Monday, January 31, 2011

In which there are girl friends and proper grooming...

Up until now Minty has shown a marked preference for playing with the rough and tumble boys, or as she calls them 'my boys'.  All that changed with the arrival of Aerin.  She has a strong enough personality to hold her own and Minty is smitten.  Periodically Minty announces, 'I love Aerin… do you love Aerin?  …Turi loves Aerin'.  But it's not all love and hugs, like any friendship it has its ups and downs.  Last time Aerin came to play there were some very heated negotiations over who would get to use the pink crockery for lunch (Aerin's and now coincidentally Minty's favourite colour), akin to the struggle over palestine.  Several days later Minty sadly confided in me that 'Aerin snatched the pink chair', having conveniently forgotten that she snatched the pink bowl, spoon and cup.  Mental note: 'lose' all pink items before next play date.

This week the girls are starting 'tiny phoenix creative' dance class together.  The whole thing scares me a little, with the girls required to wear proper ballet shoes, pink leotards, and hair gelled or pinned back in a bun, showing 'pride in appearance'.  According to the studio 'good grooming is part of dance training'. Ok I've been told - now how to pass this information onto the girl who launches a full scale revolt at the mere mention of a hair tie?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In which it is too hot to function and Minty performs a wiggle exorcism...

36 degrees here on the island… feeling hot bothered and tired.

We don't have many toys in the house that make sounds.  There's a music box, a bike that plays a little tune when you press the horn and a fisherprice play table with a music button.  There is also a doll fashioned to look like Murray the wiggle that sings when you press his belly.  After an incident during which Minty disturbed a completely silent library with 'PLAY YOUR GUITAR WITH MURRAY!!' I mostly keep the doll switched off, but at some stage this week Minty discovered the on button.  Poor little Turi was blissfully unaware that the doll could speak and in the course of playing with it gave the tummy a poke.  When Murray shouted 'HI MY NAME'S MURRAY!' Turi was petrified.  He reacted much as I imagine you would if you saw Jesus rise from the tomb - more terrified than excited, with an intense desire to touch the hem of his robe countered with an equally intense fear that if he did some higher power might smote him.  After several minutes of hysterical screaming and sobbing while Turi periodically poked the doll to check if it would do it again, I decided it was best that Murray retired to another room out of sight.  

This morning Turi spotted Murray hidden away in the dining room and I decided it might be time to reintroduce him.  I sat Turi on my knee and held his hand while I helped him make Murray speak.  Sadly my attempt to overcome his phobia was an epic failure.  The screaming and sobbing was repeated each time Murray spoke even as I attempted to reassure Turi that everything was fine.  Then Minty entered the room.  She masterfully took Murray from my hand, pressed his tummy and told Turi, 'Look Turi don't be frightened, he's nice.  He's a toy.'  Turi immediately stopped sobbing and was soon dancing along to Murray's song.  Clearly Minty has a much greater influence than I.

Photos in this post were taken by my better half (Dr Jekyll) with a little post production love from me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fabric daydreams...

I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to rip out my carpet and stencil the subflooring like this or this.  When I told my husband he was less than impressed and suggested that perhaps instead of taking on yet another unpaid project perhaps I should do some actual 'work' for you know money.  You see I have this chronic habit of doing work for free.  I tend to think working for money is a little bit like sex between friends, more often than not a sure fire way to spoil a good thing.  Being paid is stifling to the creative mind.  But then I guess the money is good.  So I'm forcing myself to knuckle down.  I've been looking at day care centres for Minty for one day a week (more on this later), and trying to motivate myself to actually work on the design jobs I have piled up.

But honestly today I spent most of my time sorting through my stash to come up with some colour combinations for some (unpaid) sewing projects I'm dreaming of.  Procrastination is one of my special skills.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Australia Day!

We celebrated by the book - ate sausages, party pies and pavlova and relaxed at the beach.  What can I say?  Australia Day really is a classy holiday.

Thanks for all your encouraging comments after my dummy spit… I hope all your toilets and kitchen sponges are clean and orderly and we can all move forward from here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coooooeeee!!! Is there anybody out there???

Nothing turns me off a blog faster than when the creator starts harping on about the blogging process, commenters or stats.  It's a bit like peeking behind the curtain at a magic show and having all the illusions spoiled.  But peeps I've been blogging for almost a year and I think I'm having a mid-blog crisis.  

I was trawling the web and stumbled across a blog post discussing kitchen sponges.  Now I really am a firm believer that you can write about absolutely any topic and make it interesting as long as you approach it with a little flair.  But this post about sponges was completely (pardon the pun) dry - there was no irony, no wit, just a completely bland, long winded and for the most part poorly written instructional piece on how to keep your kitchen hygienic.  And there were 60 comments.  I'm lucky to even get 6 comments on a post.  I'm beginning to wonder if my next post should be about how I clean the toilet.

Anyone who tells you they just blog for themselves is lying.  I mean if it really was just for yourself you wouldn't put it up online would you?  You'd write a private diary and hide it under your mattress or at the back of the freezer.  You're writing a blog because you want other people to read it, and like it.  But here's the thing,  there are hundreds of thousands of other people also writing a blog who also want people to read it.  So even if your blog is amazing it's more than likely nobody will ever find it among the vast sea of other blogs. 

And here is where I'm at right now.  What is the point?  I'm basically a billboard in the middle of the desert blogging to no one.  The content could be life changing but if there is no one but a lone lizard to see it I may as well have kept it to myself.  If I'm honest about it, I want someone to come along and read my blog and be wowed and offer me a book deal, sponsorship, a freebie to review, some commission work, hell I'd even take a meaningless online blog award.  But chances of any of that happening are slim to none.  So perhaps I should just pop to the shops and buy myself a spiral bound journal because then it won't ever have to be faced with the depressing and glaring reality of '0 comments'.

P.S. I just read this back to myself and it sounds like a desperate plea for comments to bolster my fragile ego - uurk - please don't comment!  The desert billboard will likely return to normal posting tomorrow.  I'm off to eat a TimTam.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In which there are jazz hands and zucchini muffins...

I'm missing our weekly organic veggie box.  The coop is on holiday during January so we have had to fend for ourselves the last couple of weeks.  Initially it was a novelty.  We ate a bunch of takeout and played at being carnivores.  But the novelty has well and truly worn off and scurvy is a very real threat.  Minty has decided she will only eat vegetables if they are a mushroom or some kind of legume.  I decided it was time to take some drastic action and make some scarily healthy zucchini muffins.  Don't worry I haven't gone all Jessica Seinfeld on you, I told the children what was in them, but somehow all vegetables are more palatable in baked goods.  Everyone gave them the thumbs up, with Minty even coming back for seconds.  I think these might become a regular snack time treat at our house.  These don't have dairy but do have eggs so we can't clock them as vegan.  

A couple of quick recipe notes: we omitted the walnuts and used half canola oil and half pureed apple for the wet ingredients.

No one slept very well last night in the heat so everyone was pretty fried by this afternoon.  I decided to take it easy and we all watched Singin' in the Rain together.  The kids loved it and Turi even got his jazz hands going!  If ever there was a movie that was going to make you want to tap this has got to be it.  Minty donned her tutu and  spent the rest of the day dancing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

conversations with Minty

Minty: I want prunes
Me: sorry Minty we haven't got any - we need to go to the shops
Minty [sadly]: but I want prunes… you're just holding out on me


While in a public toilet...

Minty: this is the women's toilet where women come to do wees and poos
Me [trying not to laugh]: yes it is the women's toilet
Minty: and this is the women's toilet paper… but I couldn't use this toilet because I'm not a woman


Whilst carrying a small doll between her legs... 

Minty: look at my baby he's born


Excerpt from the dictionary of Minty 
snapperdile = crocodile

Monday, January 17, 2011

In which we discuss floods, haircuts and baby Jesus...

Thanks for all your comments, emails, messages and phone calls about my last post.  To my untrained eye Turi appears to be the picture of health.  I tend to think he probably choked on a sticker or other small object which at some point during the incident was dislodged and swallowed.  It's also possible he cried so hard he stopped breathing, except that he wasn't actually crying very hard and I've seen him get much more worked up on previous occasions with no dramatic breath holding consequences.  I must say if it was breath holding that has to be the ultimate weapon in a negotiation (want another cookie, a turn on the swing, your own pony?  Sure have two so long as you don't cry and pass out!!)  Anyway, we've got a referral for an EEG and an appointment with a neurologist to rule out anything more sinister so I'm planning on putting it all to the back of my mind and trying not to worry about it.

Onto lighter matters…

Much to my horror Minty gave herself a haircut today.  She climbed up to the kitchen bench, found the kitchen scissors and fashioned herself a fringe.  She brought me the freshly trimmed hair, very excited and said, 'look mummy!'.  I exclaimed something to the effect of 'oh no your beautiful curls!!' at which point she collapsed on the floor in the foetal position and began growling like a tiger, devastated that her foray into hairdressing may not have been the grand success she had hoped for.

These photos are of this morning's art activity and were taken pre-haircut.  This is a fantastic kit Minty was given for Christmas in which you get to decorate your own lamp shade.  Minty drew a picture of baby Jesus and his mummy.  It is really interesting watching her drawing skills develop.  It is only recently that she has started drawing primitive faces with eyes, mouths and hair.  It's great to get a peak into her imaginings.  

Sadly I wasn't really paying attention when Minty started to draw and the lamp shade was upside down.  Now baby Jesus and Mary are forced to spend eternity standing on their heads.  

And before I sign off I'd like to draw your attention to the Queensland Flood Relief Auctions.  There are some amazing things up for grabs and it is such a great opportunity to support all those people whose lives have been devastated by the flood.  My picks for the auction are this amazing raffle over at The Red Thread, and this quilt.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

in which my nightmares are played out...

Turi stopped breathing this morning.  I still don't know what happened.  The morning began like any other morning.  Turi woke up early as usual and ran smiling to the bathroom for a nappy change and then to the kitchen to ask for breakfast.  He ate two weetbix and then went to play in the lounge room.  He was his usual spritely self, laughing, running and full of energy.  He ran down the corridor to say good morning to his dad and Minty who were having a sleep in but the door was closed.  He was crying loudly and then the crying stopped.  He staggered into the lounge where I was standing and made a strange whimpering sound.  I knew instantly something wasn't right - it wasn't his usually loud and lusty cry and he is always so deliberate and sturdy on his feet.  As I picked him up he began to go limp and gradually stopped breathing.  His lips were blue and his eyes were fixed and lifeless.  I screamed and sobbed for help.  My husband started hitting his back, sure he was choking.  He tried to put his fingers in his mouth to prize out whatever was blocking his throat but his jaw was locked.  By now I was sobbing on the phone to the ambulance.  And then as suddenly as it began, it was over.  He started to cry loudly, and move a little.  He never coughed.  Nothing ever came out of his mouth in the way of a choking hazard.

During those everlasting two minutes where I thought he might die I didn't pray.  I guess maybe that means I'm an atheist after all.

The ambulance came, we went to hospital.  His heart was monitored, he was examined, he was watched for hours.  Nothing notable could be found.  The doctors suspect epilepsy.  There will be more tests and specialists but for now all we do is wait.  Wait and watch terrified it will happen again.

I can't begin to describe to you what it's like to hold the lifeless body of you child in your arms and really believe they might be dead and then that afternoon to be cleaning the kitchen and cooking dinner as though nothing has happened while the children play together in the lounge.  Every muscle in my body aches from the constant tension.  Every time Turi stumbles or doesn't move for a second I am convinced it is happening again.  I have no idea how long it is going to take for my terror to subside and complacency to resume.  I keep checking to see if he is dead or just asleep.  I don't think I will be able to sleep at all tonight and if I do I'm sure I will relive the nightmare of this morning.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to compulsively check that Turi is still breathing again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

thoughts on veganism...

I wish I had the willpower to be a vegan and not just because all the hipsters are doing it.  I've been pretty concerned about what I eat and its impact on our environment since I read this book.  Sadly I'm a dairy addict with a penchant for bacon.  The food triumvirate as far as I'm concerned is comprised of milk, cream and butter.  Though I love veggies, lentils and nuts I generally dislike tofu and most soy products give me the heebie jeebies.  It also concerns me that many of the dairy replacement products seem to be some kind of chemical cocktail or else contain palm oil which given the detrimental environmental impact seems conflicting at best.

Though I'm fairly sure we will never manage to be a vegan household, and will most likely never be complete vegetarians (we tend to eat meat about once a week), I do think it would be worthwhile endeavouring to cut down our excessive dairy consumption.  Another motivating factor is that dairy can in some cases be linked to eczema from which Minty suffers.

We went to visit some friends of ours whose daughter is dairy intolerant today, so I thought this was the perfect excuse to flirt with the concept of vegan baking.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little freaked out by this concept.  I mean seriously what kind of a cake can you make without milk, butter or eggs???  The answer - a pretty freaking delicious one!  I used this recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and you know what?  It actually tasted like cake, real cake - not like when someone tries to tell you that vegan sausage tastes just like meat… because it doesn't (just saying).  This recipe even rivals my usual dairy laden chocolate cupcake recipe.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

chasing summer...

It has been unseasonably wet these past few weeks, with a seemingly unending curtain of rain and an oppressive humidity that is not unlike living inside a butterfly house. Summer hasn't really arrived, at least in any recognisable form. Instead of waiting around for beach weather, this week we decided to take matters into our own hands. We have been attempting to dress the part, go to the beach despite the clouds and cool down with home-made ice-cream.

Here is the recipe for Pina Colada ice-cream that we made (as always from the ice-cream bible - The Perfect Scoop). It isn't technically ice-cream seeing as it is dairy free, and is more correctly termed a 'sherbet'. Whatever, it tastes pretty good to me - and vegans don't have to miss out!

4 cups pureed pineapple

200g sugar

250ml Thai coconut milk

1 tablespoon dark rum

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Chill mixture thoroughly and then freeze it in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Last week some friends of ours came to visit with their sweet little baby girl. I snapped a couple of quick shots before they went home, though I'm wishing I took the time to seek out a nicer background and better lighting (all the wood panelling in my house is seriously like some kind of cheap 1970s log cabin fantasy). I'm pretty sure they weren't expecting me to plaster these shots all over my blog but Elodie is pretty dang cute and I couldn't help myself!! Thanks for being good sports!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Post-party depression...

I'm feeling pretty flat at the moment. The last of our the big 'festivus' events are over with part two of the wedding last saturday (you can read about part one here) and now our social calendar is pretty empty for the next couple of months. I had a long list of jobs I had been putting off until after the wedding (clean out the fridge, reunite the spice girls, broker peace in the middle east - you know that kind of thing) and now that 'after the wedding' is finally here I really don't feel like I have the energy or motivation to tackle any of it. I feel very much like Steve Martin in father of the Bride sitting amongst the rubble and wondering what just happened.

The wedding was really lovely. I didn't take any pictures (not even one) but honestly, as those of you with small children will know, trying to get ready for a wedding with little ones is an extreme sport in itself. At any given moment it is entirely possible that someone will choke on a bobby pin, brand themselves with the straightening iron or paint themselves with mascara. My better half left early to help drop off the wedding cake so I was flying solo, and I have to admit there was a point where I was trying to do my hair while two certain little people screamed non stop and pulled at my legs and dress and I felt like putting everyone into bed and not going! Luckily there was a fantastic professional photographer there and you can check out some more pics over at her blog.

There were lots of little handmade touches (which as you know really floats my boat). My favourite of which would have to be the bouquet - made from old pages of a book (I'm hoping a romantic novel) - L.O.V.E.! The bunting (all 40 meters of it), despite various fits of despondency on my part along the way, looked rather pretty in the end, even if I do say so myself. I assembled it from a rainbow of vintage linens I sourced on etsy… one of the guests even told me she spotted her favourite sheet from the 70s amongst the prints, I'm always happy to inspire a little nostalgia!

I had bought myself a cute little vintage 1960s dress which I was excited to debut but sadly it was a casualty of the evening. I went home mid wedding to pop the kids to bed (don't worry you don't need to call child services there was a sitter there!) and Turi managed to rip open the front of my dress while I was lifting him into his cot. Thankfully I had a spare dress in my wardrobe so I just got changed and it wasn't too much of a drama. Will have to tackle the dress repair when I am over my post-party depression.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

12 drummers drumming...

You have to hand it to the Catholics. Just when we're all feeling a bit down about Christmas being over they chuck us another feast day - the Epiphany. For those of you non-Christian folk this is when we celebrate the three wise men (shall we call them kings?) visiting baby Jesus. We celebrate in traditional English style, taking down all our Christmas decorations and eating twelfth night cake. Twelfth night cake is basically a fruit cake, with a dried bean baked inside. If you find the bean it means you get to be king for the day. I used this recipe, and then totally veered from tradition and stuck a deer and christmas tree on the top because it looked a little bleak (where do I find three kings cake toppers??). According to wikipedia you can also add a host of other items - 'Whoever finds the clove is the villain, the twig, the fool, and the rag, the tart.' I must try this next year, though I'm a bit freaked by the concept of putting a twig in the cake… and a rag may just be taking it a little too far.

I think perhaps Turi may be the most depressed of all of us by the conclusion of the Christmas season. Every morning he has been joyfully bringing me his Santa hat, with an enormous grin on his face, to wear while he eats his breakfast. Now it is packed away he is going to have to find himself a new accessory to wear while he eats his weetbix.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Fresh from reading this post, I decided it was about time I bit the bullet and finally put the kids in together to share a room. Neither of the kids are sleeping particularly well at the moment so frankly I thought it couldn't get any worse. So tonight we dragged Minty's bed into Turi's room and popped them both in for sleepy time. Things appeared to be going remarkably well and after a short 10 minute settling period all was quiet and I shut the door leaving them to it.

I was feeling very optimistic about the whole thing as a sense of peace and calm appeared to descend upon the house. But just as I settled down on the lounge with a copy of 'Monument' magazine an ungodly scream was heard from the bedroom. I ran to investigate and discovered Minty on the floor with blood pouring from her mouth. After a quick survey of the crime scene it would appear that Minty pulled the floor lamp over to Turi's cot and attempted to climb it in order to 'join him'. It seems that some time during the ascent she slipped and smashed her mouth into the edge of the cot. Over an hour, and a lot of tears later I had the two children settled once again… in their own rooms. I think we'll leave our two mountain goats in their own rooms at least for one more night.

These photos are of Minty decorating her own mug. This was a fabulous gift that Minty got for Christmas. The kit came with a mug, special crayons and some black and white pictures that could be transferred onto the mug for colouring. After decorating you can make the image permanent by filling the mug with water and microwaving (afterwards the colours are a lot more vibrant). Mint had lots of fun with this - note the concentrated tongue circling! Thanks Simon and Katya!

Monday, January 3, 2011

in which I shop for a new face...

Images clockwise from top: found here, here and here

I spent today shopping for new glasses. Such a crucial choice... almost like shopping for a new face. It doesn't help that they cost a small fortune ($365 just for the lenses - eek!). Some people seem to manage to totally rock their glasses as the ultimate accessory (like the cat!). Here's hoping my purchase is as successful as these...