Monday, February 28, 2011

I am *that* Mum

Yes, yes I am.

I've entered our baby girl in the Bonds Baby Search just for fun, and I'm totally gonna spam the interwebs with her.

Heck I'd have entered T-booger too if he weren't such a big boofing toddler!

So. Click the pretty baby and vote away.

You know you want to.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Systems Junkie Part 2

I love my pantry.

When we moved here we had a very 80's burnt orange kitchen with the daftest pantry imaginable.

We got our new kitchen just over a year ago and every day I am thankful for how very awesome it is. My pantry, whilst not huge, is perfectly laid out for our needs. It has two huge drawers in the bottom which are perfect for cereals, canned goods and the items I bulk buy from Costco.

This is the upper section. Yes it is like an advertisement for Tupperware but I used to be a manager and drive a big pink Tuppertruck (*sigh* still miss it) so that's hardly surprising.

I'm very happy to have finally bought some large rectangles for my bulk flour storage!

It's just another system that works for us, and makes me happy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Too Many Biscuits and PB Cookies!

We like biscuits (although more and more we tend to refer to them as cookies... go figure). I really REALLY like biscuits. Especially warm out of the oven, they are my favourite treat.

Because of my challenge to fill school lunch bags with no pre-packaged snacks, I've been doing lots of baking lately, even more than usual. And whilst sweet biscuits are hardly classified as health food, I like knowing exactly what's in them and will take sugar over preservatives any day. I have noticed the difference in my budget and I can't help but wonder if my big boy's behavioural changes may be related as well. He's always been the most prone to obvious food-related reactions but who knows if it is less preservative making the difference or a myriad of other factors.

So anyway my sister requested I share the recipe for Too Many Biscuits which is our staple recipe right now. I make the dough then separate into quarters. I'll usually cook one then roll the other three into glad wrap to freeze for later use. I also do this so I can vary the ingredients. Our favourite addition at the moment is Crunchy Nut Cornflakes combined with chocolate chips, and we're also big fans of mini MnM's.

I first came across this (quite well known) recipe over at Picklebums and am forever grateful to Kate for sharing it as it makes my life so easy!!


Too Many Biscuits
- 500gms butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tin condensed milk
- 5 cups self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream the butter and sugar until light.

Beat in condensed milk (and try not to eat too much as you do... I fail miserably every time).

Mix in flour then divide and add any additional items you like. We've used choc chips, MnM's, cinnamon, ginger, cocoa, turned them into jam drops... you name it!

Roll into teaspoonfullish sized balls and bake for ten minutes or until starting to turn golden. If cooking from frozen add another couple of minutes cooking time.

...

Our other fave cookie recipe is this one for Peanut Butter Cookies. They are so delicious, not too sweet, not too salty, and have been a big hit with adults more than kids even!


Peanut Butter Cookies
- 125g butter or margarine, at room temperature
- 275g crunchy peanut butter
- 200g brown sugar
-1 egg
- 260g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter or margarine and peanut butter in a mixing bowl with electric beaters until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat until pale.

Add the egg and beat until combined. Sift the plain flour and baking powder together. Mix in the dry ingredients.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place about 4cm apart on prepared baking tray. Flatten each ball to about 5cm in diameter and 1 cm thick.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Stand on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Try not to eat them all yourself!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things I Know

- My kids are exceptionally awesome. Especially when I remember to treat them like kids instead of little adults.

- Having the hubster's weekends during the week is AWESOME for help with school runs.

- My hubster is such a fan-freakin-tastic Dad. He's definitely the fun parent.

- I have three amazing sisters and I love them all so much my heart could burst. <3

- My life is so full of blessings. I am grateful every day to be living with so much love and joy.


I'm talkin' about Things I Know with Yay for Home!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eager Hands

 Once upon a time I was a Mama who sewed stuff. Every now and then I am struck with the urge again, and usually remember why I don't sew so much any more within half an hour or so. A toddler who loves machines and buttons and things that make noise is not terribly conducive to safe sewing!

Anyway when our baby girl was born my beautiful friend Nee, who knows well my love of home made clothing, gave us a High Tea at the Windsor dress with hand sewn beads by Eager Hands. It is truly such a beautiful dress and perfectly made, and it got me thinking about some fabrics I had around that I was never going to get around to doing anything with.

And so I contacted the lovely Sandra and asked whether she might be willing to sew some items for me to her patterns. To my delight she agreed, and we got them back yesterday. Her work is faultless and I am so happy to see these gorgeous fabrics finally adorning my gorgeous girls!

 Sandra even made a little matching bag for the divine Miss E, who absolutely loves both the dress and the bag. Such a pretty print, and of course one of the very best things about shift style dresses is you can adapt with a top and leggings for any season. I can see she will get a lot of wear out of this!

The other fabric I passed along was called Lovechirp by Farbenmix, which I bought from Earthgirl Fabrics. I fell in love with this fabric at first sight and asked if Sandra could make my girls matching pinnys from it. I love the crossover design, and that these will fit for such a long time.



I'm so grateful to Sandra for doing this for us... if you're looking for classic childrens clothes made with love you must visit her store. The matching accessories are amazing as well! Thanks so much Sandra!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Systems Junkie


How do you do it? Is something pretty much no-one ever asks me. But I'm going to share anyway.

I am a systems junkie. I like things to work and be organised, and because I have some strange issue with time (as in, if I have to be somewhere at 3pm I worry about it from about 2pm and can't start anything that won't be finished in time... and yet we keep just making it to school on time in the morning!) I need to know how long things will take so I can best arrange my day.

It wasn't always this way, but the reality is as our family has grown so has the need for systems that work. Combine that with a supertrucker hubster who is away half the week or more and you can understand why I get a but thingy when I'm not on top of things.

So I have some systems that work really well. I make sandwiches and try to do the baking for school snacks at the end of the week or over the weekend. All the sandwiches are frozen and the snacks appropriately stored so when the kids get home of an afternoon I can repack their lunch bags, pop them in the fridge and not worry about them. I've challenged myself to no bought snack bars or similar this term, and so far am right on top of it.

Laundry is another system I'm usually on top of depending on the weather. I don't have a usable outside clothes line (ie its under a huge tree for reasons beyond me) so I wash of an evening and load up the clothes horses. I have a system within the system where all the clothes for individual people are hung together, so I can fold them and pop away right away once they're dry. The horses go outside in the morning and the clothes are usually dry and ready to put away by mid afternoon. Anyone who's known me a while will know I LOATHE and DETEST doing laundry, it is my most hated household chore. So I am actually quite proud to have a system that is going great guns for us. That said with the crazy weather we've been having of late, my marvellous Mum has been running the washing through her dryer for me which has been such a blessing. At least in Winter I can pop the horses over the floor ducted heating... the recent humidity has been terribly unhelpful!

I try to have dinner started by lunchtime, as afternoons and evenings here can be challenging especially when hubs is away. I like to be able to just spend time with the bigs after their school day so knowing what we're doing for dinner makes life lots easier. I'm a half hearted menu planner... I try to keep a running menu but inevitably I don't want what I'm meant to be making on any given day and it all falls by the wayside. Instead I have big cook up days so our freezer always has a few meals ready to go when the lazies strike.

I also buy a lot of things in bulk from Costco to save time and occasionally money. Even when it doesn't work out all that much cheaper, the convenience of not having to drag two small children out shopping more often than necessary makes it well worthwhile for me. Check out Bogue Living for a good cost/value analysis of Costco shopping.

And if all this sounds a bit rigorous and restrictive, it isn't. I'm a bit ace at multi-tasking in general, and by getting as much household stuff done as possible when the man is away I get to actually just have fun and enjoy our family time when he's at home.

So when do I blog/Facebook/tweet? Well I am breastfeeding two small people. If that isn't the best use of enforced sitting time I don't know what is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Terrific Mr Two





I have a two year old boy at my house. He is the funniest, happiest little sausage you could imagine.

He doesn't talk all that much, but then quite often he doesn't need to. He makes his wants and needs known very effectively. He has started using a lot more words since our baby was born, and he seems so much bigger and more grown up all of a sudden.

He just wants to be one of the big kids. He loves spending time with them and being included in their games. He's obsessed with our iPhones (Mummy I unna hooooooone!) and amazes us with his technological understanding. Truly of the digital generation! He also adores The Wiggles and can't get enough of 'Rain-no' (Chasing the Rainbow) and 'Wee-oos Ship' (which means the Wiggles Go Bananas and I have no idea why!).

He's quite a big boy for his age and is often mistaken for an older child, especially by other kids which can be a little challenging. Given his gene pool it's not all that surprising though... it's so strange to think that one day he and probably all his siblings as well will tower over me!

Now that we have two at school, my boy and I get some extra one-on-one time together when the baby sleeps. We both love lots of cuddles and chats and games and fun. He's such a beautiful little boy and I'm so blessed to be his Mum.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Solo Sunday

So the supertrucker hubster is on the road again. His new job so far means leaving Saturday just after lunchtime and he should be home mid week. Generally I do pretty well with the solo parenting gig, but I will admit that Sundays can sometimes feel a bit endless. Especially Sundays which are a bit rainy and not the best weather for sending big kids outside to play.

It's a funny old thing having weekends with the hub mid week, but has been wonderful with him helping with school runs and things that take a lot more time dragging two small people along!

So today we've tried to keep busy. The kids have helped me make lentil curry for dinner (which they assure me is delicious and they will eat... we shall see) and a batch of cookies for the school snack boxes. We've played inside and outside, and the big boy helped me clean the kitchen drawers because he's lovely like that.

It's nearly 5pm and in honesty I am really looking forward to bedtime. The toddler boy is at the stage of dropping his day sleep and the late afternoons can be pretty challenging.

So. Early dinner, toddler bedtime and I can't wait to kick back on the couch and relax.

Happy Sunday peeps!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Good Baby


There was a baby girl who had a little swirl
just off centre of her forehead.
When she was good she was very, very good,
And when she was bad, well, she wasn't!

I've been getting the old 'Is she a good baby?' question a little bit of late. Admittedly the baby girl attracts a fair bit of attention when we're out and about... she is a little bit gorgeous let's be honest. And the question tends to come from those of an older generation. But not always.

The smarty pants in me always wants to reply "Well no, she's actually a very bad baby! She sneaks out the window at night to meet boys at the playground and I'm pretty sure she's planning to hold up the 7-11."

I'm not entirely sure what the correct response is. What are people looking for here?

How does she sleep? Like a baby. Sometimes she sleeps all night long and most of the day. Sometimes she wakes often to feed or snuggle. Sometimes she barely sleeps at all.

Is she a happy baby? Undoubtedly! In fact she's probably the living definition of the 'good' baby in that she is easy going and cheerful. She's happy to go to other people. She loves lying on her playmat and watching the world. She very rarely cries and she adores her siblings and parents. She is an 'easy' baby, so she must be good I guess?

So then, I guess my now 5yo daughter must have been a 'bad' baby. She cried a lot. She would not stand for being out of my arms. She would not be put down often. But then, maybe she was just a baby adjusting to a huge new world and coping with a 2yo older brother?

And my toddler boy. Oh he is a bad bad boy. He wakes many times at night. He has tantrums, he yells, he kicks, he wants what he wants when he wants it. Or maybe he's just a 2yo boy learning about boundaries and adjusting to having a new baby in the house? Maybe he's not bad at all?

I guess it's inevitable that I have some bad children though. I am a very bad Mummy. I never sleep through the night even if the kids do. I have sleep maintenance insomnia and as a result I'm sometimes a bit cranky in the morning. I eat when I am hungry and not to a set 4 hourly schedule. Sometimes I raise my voice or cry. I am very very affectionate with my family... the adult version of in arms I guess you could say. So with such a bad Mummy it's a wonder that we have such a good baby!

But of course when asked, I grin maniacally and reply "Oh yes she is a very good baby. She is the most wonderful baby I have."


Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I Know

I'm joining in with Yay For Home sharing Things I Know!

- I can bake pretty much anything I put my mind to, but I can't poach an egg.

- If you're attempting to poach eggs, don't forget about the bacon in the pan.

- Charcoal bacon is not yummy.

- Hot Cross Buns ARE yummy! As are cinnamon scrolls!

- My two year old can not run anywhere without a little skip in his step and it is the cutest thing ever.

- Doing nice things for people makes you feel freaking awesome.

So what do you know?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cinnamon Scrolls


When our baby girl was born last November we were blessed with so many gifts of meals which well and truly saw us through those early weeks. In particular my sister gave us two bags full of delicious freezer meals for us, along with these extremely yummy cinnamon scrolls. The best thing was being able to pop the containers straight into the oven and have delicious yumminess half an hour later without even worrying about any washing up! Perfect for anyone (like me) with a heavy duty sweet tooth!

The pic above shows them before they've risen again (I popped these straight in the freezer, putting them in a cold oven means they rise as they bake). They will fill the container when they're done. And I will gobble them all up, yum!! If the hubster is being lovely I might even let him have one too.

ICED CINNAMON SCROLLS

¼ cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk, slightly warmed
125g butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup sugar
5 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup sultanas
80g butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

To make dough by hand: dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl. Place milk and butter in a medium saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and add eggs, and milk and yeast mixtures. Stir until a dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, working in extra flour if dough is too sticky. Add the currants and sultanas during the last 2 minutes of kneading. Turn the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Keep the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.



Roll dough out into an oblong about 1cm thickness.

Spread dough with most of the softened butter, saving some to spread over scrolls once they have been cut. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll the dough up from the SHORT end, swiss-roll style, to make a log.

Cut the log into 2 ½ - 3 cm slices and arrange on a baking tray which has been lined with baking paper. Leave a slight gap between each scroll. Spread scrolls with remaining butter.

This is the point where you can either place the scrolls in the freezer (they will expand as the oven warms up) or leave on the tray to rise (about 20 mins) if you are cooking them now.

Bake in a moderate (170) oven for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes on a rack.

From frozen- place in cold oven, set temp to 180 and bake 30 mins

ICING

125g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g butter, softened
1 ½ cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp milk

Beat cream cheese and butter until soft.
Gradually add icing sugar and continue beating until well combined and soft.
Add milk until icing is desired consistency.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Keeping it real.

Picture is unrelated.

Although what's more real that a beautiful breastfed baby in the buff?

So I feel like it's important (to me) to share why this blog will present such a sunshine and lollipops view of my life.

I'm a really big believer that what you put out into the world is what you get back. And of course terrible and tragic stuff just happens, because we live in the world. And of course in my own life I've dealt with heartbreak and stress and difficult times. But if I choose to look back on this in say ten years time, would that be what I want to be reminded of? It's enough to get through those times without reliving the traumas anymore than necessary. I want the world to see my little life as a joy-filled and optimistic adventure, because that's how I see it.

I have four children. I get tired. I get angry. I get bored.

But I also experience such joy that my heart could burst. Every day. Watching my precious baby girl trying to roll over that darned arm in the way tonight filled me with such happiness. And if by sharing that happiness I can make someone else a little happy, well why not hey?

Dishonest? Absolutely not. Because my truth lives in happiness, and even when things are tough there's always a new day on its way.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Suburban Housewife

I really truly am. No denying it.

Why you may ask?

Because today I got excited about a mop. But not just any old mop. The most excellent whizz bang mop I've ever had the pleasure of, well, mopping with!

We have a lot of hard floors in our house, along with a drippy droppy toddler and a prone-to-random-vomits babe. Dragging the mop and bucket out to deal with the everyday spills that happen is just painful, especially when it leaves the floor so wet and my drippy droppy toddler becomes my slippy slidey toddler!

A couple of weeks ago the fabulous Kate of Picklebums held a competition on her blog to win a brand new Rubbermaid Reveal mop. And guess who won?! Yay me!!

Admittedly, I treat mopping as a reward for getting the rest of the house clean (yes it's an illness I know!!) but today it was extra exciting to zip around the house with my new flash mop. It works brilliantly and leaves the floor barely damp so I didn't even have to worry about the kids cracking their heads on the tiles afterwards. Bonus!

And yes I am blogging about mopping. So sue me.

I finally finally got a potato ricer today too. Best. Mash. Ever.

And Mum I'm sorry but truly the old boiled then smashed potatoes just aren't gonna cut it with my kids anymore ;) Especially not when I've been mashing with cream and real butter! Although I do suspect I enjoy the whole cooking gig a little more than you did when you were feeding four picky kids. Just as well you like laundry right? Hahahaha.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Migraine Monday

Not quite as catchy as Wordless Wednesday, but unfortunately an accurate description of my day.

There's nothing like feeling horrifically hungover without even having had the joy of getting your drink on the night before! But even whilst being unable to keep down water and feeling like I'd been beaten about the head numerous times with a blunt object this morning, I was aware that I have so much to be grateful for today.

The most important of these are my kids. My big boy was up at seven and came into my room having showered, gotten his uniform on, made breakfast for he and the big girl and packed their lunches in their schoolbags. This was before he even knew I was so unwell! When he realised that I wasn't able to move much at all he helped the girl get ready for school too and entertained she and the small boy until my Dad came to walk them to school.

Big girl was so cooperative with him, and there was no fighting or yelling or 'I want' or 'S/He said' from either of them. Truly this is pretty miraculous in the morning and I'm so grateful I didn't need to get my referee cap on this morning.

Snall boy is two years old. Two year olds aren't quite as understanding when Mum isn't well. But our boy is a pretty amazing two year old and gave me lots of cuddles and stroked my head in between endless runs of The Wiggles. And thank goodness for The Wiggles I have to add! He has a minor obsession going on and whilst most days I'm encouraging him away from the TV today I was happy to let him dance and sing along all day as it allowed me to rest.

And Babygirl. Truly I've never know a more easygoing baby. She literally spent all day in bed with me. Sometimes we were awake and she'd blow raspberries at me and show me her hands (or look at them herself for ages on end). Sometimes we slept and she'd curl right in next to me and just be her gorgeous snugglebunny self. We are so blessed in this baby of ours!

I'm so grateful that my Dad took the middle two for a few hours this afternoon too, and big boy went to visit his friend down the road. I'm as rested as possible and while I'm still feeling the halo the worst has definitely passed and I'm looking forward to feeling fabulous tomorrow!

Because the very best thing about a migraine is how amazing 'normal' feels when it's over!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Anti-Hoarder

I've been hanging out for some time to get stuck into the hidden clutter-collecting parts of the house... the cupboards! I'm a bit borderline obsessive about systems and storage. And with 6 people in a not enormous house I really need to stay on top of the ever increasing volume of just stuff! I swear the toys breed in the night.

So today I emptied the kids wardrobes and painstakingly sorted all the stuff that has been shoved in there over time. It's a big task but strangely satisfying. Where others may see a job of epic proportions I see a life-sized game of Tetris.

I'm lucky to have been blessed with lots of hand-me-downs on and off for the kids, and having gotten all the currently non-fitting clothes in one place I'm looking forward to sharing the love, as well as having set up a new system of boxes to manage the things I'll be storing.

And so, now that the baby is ready for bed I'm off to sort. Ah the exciting life of a suburban housewife.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment; the curious case of the spare room cupboard... who knows what wonders await?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Here we go, here we go, here we go...

It's been a long while since last I publicly blogged, but the time has come to jump back on the bandwagon and see where it takes me.

So. Kate. Wife to the hubster. Mum to four fabulous small people. Domestic goddess. Qualified and currently non-teaching teacher. Optimist. Extrovert. Believer in the Lucky Bus (a story for another day). Poster of inane thoughts and rambles.

I'm a fan of mobile blogging (ohai iPhone how I love you!) but as I type this on my whizz bang new-to-me laptop I'm hoping to find the time each day to sit down and think about all the fabulous things in my life, and share some of them here.

I have to say upfront, I'm a big believer in the power of the positive and that what you send out into the universe is what you tend to get back. Hence say it like you mean it. I intend this to be a place to find my happy and talk about things I like be it emotional, physical, whatever really.

I dont always like opening posts! But it's done now, come share the journey.