Sunday, February 27, 2011

In which 'tomorrow' finally arrives...

I really should know by now that if I promise to post something 'tomorrow' something is almost guaranteed to prevent it happening.  After my last post both the kids came down with a nasty virus - fever, loss of appetite, runny nose, cough and a complete inability to sleep unless splayed in some kind of uncomfortable 'cuddle' in the 'big bed'.  I haven't slept in three days now because the kids have been taking it in turns needing to be tended to in one shape or another.  And now to top it off Turi has developed some very nasty looking hives all over his body and started vomiting.  So basically my house is like some kind of leper colony… good times.

But as promised here are some finished sewing projects…

A beanbag for Minty - made with Heather Ross Far Far Away II.  I made the outer cover with a zip so I can remove it and wash it as needed.  All seams are reinforced because I really don't want to be finding little beans all over my house.  I have plans to make one for Turi and maybe another to sell (if I ever get around to it).

An ooshka for Minty.  I won a couple of face panels and the pattern in a giveaway from Lisa before Christmas and have finally gotten around to making one (because you know how efficient I am).  Turi has fallen in love with it, but thankfully Minty doesn't seem to mind sharing.

And a few better pics of the puppet show shorts I talked about in my last post.  I think I'll be making a few more pairs of these.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In which we go foraging and Minty wears cute shorts...

An amazing day spent with friends foraging along the back country roads near where we live.  We picked more apples than I really know what to do with and some particularly delicious little yellow plums.  Then we picnicked overlooking the rolling hills to one side and the ocean to the other. 

Minty is wearing some shorts I made for her birthday.  I used some fabric that a friend was throwing away so they were virtually free, aside from the cost of thread and elastic.  The pattern is the Oliver + S puppet show shorts.  It's out of print now but there are still a couple of copies around if you are willing to hunt.  I'll share some better pictures of them tomorrow along with some other finished sewing projects.  If you're a new reader you can check out details of her top here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In which we are given a frightening window into the teen years...

I took heaps of pictures at play group today, some of which are super cute.  But sadly I can't share them with you here for privacy reasons.  You know, some parents might be worried that if I post their kids photos on the internet they might be kidnapped and dragged into a child pornography ring or something.  So instead I'll just share the back of some heads.  This is Minty's current boyfriend.  When they aren't chasing each other with toy lawn mowers, they spend their time cuddling and giving each other kisses.  Really too cute.

Meanwhile Turi is having a bit of a tough time at playgroup.  He has become a bit of a target for some bigger boys who enjoy pushing him over.  It's a sad lesson to have to learn at age one that not everyone out there is your friend.  I'm not really sure what to do about it since the other mums are really doing their best to teach their kids it's wrong, and the boys are really too young to be doing it maliciously.

I'll leave you with a little conversation I had with Minty today…

Minty [sternly]: This is your last chance.  If you're not going to get me another biscuit I'm going to go to Aerin's house.  I want you to get me one- that's you're choices.

Monday, February 21, 2011

In which we don't make prunes...

When I was around 10 years old I went with one of my school friends to visit her granny.  She lived in a little apartment in one of the wealthy inner eastern suburbs.  The walls were lined with posters of old movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and indoor plants dotted the rooms making it appear like some kind of tropical hothouse.  When we arrived she was drying all sorts of fruits in a little food dehydrator on the bench.  Bananas, kiwis… I'd never seen anything like it.  To my ten year old eyes she seemed wildly exotic and mildly eccentric.  Very different from my own nanna who I had only known when I was very young and had always seemed very proper and British (she was perhaps the last person on earth I could imagine owning a poster of Marilyn Monroe.)  From then on I've always wanted my own dehydrator.

This Christmas I finally fulfilled this somewhat irrational childhood desire.  I got the rolls royce of dehydrators and haven't looked back.  So far I've dried mangoes, pineapples, nectarines, and heaps of banana chips (before the prices went up).

You might be wondering what the point of drying your own food is.  For starters it's cheaper and secondly, commercially dried fruit is dipped in sulphur.  Sulphur can trigger all sorts of things (in some people) like asthma, headaches and rashes.  Since the kids are so little eating just two commercially produced dried apricots gives them more than double the acceptable daily intake of sulphite.  I'm not a dietician or scientist so I'd recommend you do your own research.  But as a parent of kids who love dried fruit I'd rather just avoid the worry and make my own sulphur free.

Lately I've been drying vast amounts of plums since my in-laws' tree was particularly prolific this year.  I was thinking these were going to turn out a little like a prune but instead I ended up with something that tastes like the sour warheads we used to eat as kids (whatever happened to those?).  They certainly make your face pucker into all sorts of contortions but you know I kinda like it.  I am pretty sure the kids aren't going to touch these - all the more for me!!

For my next dehydrating adventure I'm planning to make my own yoghurt - stay tuned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In which there are fabric casualties...

Button from Nasty Buttons on Etsy

I was planning on having some finished sewing projects to show you today.  But then disaster struck.  I miscut my fabric… by ten inches… twice.  Time to back away from the rotary cutter, I am obviously far too tired to be sewing. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lord of the flies??

I've had a bit of a slack blogging week.  I've been spending most of my time online planning my trip to Japan.  There is so much I want to see and I know I can't possibly do everything, but I'm relishing all this dreaming and planning.

Today was Minty's first proper day at daycare.  We had orientation last week, but I haven't written anything about it here because my thoughts were so muddled and conflicted I was having trouble articulating myself.  I wasn't expecting to have any great emotions about all of this given that she is only going to be away for one day a week… but (there always seems to be a but) I felt completely traumatised at orientation.  We only went in for a little over an hour and I stayed with her the whole time but every motherly bone in my body was screaming at me to pick her up and run and never come back.  There were so many little children to so few carers (mind you the centre was complying with standard practise so apparently this is completely normal) and it felt very much like 'Lord of the Flies' in there.  I think my experience was coloured by the fact that within about two minutes of walking in the door one of the kids vomited all over the floor.  I think the saddest moment of orientation was when one little boy had his hand shut in the sliding door and came to me (a complete stranger) for a hug because there was no one else on hand to comfort him.  I felt sad for all the poor little souls in there who were clearly craving a bit more attention.

On the other hand, the centre itself had a fantastic set up and the carers seemed lovely and well qualified.  Minty loved orientation and kept telling me she wanted to go back without me.  Far from being traumatised by the experience she kept fondly retelling the story of 'the big girl who vomited all over the floor and the lady with the checked pants who came with a towel to clean it up' and told me that it was the 'most exciting thing that had happened all week'.  I couldn't work out if I had genuine cause for concern or whether I was just being a hyper-protective crazy mum like this.  So I decided, after much soul searching and trepidation, that we would give it one more try this week and if I still felt uneasy I wouldn't go through with it.  I decided to move Minty to the room with the younger kids in the hope it might be a bit less wild.  

I'm glad we gave it another go.  The younger room seemed much calmer, with less kids and less of an expectation that they would be able to do everything for themselves.  Minty didn't seem at all phased when I left her there alone.  When I went to pick her up she didn't want to leave and the carers told me she had a fantastic time and really enjoyed herself (though the cynic in me wonders if they just say that to all the parents so they won't pull their kids out).  Apparently she was very drawn to the room with the older kids and kept sneaking in through the adjoining door.  The older girls apparently adopted her and much to Minty's delight spent the day mothering her.

So for now at least we're going to persevere with daycare.  I'll take things on a week by week basis and if Minty stops enjoying herself we'll stop going.

I took these photos on our walk home from daycare.  An ice-cream on the boat ramp and a ride on dad's shoulders made Minty one very happy little lady.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I have to say that since Minty's birthday is on the 13th the holiday has been somewhat eclipsed for the last few years.  Add the fact that Turi's birthday is right next to our wedding anniversary and you can begin to understand why I thought that romantic celebrations were a thing of the past.  But this year Mr outdid himself by surprising me with a trip to Japan in May… without the kids.  I admit to feeling somewhat guilty about leaving the kids behind, (after all they feel like they missed out if I even try to take the rubbish to the bin without them) but my excitement over shopping for bento boxes, washi tape and cute fabric somewhat out ways the guilt!  We are very blessed to have parents who are willing to take tiny lodgers for the duration of the trip.  Any suggestions of must-sees in Tokyo would be appreciated (we're only there for a whirlwind 3 days so bear that in mind).

And now onto a wrap up of Minty's number three birthday.  We had a little get together with the family and a couple of friends... 

I made a giant cupcake (I know it is remarkably similar to the cake I made when Minty turned two but it was Minty's request and I suspect she was trying to replicate her only birthday memory).  I had major dramas with the cake this time.  For some reason it would not come out of the tin and after half an hour of trying just about everything I could think of I almost resorted to scooping it out of the tin with a spoon and making trifle.  Eventually it came out… in six pieces and I had to reconstruct it like a big cake jigsaw puzzle.  Thankfully there isn't much that a bit of buttercream and a few curse words can't fix.

Camping in the backyard was a bit of a disaster.  Minty enjoyed putting up the tent and roasting marshmallows on the fire but when it came to sleeping time she had a complete freak out.  I went inside to check on Turi (who had retired to the comfort of his cot earlier in the evening), and Minty upon hearing a cricket concluded that I had been eaten by some kind of wild beast in the yard.  She clung to her dad and begged to come inside.  After sighting me in Turi's room she collapsed into her bed in relief and fell straight to sleep.  I'm glad we didn't bother driving to Wilson's Prom - maybe next year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In which the highland cattle and I wear our angry faces...

Sometimes I catch myself being particularly snappy and on a very short parenting fuse.  Tonight was one such occasion.  It had been a long day.  I was tired and I was cross with the Mint after she sat on my sun hat squashing it beyond all recognition.  She then proceeded to tip out a bag of beads I had just tidied up.  I started to shout at her and then caught a glimpse of myself through her eyes.  She crumpled and scrambled to try and clean up.  I realised she hadn't been intentionally naughty.  Sometimes it's hard to be good when you're only two.  So I took a deep breath, regrouped and decided I needed to take a different tack.  I closed my eyes and mustered all my inner calm to say, 'thank you Mint, you are doing such a good job helping to tidy up.'  I was more than rewarded for my efforts when she replied in a small voice, 'Thanks for letting me help…  I just love you guys'.  I'm really going to try harder to cut the kid a break… at least until she sits on another hat.

I took these pictures during our walk this afternoon.  We went to visit some highland cattle that live in a paddock near our house.  Unfortunately the cattle weren't up for having their photos taken.  It was hot and muggy and they were all sheltering under a tree on the opposite side of the paddock.  Minty thought they had their 'angry faces' on.  She was probably right.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lazy afternoon...

After a busy morning of ballet, followed by playgroup, we decided to spend the afternoon relaxing at the beach.  The kids built sandcastles and chased each other while I lay around watching the boats bobbing in the bay and made sure no one ate any seaweed or threw sand in anyone else's eyes.  When it came round to dinner time I honestly couldn't be fagged cooking so we walked into town and had fish and chips on the pier.  A pretty perfect day if you ask me.  And now I'm off to do a spot of last minute sewing for the impending birthday - time is running out!

Monday, February 7, 2011


I'm a little ashamed to say that when cyclone Yasi hit my first thoughts were not for the victims but rather for the banana crops.  I'm trying to make the most of the last cheap bananas - making banana chips and big batches of banana bread for the freezer.  While I was baking my husband announced that he doesn't like banana cake.  Then he tasted it and since then he has single handedly consumed nearly two loaves.  So far I haven't managed to save any for the freezer - it is virtually being inhaled as it comes out of the oven.  The recipe is from Bill Granger's Feed me now! (shoot me an email or comment if you want the recipe).

In other news… Minty's birthday is on Sunday and I'm somewhat disorganised.  I still haven't settled on a cake or finished making her presents.  We're planning on camping out for the night.  Initially we were going to go to Wilson's Prom but since then we have chickened out and are now aiming for a backyard camp out.  Frankly I was a little worried about the smallest member of the family staging a runaway given his current obsession with escaping.  It does feel like a bit of a cop out (or as King Julian would say like we're all a bunch of pansies), but I'm guessing that Minty will be pretty thrilled with sleeping outside regardless of the location.  

And while we're on the topic of camping - has anyone ever tried s'mores??  Never having eaten a s'more I fear that, much like cheesy fries, they will not translate for the Australian palate.  And yet I am curious what all the fuss is about.  There is even such a thing as a giant s'more cake.  To s'more or not to s'more that is the question.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In which I loaf on the couch and my eyes bleed...

I haven't written much this week because I've been bogged down by an extremely hectic TV schedule.  I felt it was my personal responsibility to watch all the series returns and pass judgement.  Sadly everything was somewhat disappointing and I ended up with a stabbing pain in my right eye which I can only assume was my conscience or God telling me to get off the couch and do something productive.  

These pics are from Minty's first dance class.  She loved it, though she spent much of the class awol playing with a hoola hoop (she's two what did I expect?).  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plum picking...