Wednesday, April 25, 2012

House (and life) update...

I realise I haven't been stopping around here much lately.  The days seem to be getting busier and busier and I've been finding it increasingly difficult to slow down and record things here.  I haven't been picking up the camera, my sewing machine has been sitting idle in the corner gathering dust, and while I've still been busy creating in the kitchen I can't be bothered blogging about it before we've eaten!  So here is a readers digest version of the last few weeks, for those of you who are interested:

The Mr turned 30.  Celebrations were had - I made ice-cream cake.

The kids are as crazy as ever.  Highlights (or should I say lowlights?) include Minty giving herself a haircut and smashing her head through a window (thankfully the curtain broke her fall and she was unhurt).  Meanwhile, Turi learned to climb out of his cot and is now refusing to nap during the day.  

I decided to make my health a priority and started getting up at dawn to try and squeeze a walk in before the kids get up.  I know a few other mums who swear by this strategy.  Sadly Turi got wind of my early morning absence and started getting up earlier and earlier so as not to miss out.  After a series of 4am starts I eventually gave up and abandoned my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  I am back to consuming excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine in order to combat the haze of sleep deprivation.  

I've started packing for our move.  We're hoping to be in our new house some time in May.  I'm finally beginning to understand what people mean when they say they 'hate moving'.  The last time we moved was about 6 years ago and we had hardly any 'stuff'.  This time around it is a very different story.  So far it has taken me three days to pack the contents of one bookshelf.  Kids certainly are the antidote to efficiency.

Things are moving along steadily with the house.  I finally bought tiles for the bathroom floor.  I ended up going with natural stone to tie in with the rustic vibe of the oversized timber window.  I love the unique variations in every tile and can't wait to see them laid.  As an added bonus they were a total bargain at only $28 a square meter!
This is the half wall that partitions off the shower in the kids bathroom with the vanity in front.
There is now a bulkhead above the space  where the bath will sit.  This neatly resolves the join between the plasterboard and the oversized window frame, as well as helping to define the space.
The plaster board is up in most of the house.  Plastering the high ceiling in the kitchen was a gargantuan effort - a special thanks to everyone who helped out!

Here is a peek at our pantry door (the white door near Minty).  It was reclaimed from a historic house on the island and dates from the 1920s.  I love the character it adds to this space.  It does need a little TLC and a new coat of paint (I'm thinking glossy black) but it already looks gorgeous, especially at night with only the pantry light on so that the little window panes glow.
Left: This is the entry - the Mr cut a 'man hole' in the plaster board where the door will be!  Right: Looking into the multi-purpose (office/sewing) room.
This is Turi's room.  My claw foot bath had a nasty accident and needs one of its feet reattached!
The lounge room - we still need to build the stairs joining this to the lower level.
Finally you can clearly see the variation in ceiling heights.  We are still considering further defining the space by adding a dropped timber ceiling above the dining table to make it feel a bit more intimate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm beginning to feel a bit like this since 'Julie Rafter' started blogging.  Thanks for ruining shell art.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In which we are feeling seedy...

I've been making soda bread packed full of pepitas, sunflower seeds and other seedy goodness.  I know you must all be sick of me saying this, but I think this might be my new favourite loaf!  I guess I'm just fickle when it comes to bread.  The best thing about soda bread is that you don't have to wait around for it to rise.  If I wake up in the morning and realise there is nothing for the lunch boxes, there is still time to whip some up.  This particular recipe is from this month's Delicious magazine.

The sight of all those seeds while I was baking last week inspired a little activity for the kids.  We made bird seed cakes to hang in the trees in our garden as treats for the visiting native feathered folk.  

Basically we dissolved 28g of gelatine in 1 cup of boiling water, then added about 3 cups of birdseed.  We weren't too precise with this - you can add a little more seed if you need to make the mixture fairly stiff.  We greased some moulds with oil and then spooned the mix in.  We put a loop of string (for hanging) in each cake and covered it in the birdseed mix so it would set inside the cake.  The moulds went into the fridge for a few hours to set.  To remove the moulds you dip them in hot water for around 10 seconds and the bird seed cake should slip out easily.  Since this made heaps of bird cakes the kids wrapped some up and gave them to friends.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Conversations with Minty and Turi...

While putting away the easter decorations…
Minty: I'm just packing these away in case an easter-birthday or an easter-christmas comes up
Me: do you think an easter-christmas is likely to come up?
Minty: yes coz this is the real world and in this world anything can happen

Clearly the kids are still confused about the death of their goldfish

Turi: Where's Timmy?
Me: Timmy Boomda is dead
Minty: I said goodnight and in the night he died and then he became a wee and went to the poo party
Turi: No, he's dead. He's a poo.
Minty [angrily]: I know he's dead!

Minty [sobbing a little]: we don't have to work for everything we want.  The world doesn't work that way.
Me: Doesn't it?  Tell me, how does the world work?
Minty: It just gives us icy poles when we want them.

who can argue with that logic?

On the way to have coffee...
Turi: Can we have a cino baby?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

I'm operating on very little sleep, so few words today.  I'll write a proper easter wrap up with more photos soon.  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In which we bake cake eggs and I lose my mind...

Minty had a little friend visiting today and I had a whole schedule of easter activities planned to keep them busy.

I was feeling ultra organised so I made some soda bread to have on hand for snacks.  I sprinkled half with cheese and left the other half plain for our dairy intolerant guest.  I pulled it out of the oven and it looked delicious… and then I remembered I had used yoghurt as the liquid component in the bread… for a dairy intolerant guest… epic fail!  Sometimes I think my brain checks out and my body is just operating on auto-pilot.  Never mind, at least I enjoyed it for lunch with some fresh tomatoes.
 The first kid's activity was making easter cards.  I set up the table with an assortment of glitter, markers, rabbit templates, cotton wool, egg shapes cut from old wrapping paper and other odds and sods.  The girls lasted about five minutes before there was a massive fight over the only pink cotton ball.  The craft table was promptly abandoned.  The kids dressed themselves as monsters and disappeared out the back door to play in the cubby house.  I was left alone with my clearly unwanted easter activities.  Thankfully rejection is easier to take when it results in some time alone to get the housework done!
A few hours later and the girls were finally happy to take on another easter activity.  In a moment of madness we decided to make these cupcakes baked inside real eggshells.  Not exactly a project geared at four year olds but considering how difficult it was, they did a pretty good job. (for a detailed how-to check out this link) I poked the holes in the top of the eggs and the kids carefully emptied the yolk and whites into a bowl.  Remarkably they only smashed one egg during this process!  Then we washed them and soaked them in salt water for half an hour.  Then we regrouped and dyed the eggs.  Turi got a bit distressed at this stage since he wanted to manhandle all the dye and almost tipped a whole bowl of blue food dye onto the carpet as he tried to defend it from prying hands!!  We powered on.  We didn't follow a recipe for the cake batter since I was pretty short on ingredients and we were baking dairy free (I actually remembered this time!!) so we just winged it.  Possibly this wasn't the wisest approach but we weren't really shooting for perfection!

Next the girls filled each egg with cake batter using a piping bag.  Cake batter kind of went everywhere but I tried to suppress my A-type perfectionist personality in the interests of fun.  Into the oven for 10 minutes.  Most of the eggs had way too much cake batter in them and so cake batter exploded out the holes in a volcanic style eruption.  Where the cake batter touched the outside of the eggs the dye was rubbed off so they ended up looking like a bit of a dogs breakfast.  I don't think the kids cared though.  They were very proud of their creations and we packaged some up for our guest to give to her unsuspecting parents. 

So all in all a fun day was had despite a few hiccups.

And then in another moment of brain meltdown I forgot I hadn't changed the clock when daylight savings ended and put the kids to bed at 6pm instead of 7pm.

Monday, April 2, 2012

In which there is fresh bread and a false start...

Today has been rather frustrating.  I finally chose and ordered a tile for the kid's bathroom, only to have the tile shop ring back shortly afterwards to tell me the tile I had chosen is discontinued and out of stock.  So back to the drawing board.  I think I'm going to have to go to Melbourne since I've exhausted all my local tile options.

These are a few random shots from last week…  

I've been baking our bread using a recipe from the River Cottage Family Cook Book.  This book is fast becoming a new favourite of mine and not just because Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is my celebrity cooking crush!  (He makes me want to wander about the English countryside in hand knits and bake rustic style tarts with home grown strawberries!)  
I've bought some new fabric and a new Japanese pattern book.  I'm feeling a little guilty since I haven't really had time to touch my sewing machine for a few weeks.  Hopefully motivation and inspiration will strike soon.

And a random shot of Minty enjoying one of the last icy-poles of the season!