly!  I made the quilt with some of the precious fabric I brought back from Japan, the bag is Amy Butler and the pillow is made from a scrap of liberty (because every oobee deserves a little luxury!)

Minty has been having great fun tucking her oobee into bed.  I suspect I should have made two, as Turi is smitten.  He keeps trying to steal the pillow to snuggle his head on, and seems oblivious to the fact it is miniature sized.  I can't say I blame him, I want a liberty pillow too!

Thanks Leslie!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

bag of beans...

I finally got around to making a second bean bag this week (first one posted here).  It was long overdue, as the number of brawls and tantrums caused by only having one was becoming ridiculous.  I think if I hadn't come up with a second one soon there was a danger that someone would loose an eye… or a tooth… or both.  This one is made with Heather Ross owl and the pussycat fabric which I love.  
Sorry for the abysmal photos (the kids really weren't cooperating and my lounge room is currently very brown and not at all photogenic).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In which we have a poo party and everyone is invited...

Alright peeps this post is going to be about poo.  So if you are squeamish, currently eating your dinner or think bowel motions, like money, should never be discussed in polite company you can stop reading now.

All gone… cool.  Now that it's just us, let's talk frankly.

For the past three months Minty has been struggling with a full blown poo phobia.  I haven't written about it here before because firstly, I didn't want to open myself up to all the judgey mcjudgepants readers out there who would assume I had caused this whole issue through epically bad parenting.  I know I've been guilty of casting judgement in the past - if anyone told me their child had been constipated I assumed they probably fed them a diet of cocoa pops and boxed macaroni and cheese.  Secondly I didn't want this space to become cluttered with my negativity and whinging about this issue.  In the end though I decided I wanted to talk about this in case there are other parents out there wading through the interwebs searching for solutions to what has certainly been one of the toughest parenting challenges I've encountered so far.  

It all started when Minty got a bit sick and then after not eating properly for a few days got constipated.  This lead to an anal fissure which in turn lead to a full blown terror of going to the bathroom.  The anal fissure was relatively easy to heal with strict attention to diet (no white refined products such as white bread, white pasta and white rice, limited dairy, lots of fluids, as much fruit and veg as you can pack into a three year old, linseed meal… basically the obvious things you'd do for constipation).  But even after the fissure was gone the terror of the toilet remained.  She would hold a poo for as long as she possibly could, usually only managing to relax enough to pass a motion when she fell asleep and sometimes not for several days.  She would spend the day writhing in discomfort, desperately trying to avoid going and unable to concentrate on or enjoy doing anything else.  While she was on the toilet she would weep and I could feel her little heart beating fast with fear.

I tried everything.  I tried to distract her with songs, stories, blowing bubbles - I was a virtual one-woman broadway show.  I tried reverting to using a potty and moving it to interesting locations around the house and garden.  I tried offering bribes but even the offer of chocolate or cake wasn't enough to overcome the fear.  

It had become all consuming.  Basically poo was all anyone in the family was thinking or talking about.  It even became one of Turi's only words.  He would wander into the bathroom and point in the toilet saying 'poo, poo' or pull open the back of someone's pants, peer inside and announce 'poo' (thankfully he never did this to a stranger!!).  

After taking Minty to see two different GPs the only advice I had been given was to give her laxatives.  I was really reluctant to go down this road.  After all she wasn't actually constipated, the problem was psychological.

Finally a friend put me in contact with a developmental paediatrician who gave me some fantastic advice.  Here are some of the things we tried.  Nothing on the list was an instant 'cure' but after a week or so of working through these things we finally seem to be back to normal.

1. Give your child some cream (it can be anything - we used pawpaw ointment but you could try moisturiser) and let them put it on their own bottom to make themselves feel better before they try to poo.  Letting them do it themselves gives them a sense of control over the situation.
2. Role play with your child's doll/teddy.  Tell them that the doll is having trouble doing a poo and ask them what they would tell the doll to help.  We used a tupperware container as a pretend potty for the doll.  The first time we did this it worked brilliantly but in the end Minty started trying to manipulate the situation saying her doll needed chocolate and TV so she would feel better!  
3. Try to get your child to think about letting go of their poo rather than not holding it in.  We did this by talking about how other people in the street/friends/neighbours were also doing poos at the same time and all the poos were going to go down the sewer and meet up for a poo party.  If you've met Minty more than once chances are we've discussed your bowl motions this week!  As I was wandering past the bathroom today I heard the Mr exclaim to Minty 'I think I see a party hat!'.
4. Laxatives.  I mentioned before that I was really reluctant to go down this route but in the end I was desperate and gave it a whirl.  I used parachoc and only gave Minty 5mls (which is half the recommended dose for a 12month old).  The theory is that it will make it impossible for them to hold on anymore and after a couple of successful poos they will start to realise it isn't such a big deal.  I only ended up having to use laxatives for a few days.  I think it was really more of a placebo affect with Minty seeing as it was such a small dose.
5. The main tip I would give is to try and instil a sense of confidence in your child.  Tell them that it will all be fine and that you know how to fix it.  Possibly easier said than done if you've been dealing with the phobia for a long time.

As a reward for all her hard work and successful poos we made some pink cupcakes today.  I think we were all pretty excited to have something to celebrate.

For the sake of contrast, this is the maudlin face we have typically been seeing these past months...

"I want to poo on the road like a bird."

Friday, June 10, 2011

bath restoration

Just a sneak peak at my next project.  I picked up this claw foot bath for the bargain price of $200 on ebay.  It's in remarkably good condition with hardly any rust or chips in the enamel.  I can't wait to restore it back to it's original glory.  Anyone want to cast a vote for what colour it should be?  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In which I maim myself with the bread knife and finally get around to a spot of sewing...

tooth pillowhand made felt tooth pillow
tooth pillowtooth pillow

Sliced my finger while trying to eek the last slice from the heel end of the bread loaf this afternoon, so am minimising typing with a short post today.  This is a little tooth pillow I made for my nephew who has just started loosing his teeth.  The mouth is a little pocket to be used for the all crucial tooth/money exchange.  I used this tutorial but instead of cutting a hole in the back to turn it out, I just left a gap in the side seam and stitched it up at the end (just a bit neater I think).  I'm pretty sure Minty is hoping her teeth will fall out prematurely so she can have one too!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Conversations with Minty

While attempting to bash out a loaf of bread that was stuck in the tin…

Me [muttering]: stupid loaf
Minty: that's not a stupid loaf.  It's nice.  It's a happy loaf.  That's why I've named it bread.


While passing McDonalds

Minty: are we going to a cafe?
Me [distracted]: um… yeah.
Minty [incredulous]: this isn't a cafe!!  This is a chip market!  I don't want to go to a chip market!  I want to go to a cafe with real food.  I don't like chip markets.

Musings of a 21st century child…

Minty: Can you tell me about incy wincy's website?